On November 25, 1929 twelve young women arranged a meeting with the President of the Ho-Ho-Kus Women's Club for the purpose of starting a Junior Department. They decided to call themselves the Junior Women's Club of Ho-Ho-Kus, agreed to charge $1.55 for dues ($.05 for the Federation), arranged to meet in members' homes and planned their first party. Before the year ended the Drama Department was functioning and there were 21 Charter Members.
Through the Depression years, the Juniors increased their membership to a high of 47, raised their dues to $2.35, supplied toys, milk and woman-power when called upon and continued to support a very active Drama Department. Members frequently traveled to New York City to see such notables as Gertrude Lawrence, Ethel Barrymore and others on the Broadway stage. American Home, Social Services and Civic Affairs departments started to flourish and time was also found to support a Girl Scout troop, attend a child psychology class and send delegates to convention with an appropriation of $10 per woman.
The early 1940s found club members contributing their time and concern toward the war by knitting sweaters for refugee children, purchasing Defense Bonds and making sandwiches for a local Army camp.
The Club continued to grow. By 1945, it decided it would like to function independently of the senior club and with a membership of 77, became an evening club, adopting the name The Contemporary Club. A Junior's Women's Club did continue, however, disbanding in 1962. Members continued to remain involved, knitting lap robes for an Army hospital, donating money toward baby bassinets at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, and participating in their first Federation project - a scholarship fund.
Club members also found themselves busy organizing the Ho-Ho-Kus Youth Activities Council (YAC), which was formed to provide recreational activities for the youth of the community. On Valentine's Day in 1948, the first YAC Benefit Dance was held and this traditional Benefit is still held in the Spring every year.
During the 1950s, Club members assisted in the organization of the Ho-Ho-Kus Memorial Ambulance Corp, and the Ho-Ho-Kus branch of the Valley Hospital Auxiliary, petitioned the governing body to incorporate fluorine in the water and organized a town calendar. There was still time for some members to volunteer at Bergen Pines County Hospital, sponsor the Easter Seal campaign and chair the Cerebral Palsy Drive.
The 1960s found the Club sponsoring a Camp Fire Girls group and publishing a historical map of Ho-Ho-Kus and Tercentenary Day, with the proceeds going to the Ho-Ho-Kus Library. During this time, the Contemporary Club was functioning independently of the Ho-Ho-Kus Women's Club, having its own set of officers. However, all of its activities were recorded as an Evening Membership Department of the Women's Club for the State Federation of Women's Clubs' purposes.
In honor of the Club's 40th anniversary in 1969, park benches were donated for the park at Hollywood and Sheridan Avenues. Club members were also instrumental in getting a traffic light installed at that intersection by conducting a letter writing campaign and staging a stand-in with members, children and toddlers in strollers.
By 1969, the state board finally expressed displeasure with the fact that The Contemporary Club was not conforming with the regulations of the Evening Membership Department standing rules by having its own name, bylaws and officers titled President, Vice President, etc.In order to conform with the standing rules, three possible avenues were open to the membership:
1. Make all necessary adjustments to conform to the Evening Membership Department's standing rules.
2. Resign from the State Federation of Women's Clubs, Evening Membership Department, and re-form as a local unaffiliated women's club.
3. Resign from the Evening Membership Department of the Ho-Ho-Kus Women's Club and apply to the New Jersey Federation for standing as an independent charter club.
On May 18, 1969, the membership voted to resign from the Evening Membership Department of the State Federation and apply for recognition as a general women's club, keeping the name The Contemporary Club. application was made in triplicate and accompanied by a $10 initiation fee and $.85 per member assessment.
Throughout the years, The Contemporary Club has remained contemporary. Not only has it supported Bergen Pines, the county hospital, with money and volunteer help and provided clothing for Greystone, the state mental hospital, it has also sponsored a high school girl to attend Citizenship Institute, given gifts to the needy at Christmas time and contributed money and items for numerous timely projects.
Locally, The Contemporary Club has taken a very active role. It was instrumental in the formation of the Memorial Volunteer Ambulance Corp., the Youth Activities Council and the Ho-Ho-Kus branch of the Valley Hospital Auxiliary. When the Hermitage, a historical home dated to pre-Revolutionary War days became empty, the Contemporary Club was instrumental in petitioning the State of New Jersey to name it a historical site. Fundraising for the Hermitage was begun with the publication of a town directory and a cookbook, "Ho-Ho-Kus Hostesses, Then and Now", with all the proceeds going toward the restoration. By 1979, the Club had contributed about $14,000 and was the single largest contributor. Proceeds from the sale of a historical map of Ho-Ho-Kus have gone to the library for an exhibition case, globe, photo copier and reference books.
By 1979, 50 years old and with 105 members, The Contemporary Club was still an active part of the community raising money for philanthropies, doing volunteer work and providing a meeting place for new friends and new ideas through the Clubs' American Home, Arts & Crafts, Civic Affairs, Drama & Music, Literature & Education, and Social Services Departments.
Throughout the 1990s and the 2000s, The Contemporary Club of Ho-Ho-Kus continued to adjust our focus to meet our members' needs. Our membership is a wonderful group of women who are committed to the community and those in it. We continue to run incredibly successful events, raise tremendous amounts of money for the benefit of our community and many of its' organizations.
We exist to better our community. It's what we have always done and will continue to do for years to come.