History of the Handicraft Club
The Handicraft Club was founded in 1904 by Julia Lippitt Mauran, Mary Parsons and eight other women who were interested in crafts. Their mission was to promote interest in all kinds of handicrafts and to provide a place where such work could be done.
In the early years rooms were rented in various buildings on the East Side. Classes were offered in bookbinding, silver and metal work, woodcarving, enameling, pottery, basketry, jewelry making, weaving and photography.
The Club was incorporated in 1921 and, with a membership grown to 250, was able in 1925 to purchase its present site, the Truman Beckwith House. By taking up a challenge to save the Truman Beckwith House, the Club assumed an obligation for preservation that has come to equal its commitment to handicrafts. The house is on the National Register, has received recognition in 2004 from the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and is a prominent and historically significant part of Providence’s historic mile.
Among its early members were Marian Perkins and Amy Vernon, who started the House of Tynietoy, famous for its miniatures and dollhouses. Club activities were curtailed during the two World Wars while members contributed the clubhouse and their time to the war effort.
The Club is managed by a Board of Directors who serve on a rotating basis. In 1964 an endowment fund was created to support ongoing maintenance and repair of the Club’s historic property. The membership, which is over 400, works devotedly to continue the vision of craft and congeniality the Club’s founders had more than one hundred years ago: The promotion of interest in all kinds of handicraft and to provide a place where such work can be done.