Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Man-Hating Club, Washington D. C., founded by Martha McWhirter - 1904

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Mrs. McWhirter, of Washington, it is said, is trying to establish in England a branch of the Man-Hating Club, which in Washington has a community of over one hundred members, with capital of twenty thousand pounds. Mrs. Martha McWhirter was a widow, and she, with three other elderly women friends, left their homes and lived together in a large specially built club. The members are forbidden to see or speak to any man, or to engage in any form of religious worship. The younger members, some of whom are children, have never been permitted to go to an ordinary school, for fear they should learn something about marriage and family life; and they are not allowed to have any pocket-money, for fear they should get into mischief by its means. If Mrs. McWhirter’s own children ever leave the fold, she has threatened to cut them off with the proverbial shilling. All the work is done by members, some of whom are milliners, some dressmakers, one a physician, one a dentist, another a shoemaker; and the work of members includes the growing of vegetables and fruit, and the making of butter, as well as cooking and general housework.

[Untitled, Womanhood Monthly (London, England), Nov. 1904, p. 384]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): That curious community of women in Washington, some middle-aged and some elderly, as a corporate body, has foresworn the male sex forever, is locally known as the Man-Hating Club had three girls in its charge – most unwilling members of the organization they – a few days ago. Today they have only two, the prettiest and most attractive of the trio having been stolen by a young man under circumstances which show conclusively that bolts and bars are as butter when Cupid attacks the jail.

The club occupies a large brick building the size of a small hotel at 1437 Kenesaw Avenue. Nearly all of its members have been married, but, having found the wedded state a failure, they have decided to eliminate the masculine brute from their social equation.

The first rule in the management of this remarkable community requires that the very existence of the male human animal shall be ignored. To the organization he is not never was and never will be. He is a zero. If it had not for him, there would have been no trouble in the Garden of Eden. Was it not he who ate the apple? Well, rather, and everybody knows what followed. He will be prevented from making any mischief in the Kenesaw avenue establishment by the simple expedient of barring him out altogether.

This obviously is all very well for the elderly women who manage the concern. They have had their try at life with a man in it and it did not satisfy them. But the three little girls who from mere tots grew up in the community, held different views. They were adopted into the man-hating community while children and now that they have grown to womanhood they have learned to regard the destiny of spinsterhood as foreign to their ideals. One of them, Miss Maud Muller adopted into the community when the club dwelt in Waco, Tex., was successful in averting the fate designed for her and it is she who is the heroine of the adventure here related. The other two girls about the same age – all are in their early twenties – are Susie Carter and Minnie Jones.

Miss Muller, whose name suggests romance, met a young Lochinver who rode not on a prancing charger, but in a cab. Nevertheless, her adventure contained as much of the spirit of the gay old times when knighthood was in flower and castles were beleaguered for the sake of securing exclusive rights in maiden’s smiles as those romantic days themselves could furnish.

It is an old story that love will find a way no matter how difficult the situation. It was so in this instance and the hero of the romance in real life was a handsome young man employed ii the office of the Coast and Geodetic Survey. His name was Upperman and on Sundays he sang in the choir at the Liberal Church which has its headquarters at Concordia Hall. The church is of so very liberal a character, discarding most of more usual religious forms, that Miss Muller was permitted to go there on several occasions under watchful escort despite the fact that one of rules of the man-hating club prohibits its members from engaging in the ordinary forms of Christian worship. Miss Muller heard Mr. Upperman’s voice in the choir and on more than one occasion she saw him pass the plate for contributions. He did it very gracefully it occurred to them both that they would like to meet and through the kindly though surreptitious help of lady who shall be nameless, the thing was accomplished. They met again and finally they made a rendezvous at an hour when most of the old women of the community were sure to be taking a post-prandial snooze. It was to be at the Zoo.

~ An Elephant as Chaperon. ~

There is no safer confidant than an elephant. At the Washington Zoo there is only one pachyderm of this species, but he is very large and proportionately sympathetic – possessed in short of the qualities most essential for a chaperon. On this occasion he did his duty fully. He munched an occasional mouthful of hay, and listened attentively to the conversation of the young lovers who were seated clout by on a bench. It is not permitted to ask what they said to each other. Suffice it to explain that young Mr. Upperman took occasion to express his anxiety that the maiden should become Mrs. Upperman and that she consented. In a word they became engaged.

Now, it is one thing to become engaged, but when a girl is guarded by a dozen dragon, her rescue therefrom is a necessary preliminary problem. In Miss Muller’s case it was not one dragon but about thirty that had to be tackled. Their heads had to be cut off one after another, figuratively speaking, before the damsel could be carried away. If anybody thinks that the difficulties were trifling, he is not acquainted with the Man-Hating Club. Besides, Miss Muller had her own ideas about the proprieties, and insisted that they should be duly regarded.

~ Plan of Escape Adopted. ~

There were two or three more meetings, more or less casual, before a definite plan was finally adopted. Once decided upon it was simple enough. A day and an hour were appointed for the escape, and Mr. Upperman was on hand with a two-horse cab and an express wagon. The latter vehicle was to carry Miss Muller’s trunk. Inspired by a lover’s eagerness, Mr. Upperman was twenty minutes too early, so obliged to wait around the corner for that interminable length of time. The cabman did not seem to mind, and the unromantic expressman took advantage of the opportunity to go to sleep.

Mr. Upperman stayed awake – very much so in fact. Two minutes of the appointed hour wore still wanting when he drove up to the door of the large building occupied by the Woman’s Commonwealth, at 1437 Kenesaw Avenue. His heart went pitapat. Suppose that his lady love should be forcibly restrained! Might not the man-haters, scenting the proposed elopement, place a physical and forcible barrier in the way? Would he be driven, perhaps, to the last and unpoetic resort of habeas corpus proceedings for securing possession of the person of his affianced bride?

