The Women’s Club of Early Marin City

By Larry Clinton

By the end of 1943, Marin City's population was nearly 6,000.  Photo courtesy of Sausalito Historical Society

By the end of 1943, Marin City's population was nearly 6,000.

Photo courtesy of Sausalito Historical Society

We’ve heard lots of stories about how busy Marinship was during WWII.  But there was plenty going on in the broader community as well.  The following 1943 article, excerpted from The Marin Citizen newspaper --published by and for the first residents of Marin City during the war -- vividly recalls the activities of the Marin City Women’s Club, which was formed on October 1, 1942:

Women’s Club Members Proud of Many Activities

 Charter members recall the activity of the club in setting up the "Kids Korral," a playground set aside for school age children. Committees of the club during the winter carried on volunteer war service, started adult education extension courses, and launched a sewing and knitting club.

1943 Big Storm

Women's Club members were attending their first war nutrition class when the big storm of 1943 hit Marin City. Roofs were torn off apartments, heat and electricity were cut off, a baby was born prematurely. The class went into action, produced a hot dinner at the community kitchen, fed 100 war workers and their families within two hours. That class was next day accepted as a Red Cross canteen unit.

A steady flow of money has gone from the club's treasury to worthwhile causes. Checks for such amounts as $100 to Red Cross, $322.94 to the National Infantile Paralysis Foundation and most recently $62.50 to the Red Cross Blood Donor Service.

Quoting from the by-laws, the purpose of the Marin City Women’s Club "shall be to aid, through organized effort in the furthering of our country's war effort and such worthy causes as may enlist its sympathies and to create a center of thought and action among the people for the promotion of whatever tends for the best interest of this city." Qualification for membership in the club is residence in or employment in Marin City.

Man Member

One man is listed as an honorary member of the club, Mr. Hal Dunleavy, who was Community Relations director for Marin City at the time the club was organized, and who assisted the women in getting under way, sometimes in the capacity of "madam chairman."

Rummage Sale

The Women’s Club, in a feeling of spring house-cleaning, announces a two-day rummage sale to be held the week-end of August 21. The Cub pack of Scouts, which was recently adopted by the Women's Club, will cooperate in collecting material from all sources. Fifty per cent of the proceeds will go to Marin City’s USO-Travelers Aid Cottage, whose work the Women's Club feels eminently worthy of its support.

Nursing Activities

Mrs. Art Wolenta, secretary of the club, and chairman of home nursing activities, announced the opening of a new class to held on Tuesday nights, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the home nursing center at A41 Apr. 363.

Mrs. John Kahrt, club president, played a Chopin nocturn for the women. Mrs. S. Frisby conducted two brain teaser games with prizes high and low in war stamps. The evening concluded with tea and coffee served by Mrs. Gailbraith’s tea committee.

In recognition of the 75th anniversary of Marinship, the Sausalito Historical Society invites everyone to view its new exhibition, “Marinship - What it Was.” This collection of 124 images with captions or story boards which shows and describes various parts and features of the shipyard. Docents welcome the public at no charge Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 1 PM in the Society’s Exhibition Room on the top floor of City Hall. 

For a full calendar of the Marinship 75 events, go to and click on Marinship 75 in the left hand column.