Skip Finley



An interesting group which formed on Feb. 28, 1908 was the Triad Club, a women’s club with the purpose of information, improvement and sociability — whose members cleverly adopted the clover to identify the three goals of the club. Oak Bluffs was only a year old as an independent entity, but women remained dependent on their husbands. Thanks to Susan Wilson, who researched the topic for her article in the August 2007 Dukes County Intelligencer and the religiously kept club minutes, we have a clear view of the organization and its activity. The membership ranged from 20 to 25 ladies, most of whom were married, many to men of substance. Gathering Friday afternoons at 2:30, each meeting was devoted to brief business, then the presentation of “papers” prepared by alternating members on various subjects (information). Next followed roll call where members chimed in on subjects like how summers had been spent, patriotic themes and helpful hints (improvement). For the hostess a half hour of music or poetry was performed or pictures and crafts or collections were shown, after which refreshments were served (sociability).

Established 12 years before women had the right to vote, the Triad was not an inconsequential women’s group. By 1911-12 papers had titles such as Women as Philanthropists, as Poets, Women in Agriculture and as Educators, and Position and Outlook of Woman in the 20th Century. In 1917 a paper was presented on Feminism in India and in October 1920, just after passage of the Voting Rights Act, Women and the Ballot. One notable member from 1908, Miss Emily Worth, was a school teacher and a musician who was the organist of Trinity Methodist Church for 50 years. From 1922 until 1939 she was the Oak Bluffs columnist for the Vineyard Gazette and/or another of my forerunners. The Triad Club helped bring kindergarten to Oak Bluffs and raised scholarship money in addition to making generous donations to other Island organizations. The Triad held its last meeting on March 13, 1981, its need replaced by women working in radio and television. Thanks to the efforts of Cottage City’s Rural Improvement Society, much of the Triad Club’s information for its papers perhaps came from the Oak Bluffs Library — then located in the Eldridge Building, which if you’ve driven up Circuit avenue recently know now has windows.

Remember, meet Zoe Pechter, the new children’s librarian today at the Oak Bluffs Library at the reception from 3 to 5 p.m. with crafts and snacks for kids.

At 5 to 7 p.m. this evening, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum will display the beautiful album covers from Tivoli Girl in the Spotlight Gallery at its summer opening party. Some of the songs were recorded by the chorus of the Federated Church and will be played.

The Tabernacle begins its musical season tomorrow at 1 p.m. with a concert by the Merrimack Valley Singers, an ensemble that uses hand bells and hand chimes to make music. That sounds cool — human wind chimes, how delightful!

Martha’s Vineyard Restaurant Week is from Sunday to Thursday, June 20. Go out and enjoy substantial meal discounts at participating Oak Bluffs restaurants.

Renaissance House at 31 Pennacook avenue announces its 12th season of supporting Island writers and artists beginning Monday at 7:30 p.m. with Susan Klein discussing memoir writing. There is an impressive schedule of events throughout the season with folks like Jessica Harris, Holly Nadler, Cynthia Riggs and more. Jill Nelson will be there this Thursday. One event on July 4 at second bridge features the 1852 Frederick Douglas speech, What Does the Fourth of July Mean to a Negro. The 10,297 words he used can be paraphrased by six of those he included: “Oppression makes a wise man mad.” Email for more information.

Happy birthday, YMCA, three years old on Tuesday.

Featherstone Center for the Arts flea market begin this Tuesday, June 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Tuesday until August 27.

The Oak Bluffs Library is hosting a program of classic piano jazz on Tuesday at 6 p.m. where my co-worker Leslie J. Stark presents 17 tracks from the greatest jazz trios ever.

On Thursday summer solstice is celebrated at Featherstone with 11 poets reading, rain or shine from 6 to 8 p.m. Oak Bluffs’ Annual Harbor and Faerie Festivals also celebrate summer solstice next weekend with rain dates, more details next week.

Happy Father’s Day to you and me with a special shout out to all the single moms doing both jobs.

Also, a shout out to Sally and Russ Dagnall— I was delighted to finally meet them both and especially Sally, author of Circle of Faith, the Story of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp-Meeting, which has so many stories inside.

This column marks my one year anniversary. After 52 weekly columns, I remain excited to tell stories about our favorite town and its people.

Keep your foot on a rock.