Membership in RWAAC is open to any woman believing in the principles of the Republican Party and intending generally to support its candidates. Associate membership has been extended to Republican men and women in the community. Membership (except for associate members) in RWAAC automatically confers membership in the Maryland Federation of Republican Women (MFRW) and the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW).
Objectives of the club remained the same as when it was founded:
• to broaden the understanding of Republican aims in government,
• to increase the number of voters registered in the Republican Party, and
• to unite efforts along party lines in order to elect Republican candidates.
History of RWAAC
The Republican Women of Anne Arundel County (RWAAC), originally named the Federation of Republican Women of Anne Arundel County (FRWAAC), was formed about the same time as the National Federation of Republican Women (NFRW) in 1937. Edna Payne ofAnnapolis was one of the founders of both organizations.
FRWAAC attracted members from various parts of the county and formed units in Severna Park, Pasadena and Crofton. These units later became independent clubs and members of the MFRW.
During the 1940s, voter registration inAnneArundelCountywas approximately five to one in favor of the Democrats and many voters were reluctant to register as Republicans. As a consequence, membership dwindled and the club became dormant.
In 1952, Kay Monvid of Harwood, an Eisenhower delegate to the Republican National Convention, reactivated the club at which time the name Republican Women of Anne Arundel County was adopted. The club was small in 1952 under the first president, Laura Trieste. In 1959, a meeting was held whose the main purpose was to officially promote the Republican Party in Anne Arundel County and to provide leadership and effective organization. This meeting provided the impetus for growth, and in the 1960s, under the leadership of President Ida Woods, the club’s membership reached 150. Following the Nixon–Agnew years, membership declined somewhat, but the resurgence of strength and pride in the Republican Party was once again reflected in the increase in membership by the 1990s. The current ratio of Democrats to Republicans is 1.1 to 1.
Members & Community Involvement
Many members are active individually in community service areas and the club as a whole supports a variety activities including:
- voter registration drives;
- support of Republican candidates by assisting in campaign activities, hosting receptions, manning offices, preparing the mailings, poll watching and financial support;
- hosting a fashion show/luncheon each spring since 1966. Then gubernatorial candidate Spiro Agnew was auctioneer at the first luncheon;
- supporting Arden House, a domestic violence shelter, with monthly financial contributions, as well as twice yearly “showers.” The club also furnished two rooms at the shelter.
- assisting as needed at the headquarters of the Maryland State Republican Party, stuffing envelopes, etc.;
- volunteering at the White House during Republican administrations;
- participating in the Mamie Eisenhower Library Project by donating books to the Anne Arundel County Public Library each year;
- volunteering at Eastport Elementary School in response to President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” Program;
- legislation lobbying;
- attending semiannual meetings of the MFRW and the biennial meetings of the NFRW;
- contributing to the Salvation Army of Annapolis;
- individual members have been naming Eastport Elementary Schoolas recipient of grocery store credits to be used for school supplies;
- supporting the annual Anne Arundel County Central Committee Lincoln Day Dinners;
- taking trips to sites of cultural or historic importance;
- visiting the General Assembly when it is in session, and meeting with Republican members from our County delegation;
- hosting a breakfast for Republican legislators at the beginning of the legislative session.
The club’s oldest member, Suffragette Edna Payne, died in 1991 at the age of 100. The garden at the NFRW headquarters in Alexandria,Virginiais dedicated to her.
At the time of her death, Grace Kelly had the longest continuous membership in the club – more than 40 years. Since Grace Kelly’s death, Betty Ann Pahr now has the longest continuous membership with more than 44 years in the club.
The following women have served as president of RWAAC from 1952 through 2011:
Laura Triest; Chris Weinrich; Betty Taussig; Ida Wood, Bim Fisher; Betty Moore; Shirley Manson; Bim Fisher; Dede Knox; Mary Rose; Betty Caulk; Helen Fister; Rachael Peabody; Helen Fister; Marilyn Stachelczyk; Joan Gray, Dorothy Gwinn; Merri Mullaney; Frances Brennan; Merri Mullaney; Marianne Pelura; Marti Fridrich; Mary Alter; Joyce Thomann and Joan Dennis.
Written by Betty Ann Pahr and edited by Jane Fanning & Lee Phillips in 1993.
Edited by Betty Ann Pahr & Mary Alter in 2005. Re-edited January 2012.