Become A Member

The Membership Process

Membership for The College Club of Cincinnati shall be open to women holding a minimum of a baccalaureate degree earned in institutions accredited by a regional accrediting agency.  An active member shall be one who lives within forty miles of Government Square in the city of Cincinnati.

Members nominate interested applicants to The College Club at any time during the year. It is recommended that one attends several meetings, prior to completing the application. This helps the candidate get a feel for the Club and meet as many members as possible.   

Requirements include the following: 

  • A Sponsor is someone you know fairly well who has invited you to join the College Club. She nominates you and helps guide you through the application process. In addition, two members, add their endorsements to the application; 
  • The candidate completes the application form provided by her Sponsor, with an attached copy of her college diploma; 
  • Shortly after the application is received by the Membership Committee, the candidate meets the Board at a board meeting, and is then voted on afterwards.    

Once approved: 

The “new member” is formally introduced at an upcoming membership meeting.  

Shortly thereafter, an invoice is sent for the initiation fee of $75 and membership dues $70 that may be pro-rated depending on when one joins. New College Club members also fill out a form indicating how they might wish to serve. Getting involved on committees is a great way to get to meet others and learn how the Club works. 

If interested in applying for membership, please contact Sarah Kurth-Sheblessy at or (513) 658-2201, for further information.  

Application Information Document

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The College Club of Cincinnati was founded in 1892 by eight young women in their twenties. Miss Susan Peabody and seven of her friends initially met in her parents’ home on McGregor Avenue near Auburn. Susan Peabody and three others had graduated from Wellesley College, and membership was limited to Eastern colleges and state universities in Ohio. 

In establishing their own collegiate club, these young women had already demonstrated a streak of independence and sidestepped organizational hurdles. After graduating from Wellesley in 1886, Susan Peabody had been appointed Director for Ohio by the then-new Association of Collegiate Alumnae (now the Association of University Women). A survey of college graduates in Ohio found that the majority lived in the northern part of the state: therefore, the headquarters for this territory was established in Cleveland. A small group appealed to Miss Peabody to organize a branch in Cincinnati. Because the Association of Collegiate Alumnae required that its members be graduates of accredited four-year colleges and some of the Cincinnati group had attended college only two years, however, they decided to form an independent organization.

In the spring of 1892, Miss Peabody returned to Cincinnati from Chicago, where she was teaching, to give her blessing and be hostess to the club at its first meeting. In attendance were Elizabeth R. Kellogg, Sarah Hickenlooper, who later became Mrs. John M. Withrow; Mary L. McMillan; Helen Sage, later Mrs. Fran W. Cottle; Adelaide Miller (Mrs. William Henry Walker); Ada Bremfoerder (Mrs. George Bassett); and Jessie Clinton (Mrs. Lelan Banning), who became the first President. 

Currently, our history reflects graduates from Smith, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke as well as The Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati as well as many other academic institutions.

Meeting Locations

(Below Photos Building Oak Street #1 and #2)  Originally, College Club was nomadic, meeting in various locations. Ample quarters were found at the historic Burnet House on Third and Vine Streets. Members were amenable to focusing on homemaking and hospitality as opposed to another strenuous organized work effort. Other quarters were found in a large room at the YMCA at the corner of Seventh and Elm Streets. This became the site of the Schubert Theater. When the Burnet House was razed, members found rooms on Arch Street below the Queen City Club. Arrangements were made in the Fall of 1934 to meet at the building at Oak and May Street. We have enjoyed a long relationship with that organization and appreciate their enduring hospitality. College Club moved to its present location in Clifton.


(Below Photo Fuller #3)  The earliest photo of a president in the archives is of Mrs. William Fuller in 1930. “Mrs. Fuller is the President of the College Club of Cincinnati, whose theater party at the Shubert on March 31, 1930, has created widespread interest, for this is the first time that this organization has appealed to the public to aid its philanthropies for many years. Mrs. Fuller is the elder of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Draper’s two charming daughters, and has hosts of friends. She was finished at the National Park Seminary in Washington, where she took her B.A., returning home to enter the University of Cincinnati (to take her master’s degree). Like her parents, she is a devotee of the arts as well as a favorite in society. She is a member of the Junior League, to which her younger sister, Miss Isabelle Draper, likewise belongs.”

(Photo of house)

As an emerging organization, College Club grew slowly, rarely numbering more than fifty members. Girls who went to college in those days, except to prepare for the teaching profession, were the exception, and teachers were allergic to club life at that time. In the beginning it was a sublimated culture club, standardized in the rigid framework of Robert’s “Rules of Order.” Our founders were eager to maintain a fraternal and collegial spirit. Their efforts to keep the intellectual fires burning led them to read and write scholarly dissertations on such topics as “Aristotle and Pestalozzi: Their Theories of Education Compared and Contrasted.”

Within two years, however, their research into social problems led them to teachers, writers and social workers who were developing the city’s first Social Settlement. For the settlement house, the members devoted their energies to develop clubs, classes, and choruses for both young and old. This Social Settlement House occupied the energies of these dedicated women for seven years until other social agencies such as the University Settlement House absorbed this effort. In its day, the settlement house initiated many social and educational experiments which are commonplace today. The location of this house moved three times to various locations on East Third Street until it finally faded out in a tiny house on Eastbourne Terrace.

Interested in Joining?

Contact Sarah Kurth-Sheblessy at or
(513) 658-2201 to get started. 

View more membership information here.

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Our Organization

The College Club of Cincinnati (CCC) is a group of college-educated women whose mission is 

"to promote a continuing interest and participation in philanthropy, the arts, education, social welfare, and civic improvement."

Meeting Location

College Club of Cincinnati
330 Lafayette Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45220