1939: The 25 Club is established in the home of Lillian Reese
The 25 Club began with a meeting of eight women in the home of Lillian Reese on September 21, 1939. Eight women, all of whom usually gathered for afternoon tea and a game of bridge, would catch Lillian Reese’s infectious enthusiasm about supporting infant care. This group grew quickly and on the afternoon of September 21, 1939, Mrs.Reese gathered together twenty-four prominent women to organize a new charity club.
She asked them to listen to a presentation by researcher Dr. Murray Ferderber. The purpose of his presentation was to ask this newly formed club to subsidize an attending physician in the fever-therapy department of Children’s Hospital.
This new charity club derived its name, The Twenty-Five Club, from the 24 women, with Lillian being the 25th; who came to Lillian’s apartment that day to hear Dr. Ferderber’s presentation.
The Club formed a strictly limited membership of twenty-five women, who were required to work on all the designated special projects. At their monthly bridge parties, each member would make a contribution that would be donated to an attending physician in the Fever Therapy Department of Children’s Hospital.
Their first project was to pay the salaries for special doctors as well as buy the necessary equipment needed to study RH Blood Factor. For the next few years, they financed different studies including infant brain structure, the thyroid, and the stomach and intestinal track.