Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Entries : Junior Leagues
Junior Leagues

Junior Leagues

Junior League of Chicago, 1932
The Junior League of Chicago (JLC) was founded by Lucy McCormick Blair in 1911, inspired by a New York organization of the same name. Its purpose was to acquaint young society women with Chicago's industrial and social problems and train them as effective volunteers. The group's first project was to organize a suite of resting rooms where Loop waitresses, who worked 10 nonconsecutive hours per day, could bathe, read, sew, or sleep between shifts.

Over the years and despite initial parental concerns about late hours and exposure to germs, the JLC created a large variety of programs to benefit immigrants, working mothers, sick and crippled children, battered wives, the military, seniors, crime victims, broken families, and drug abusers. Funds were often donated outright to benevolent institutions. The organization has also advanced the cultural climate of Chicago, providing music and art scholarships, initiating the Art Institute's Junior Museum and Docent Program, and creating the Express-Ways Children's Museum (renamed the Chicago Children's Museum).

At the opening of the twenty-first century, the JLC remained focused on developing the potential of women as trained volunteers, overseeing a multimillion-dollar budget and 2,100 members. Two other Junior Leagues in the metropolitan area (Evanston–North Shore and DuKane) operate independently.

Junior League of Chicago Archives. Chicago, IL.