District History

Brief History of Altrusa District ONE

In October of 1930, Altrusa’s International Board organized the Altrusa Clubs into 10 districts each having a governor and that governor destined to serve on the International Board.  In May of 1956, some of the clubs in the District were transferred to other districts.  The new District ONE would consist of Maine, Vermont, Bermuda, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, England, Ireland, Scotland, New Brunswick and Quebec.  Splitting off from the original District ONE to join District TWO were New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.    England, Ireland and Scotland later formed District Thirteen and Puerto Rico later formed District Fourteen.  The newly reconstituted District ONE held its first conference in May of 1957 at the Lafayette Hotel in Portland.

In July of 1981, at the International Convention in Vancouver, BC, Dr. Alice Whittier, Maine’s first woman pediatrician, was honored for 50 years of membership in the Altrusa Club of Portland.

In May of 1982, the current Past Governors established the Past Governors’Award-a pewter tray, in memory of Past Governor Irene Farnham who died in 1981.  The club achieving the greatest percentage of growth in membership each year would have their name engraved on the tray and have the privilege of using the tray at official functions throughout the year.

In 1983, the Govenor’s Leadership Award was established by then Governor Yolande O’Neil to honor participation at the Governor’s leadership training sessions.  Future Governors would present the award to an Altrusan who would distinguish themselves in an area important to the Governor.

The 1980’s brought the growth of ASTRA clubs in Barre VT, Meredith NH and the Seacoast in NH.

District ONE hosted its first International Convention in 1985 at the Westin Hotel in Boston.

In December of 1995, International President Elect, Alexinia Baldwin, of the Middletown CT club organized an Altrusa Club in Uzhgorod, Ukraine.  Governor Alicia Williams and Middletown Club President Betsy Croswell traveled to the Ukraine with Alexinia for the charter ceremony.  District ONE joined  the Middletown Club to offer support to  the new club.  In July of 1997, Alexinia Baldwin was installed as International President.  It had been 50 years since a member of District ONE had served as International President.    That same year, Marianne Cox, a member of the Plymouth County Club and Boston radio talk show host, produced a promotional video for Altrusa International to be used by clubs all over the world.

May 1999, District ONE added two new positions to the District Board—two Directors.

In 2002, the District initiated an All Conference Service Project. Members were asked to participate in providing service and/or funds to address a need in the community where the conference as being held.

In 2002, the District Board established the Gabrielle Crepeau Leadership Award in memory of Gabrielle Crepeau who passed away as she was serving as the District’s Governor Elect.  The award honors an Altrusan who has participated in leadership positions and inspired others to challenge themselves and work to meet their goals.

In 2005, Sue Swanton was chosen by District 15 to be the first participant in their Career Exchange Program.  Sue traveled to New Zealand to study the marine trades and the following  year Christine Tuffnel, fromNelson New Zealand, traveled to Maine to exchange ideas with other practitioners of Herbal Medicine.

In the summer of 2007, Mia Beede, District Service Bulletin Editor, began distributing the District Service Bulletin via e-mail.  In 2010, we put up our first District Website and started having a presence on Facebook.  At Conference in the spring of 2010, District Altrusans approved a by-law that would change election of officers from even years to odd years to coincide with the tenure of International officers’ term of office. 

In the words of Mamie L. Bass, our first International President:  “What we have already achieved is magnificent.  But Altrusa is not static…  It is dynamic.  New fields shall open unto us, and we will achieve new goals of helpfulness.  In the past, in the present and in the future, the strength of Altrusa is in the individual member, her vision, her character, her kindness and her desire for service.”

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