Pennington Kleio Club Archive
One of the newest collections to be acquired by the Hopewell Valley Historical Society is the historic archive of the Pennington Kleio Club. This summer, volunteers at the archives have been busy sorting, cataloging and filing the Kleio collection consisting of news clippings, photographs, pamphlets and misc correspondence.
The Kleio archive spans over a hundred years, from the founding of the club in the early 1900s, to the early 2000s when it was dissolved due to declining membership.
The Kleio Club archive consists of newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets, programs and miscellaneous
correspondence. The club archive spans over one hundred years, from the founding of the organization in the early 1900s, to the early 2000s, when it was dissolved due to declining membership.
The Kleio Club was founded by a group of eight Pennington women in 1902, and its name was derived from the Greek goddess Keio, the muse of history, art, poetry and literature. Its mission was to study these topics, as well as to help with the beautification and enhancement of the surrounding community.
Once a year the women in the club would pick a topic, research an important aspect of it and then present all their research together to an audience. Topics varied from geographical areas, like Africa, to the sciences, like biology, and historical events that included the American Revolutionary War. These programs were well regarded throughout the community and served to bring a little culture to the people of rural Hopewell Valley.
During its existence, the Kleio Club served as an important civic organization and helped bring the community together for various special activities and events. In addition to the literary programming, the club sponsored annual musical revues, fashion shows, men's nights, drama shows and art exhibitions.
As part of their mission, the Kleio Club also sponsored community wide projects to benefit the local area. Over the years this included high school scholarships, donations for the erection of the Charles Fish Barn at Howell Living History Farm, improvements to Kunkle Park, beautification of the Pennington Landfill and donations of books and funds to the Pennington Public Library.
The Pennington Kleio Club also had a strong interest in history. Long before the Hopewell Valley Historical Society was created, the women in the club promoted pride in local history throughout the Pennington community. As a civic project in 1940, the Kleio Club collaborated with various organizations in the community to create the publication "Pennington Presents Her Present and Past". This was the first published history of Pennington. This book and the histories within it served as the nucleus for the book "Pennington Profile" written by Margaret O'Connell (a Kleio Club member).
As the Kleio Club wrote in 1940: "May we worthily carry the torch of this rich heritage, handing it on to coming generations, nurturing in them a deep appreciation of a task well done". Although the Kleio Club has ceased to exist, the legacies of its efforts to instill a pride in local history, community and the arts have lived on and helped shape Hopewell Valley into the community that it is today.