So nervous did he become under the influence of these imaginings, that he jumped out of the cab and was advancing up the asphalt path toward the sacred dwelling of the man-excluding community when he saw the object of his affections gesticulating earnestly at a window and bidding him go back Obediently he went back and resumed his face in the carriage. A week passed –  it was only ten minutes, but it seemed like a week – and then something happened. Out of the front door of the house came Maud, glorified. She was attired as he had never seen her, for the community had never allowed her to wear fashionable garments or even to “do” her hair in a becoming way. But on this occasion, having thrown off the authority to which she had since child hood submitted, she had for the first time in her life dressed herself as she would wish to be dressed. She wore a blue skirt a silk shirt waist, a straw hat with a light blue veil – and well, that is all the young lover could take in at a glance. She got into the cab and her trunk being brought out of the house presently by the express-man, they drove away.

~ Cinderella’s Leave-Taking ~

The delay, as was afterwards explained, had been due to certain conscientious scruples on the girl’s part. The community had not been kind to her. It had tried to stifle and destroy her life and had made of her a sort of Cinderella, compelling her, without remuneration, to do every sort of disagreeable work. Even affection had been withheld from her, as a part of the governing system. Nevertheless, the place had been her home, and at the last moment she made up her mind that she would not leave it secretly, or be afraid to claim the freedom to which she was entitled. So, when from the window she had waved her lover back, she went down, probably, into the general parlor where Miss Holtzclaw, the governing manager, and the elders of the organization were assembled in grim conversation over their knitting, and told them that she was going away –  that she was going to be married.

They had very little to say in reply. Though she had lived with them and worked for them for fifteen years, not one of them spoke a good-by, or came to the door to see her off, and, when she remarked that she hoped to come and see them now and then they told her that, if she went, she must never return. Then they went back to their knitting.

The cab was driven directly to the house of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Kent, pastor of the Liberal Church (where the young couple first met), and there the maiden was soon made a wife; standing with the man of her choice in a big bay window, which had been filled with flowers for the occasion.

~ An Eager Aide de Camp ~

The flowers were a surprise, and so was the wedding breakfast afterward, which the clergyman’s daughter, Miss Fay (delighted with the romance in which she had an opportunity to assist) had prepared. It was a glorious send-off altogether, and the blithesome Miss Fay managed at the last moment to pour a whole handful of rice down the neck of the groom, who when he went out of the house, found the carriage festooned with white streamers, and an old shoe tied fast behind. But it was not an occasion when trifles of this sort could be deemed worthy of attention, and the cab drove off to the railroad station at breakneck speed, arriving just in time to catch the train for Atlantic City, where the young people were to make it their business to compress a whole honeymoon into a fortnight of vacation granted by Government dispensation.

The future home of Mrs. Upperman is No. 315 Street northwest, at a house which her husband possessed together with a modest little fortune outside of his pay from the Coast Survey.

In the meanwhile the Man-Hating club still retains two girl captives, Minnie Jones and Susie Carter, both very pretty and yet unstolen. Restrictions to which they are subjected, but which were finally abrogated by the young Lochinvar in Miss Mutter’s case are as follows:

~ Rules of the Club~

They are forbidden to see or speak to any man.

They are not allowed to engage in any form of religious worship. Absence of definite religious tenets is one of the principles on which the community is founded.

They have never been permitted to go to school, let learn something about marriage and family life.

They are allowed to have a cent to spend because money might get them into mischief.

It is true that they are allowed to go out of the community house on occasions, and even to visit the shops down town, but only under escort and vigilant guardianship by the older women.

Several months ago head and organizer of the Man-Hating Club died. Her name was Mrs. Martha McWhirter, and one of the remarkable things about her was that she had had twelve children of her own before she decided to abjure the male sex and to set up a man-hating and man-excluding community. Having become at length convinced that the masculine creature was unnecessary in the scheme of creation, she persuaded several of her women friends of the fact, and they left husbands in a body, so to speak, forming an organization with Mrs. McWhirter at their head. They managed to get together enough money to start a hotel in their home town of Belton, Tex., and subsequently they set up and ran another hostelry in Waco.

~ Supernatural Revelations~

Exceptional advantages were enjoyed from the start by the community, owing to the circumstances that its doings were directed by supernatural revelations communicated through Mrs. McWhirter. It is also probable that the head of the concern was an excellent business woman. At all events, the enterprise prospered and the community, when it moved to Washington, possessed about $100,000 in money and property. The move, by the way, was made in obedience to a fresh revelation reported by Mrs. McWhirter.

All of the property of the community including money, is held in common – which means that it belongs to the head of the organization, who manages it as she sees fit, for the common benefit. When Mrs. McWhirter died she left everything to her chief lieutenant Miss Holtzclaw with the exception of $5 apiece for each of her grandchildren.

The property on Kenesaw Avenue is by the community. All of work is done by the members, including the raising of garden truck for the table and the making of butter from cream furnished by three or four cows. Most of the cooking is done by the three young women, who, demanding no wages, are cheap at the price. Some are milliners and others dressmakers. One is a dentist, another a shoemaker and yet another a physician. Thus the man-excluding club is to a great extent, self-sustaining. With its $100,000 capital it is rich. The appointment of Miss Holtzclaw as manager was directed by teat Mrs. McWhirter’s last revelation, and her authority in all things is absolute.

[“Cupid Steals Girl From Ranks Of The Man-Hating Club - Miss Maud Muller an Unwilling Member Exchanges Bonds of Washington’s Unique Organization for Those of Matrimony.” Washington Times (D.C.), Sep. 18, 1904, part 3 (magazine section), p. 1]


For more cases of misandric fixation see: What Is Misandric Fixation?


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