The Women’s National Republican Club turns 100 this year, but may not make it to 101.
The historic political club in midtown Manhattan has found itself in dire financial straits as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a fundraising appeal sent to members on Dec. 15 which said the institution was “in jeopardy.”
“Because most of our revenues comes from our 28 hotel rooms and our catering business, the club has been especially hard hit by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic,” the club said in a letter signed by all of its senior officers. “Our membership dues only account for approximately 5% of our overall revenue.”
The letter, which implored members to give, said the club expected hotel revenue to be down 68% in 2020 and at least the first half of 2021. Catering was off 80%.
The club was founded in 1921 by New York suffragette Henrietta Wells Livermore as a place for politically active women to meet and share ideas.
The group was warmly embraced by President Calvin Coolidge, who was eager to attract newly empowered women voters after the passage of the 19th amendment in 1919. His portrait hangs in a the club’s fourth-floor library, which was dedicated by First Lady Grace Coolidge.
The club’s current headquarters on 3 West 51st Street was erected during the depths of the Great Depression between 1932 and 1934. The neo-Georgian mansion by Frederic Rhinelander King is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Former First Lady Laura Bush, and former Second Ladies Lynne Cheney and Marilyn Quayle, are listed as honorary members.
When reached for comment, club officers insisted the fundraising drive had worked and the club’s future is secure.
“The letter was very successful. We have donations, we have secured funding, and we are hopeful that the pandemic will be over in a reasonable amount of time and we can get back to 100% business,” club treasurer Carol Mann told The Post.
She declined to say how much was raised or how deep the hole is.
President Rosanne Varvaro insisted the club was at no risk of closing and they planned to stick around for a long time.
Historic Women’s Republican Club facing financial woes The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.