The History of the Baltimore Chapter

The Baltimore Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. was organized in January 1945 by the Cornelias, a ladies' social club founded by Gaynelle Spaulding. Mothers in the social club were friends with members of the founding chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., which was established in Philadelphia in 1938. Jack and Jill chapters spread first to New York City in 1939; to Washington DC in 1940; to Pittsburg in 1944; and then to Baltimore in 1946.

The Baltimore Maryland Chapter began with 25 members. Sadie Marshall Douglas, President of the Cornelias became the first President of the chapter. The charter members were:

Majorie Alexander Elsie Sessoms Lucille Jackson
Grace Burkett Charlotte Shervington Helen King
Marion Cofer Gaynelle Spaulding Zaidee Koger
Mercedes Douglas Mable Spaulding Charolette Mebane
Sadie Douglas Guinevere Spencer Majorie Moses
Frances Hill Anita Wheatley Nellie Moore
Blanche Hughes Catherine Wilson Doris Oswell
Emma Hughes Vernice Wynn Leila Powell

e 25 funding members remained intact until the Chapter grew to 50 members in 1947.

The 25 founding members remained intact until the Chapter grew to 50 members in 1947.

Former presidents of the Baltimore Maryland Chapter include: Sadie M. Douglas, Bernice Moore , Marion Banfield, Vernice Wynn, Charlotte Mebane, Ida Smith Peters, Blanche Hughes, Ruth Lightson, Grace Scott, Carolyn Willis, Helen Whittaker, Kathleen Carter, Juanita Gates, Anne Emory, Joyce Neal, Catherine Howard, Marion Patterson, Shirley Hill, Rita Selby, Frances Draper, Gladys Bragg, Gretchen Styles, Donnette Green, Doretha Galloway, Miriam Hutchins, Marilyn Hardin, Francine Stokes, Rosearl West, Pamela Beckham (1999-2003), Teri Alexander (2003-2005), Lisa Haywood (2005-2007), Bernadette Leeds (2007-2009), Carol Kimbers (2009-2011), and Marlana Bazemore (2011-2013).

Jack and Jill of America is now organized into seven regions. The Baltimore Maryland Chapter is a part of the Eastern Region which is the oldest and largest consisting of four area clusters containing 57 chapters. The region extends geographically from Maine to northern Virginia. Since 2009, the Baltimore Maryland Chapter has served Baltimore City, Baltimore County up to the Baltimore Beltway-Interstate 695, plus the entire areas of Pikesville and Woodmoor, Carroll County, Frederick County and Hartford County. We have 51 active members and over 80 children and teens.

During our Chapter's proud and rich 66-year history, we have had many memorable achievements. In 1959, we hosted the first Eastern Regional Convention at the Druid Hill YWCA in Baltimore Maryland. The Eastern Region owes gratitude to Ida Murphy Smith of the Baltimore Maryland Chapter for her high standards as editor of the first edition of the UP THE HILL. In 2004, the Chapter began hosting the popular Middle School Meltdown for children in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. In 2006, former Chapter President Lisa Haywood convened the first meeting that mobilized the Maryland Coalition of Jack and Jill Chapters which was organized to build synergy among the Maryland chapters ( Arundel Bay, Baltimore, Baltimore County, Columbia, Montgomery County, National Harbor, Potomac Valley, Prince George's and Southern Maryland). In 2007, the Baltimore Maryland Chapter hosted the Eastern Region Southern Cluster Mothers' Workday and was also awarded a Jacqueline Robinson Regional Competition Grant administered by the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Inc. The grant was used to help fund a free Leadership Initiative For Teens (LIFT) Conference in concert with the Baltimore City Circuit Court and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. Finally, in 2009 our chapter hosted the 59th Eastern Region Teen Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.