BPW Utah History
By 1926 the state group was promoting projects of a civic nature as exemplified by their support for a state move by buy and preserve Cove Fort and the Old State House in Fillmore. Membership continued to grow reaching a total of 580 with twenty local clubs in 1928. During this period of time local club newsletters began publication. The decision to publish a state bulletin was made in 1929, however, "Forward Together" did not see issuance until 1933.
The economic depression of the 1930s brought changes to the state and local clubs. Many groups lost treasury funds through bank failures and straitened monetary circumstances reduced club memberships. By 1934 membership was only 370 from fifteen clubs. Efforts to restore economic prosperity resulted in consideration of laws the Utah Federation found discriminatory. The group waged a fairly successful campaign against passage of laws operating to the disadvantage of women. Through measures such as local study groups, publication of a digest of state statutes as they affected women, and maintaining a legislative observer, the federation helped defeat the discriminatory "Working Wives Bill."
During the war years of the 1940s the members of the Utah BPW found a number of constructive outlets for their energies. Local groups worked as nurses aids and sewed of knitted for hospitals and individual service men. They also helped support the United Service Organization (USO) program. Twenty-three Utah BPW members enlisted in the military service, most of them nurses. For their own members, and other returning service women, the clubs offered programs to assist in the readjustment to civilian life.
Two of the state federation's major continuing projects were started in the 1940s and lasted into the 1960s. In an effort to assist the Chinese people the
Lasting nineteen years, the Rheumatic Fever Project was started in 1948 upon discovery that incidence of this disease in
By the 1950s membership had topped one-thousand. Because of this increase, the state federation readjusted the four state districts, organized in 1930, into six new districts. One of the major projects undertaken during the 1950s was the "House of Hope," a rehabilitation facility for women alcoholics. The group encouraged its establishment then helped with the financial maintenance. Another big issue during this period was conservation. Local and state organizations worked toward wise use and savings of natural resources.
The social upheaval of the 1960s encouraged the BPW clubs to involve themselves closely with the country's youth. Junior clubs were started in high schools and colleges. A competition was held yearly for "Young Career Women." In addition to these activities the Utah Federation held "Youth Power Conferences" involving boys as well as girls.