The Women's Building

Rendezvous for Women Visitors to the Exposition

It Contains no Exhibits
Headquarters for Organizations and Meeting Place for Clubwomen

Buffalo Express June 23, 1901

The broad-roofed, low, rambling structure in the southwestern section of the Pan-American Exposition grounds, with its broad verandas screened from the public gaze and a small regiment of blue-coated, brass-buttoned, white-trousered guards stationed at close intervals on special occasions to preserve its exclusiveness -- that is the Women's building. To be exact, it is the headquarters or administration building of the women's board of managers of the exposition. It is not an exhibit building, although it might very properly be regarded as auxiliary to the Art Gallery on account of its artistic decoration and furnishing. Our picture was taken on the afternoon of Flag Day. Those in the foreground are listening to the 74th Regiment Band, which is playing on the veranda. The building will be recognized by Buffalonians as the reconstructed clubhouse of the Country Club. Its interior, however, is in splendid contrast to the dull, uninteresting exterior. Mrs. Charles Cary's artistic skill has transformed the plain rooms into a perfect gallery of the decorator's art. The walls have been papered or otherwise covered under her impeccable direction. Oriental hangings and rugs are disposed to the best advantage, wicker and willow chairs, leather-covered divans and old-fashioned settees, each piece of furniture chosen apparently with due regard to the position it should occupy in the general scheme, are invitingly arranged and luxurious provision made for the physical comfort of the guests. The idea was to make the Women's building as homelike in the interior as possible. And Mrs. Cary's good taste has achieved that desirable aim with comparatively little expenditure. The materials are cheap, but they are decidedly effective.

Women who visit the exposition in their private capacity and look at the Women's building as a sort of public comfort or lounging-place have not quite the right idea. It is, primarily, the headquarters of the board of the women's managers of the exposition, and it is a rendezvous at the grounds for club women and organizations of women. In the reception-room is a register in which visiting club women may leave their addresses in Buffalo so that friends may know where to find them, and there is a compfortable hall on the second floor of the building which is free to clubs and organizations wishing to hold their meetings on the grounds. Formal functions are few, but there have been some and more will follow. As a rule the hospitality of the Women's building is confined to providing a headquarters for visitors, a hall in which to meet and luxurious quarters in which to visit with friends, with a cup of tea and a sandwich in the afternoon. There is a large dining-room furnished with black walnut furniture, and a pretty little tea-room, adjoining which are utilized for special occaisions, but it is distinctly understood that no lunches at all be brought into the building to be eaten and that the couches and divans are not for those who desire to stretch their weary limbs. For those who are fatigues to that extent, there is a "fainting room" on the second floor, to which the exhausted sightseers are straightway conducted. This "fainting room" is the unique feature of the Women's building.

There have been but three formal luncheons so far given at the Women's building. One was for Mrs. Roosevelt, wife of Vice-President Roosevelt, and an honorary member of the board, on May 21st, the day following Dedication Day; one on may 24th to a delegation of four women representing the National Council of Women of Canada, and the other on June 17th to the Countess of Minto and her party. The women from the National Council of Women of Canada were Mrs. G. C. Hanson, Montreal; Mrs. G. J. Mackintosh, Halifax, N.S.; Miss Mary M. Phelps, Montreal, and Mrs. C. S. Oberndorffer of Kingston, Ont.

There is "something doing" at the Women's building nearly every day, and on occasions when the building is given up to visiting organizations other visitors to the exposition are confronted with placards at every door, "Closed for Special Purposes." If the visitor insists upon having a peep in, anyhow, she is likely to be intercepted by a frowning guard. At all other times, however, the reception-rooms are open to women visitors. The organizations began coming on May 31st, when the National League of Mineral Painters held its opening session in the Women's building. On June 5th the Graduates' Association of the Buffalo Seminary occupied the buildling all day, and since then there have been half a dozen organization meetings. The Scribblers have Monday, June 24th, the National Health Protective Association will be guests of the board on Wednesday, and on Thursday the Cleveland association of same organization meets there. The list of women's organizations which will hold meetings in the Women's building this summer is very long. Every week has its quota and the list extends into the last week of October, practically to the very last days of the Exposition.