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1939 to 2019 Celebrating 80 Years

In the years 1929 to 1939, this country was in the midst of the worst depression in its history, and a time when Hitler was threatening Europe.  Only a handful of men had jobs. At the same time, the Oakmont Country Club was in need of new members.

The new owner, Mr. William Crenshaw, wanted to see a large group enjoying the privileges of the club.  He wanted the Oakmont Club to not only be a golf and social club, but to have some charitable purpose.  He wanted invitations sent out to a group of young women, to become members and to be called the Junior Matrons of the Oakmont Country Club.  He wanted them not only to be social but to be strongly committed to some worthy philanthropic endeavors.
Sally McKnight, whose husband was a a golfer, volunteered to become Social Director to help attract new members.  The first group of girls called by Sally McKnight were the founders of The Junior Matrons of Oakmont County Club. They were: Margaret Backus, Mercia Snyder, Dottie Collin, Dottie Kellogg, Lucille Sullivan, Patsy Klein, Mary Lou Speed, Donnie Seale, Sally McKnight, and Mary Jane Kidd, know as the Terrific Ten".  At an early informal meeting, Margaret Backus was elected the first President and was to appoint the committee chairs, and a Membership Tea in the fall of 1939 launched the group.  The Junior Matrons soon became famous for their beautiful teas.  The only purpose that first year was to build a membership.

By the advent of 1940, the group was 120 strong and Mercia Snyder was elected President.  Mercia wrote by-laws and named her Board.  The Junior Matrons went into high gear.  World War II became a reality!  "Bundles for Britain" was adopted as a major cause for the young group with a once a week sewing and knitting meeting and making layettes for British babies.  Highlighting the year was a “Donations for Britain” tea, with Joan Fontaine as honored guest.
In spite of the war, Easter parties for the children were launched.  Dottie Cowlin, chairing them and being the initiator of the Marionette Easter Programs, which are still an Oakmont Country Club tradition.  At Christmas, there was always a Dinner Dance.

The first legendary “Gold Gulch” made the scene in 1940.  Mary Lou Speed was the moving force in the production of the smashing Olio Midnight Show.  Everyone was excited and pitched in to help.  “Gold Gulch” was a success than the previous years.

Running through the war years was a tremendous war effort by the Junior Matrons.  They worked closely with the Red Cross, Civil Defense, U.S.O. and war chest - involving sales of War Bonds.  95% of the membership was involved in war oriented activities.  The motto was “Find a need and a Junior Matron will fill it”
the Mannequins department of Junior Matrons was a “war baby”. The original ideas was lending Junior Matron models to other organizations for fashion benefits.

For 10 years the beat went on with fun and friendship plus service, our proud hallmarks.  In 1949 the Junior Matrons decided they were grown-up and became The Oakmont League.

In 1956 Lilly Leaguer, our newsletter, was born. The Lily somehow portrays a spirit of Oakmont League - the carefree spirit, pioneer and strong in essence, guided by a caring lovingness for friends and peers, and a firm dedication to serving the community. The essence of Friendship and service to the community is still with us today.


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