The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Support Texas History Now

Join TSHA to support quality Texas history programs and receive exclusive benefits.

Become a TSHA Member Today »

Pathfinder's Club

Lucy Shoe Meritt General Entry

The Pathfinder's Club, the oldest women's literary club in Austin, was organized by a group of Austin women on November 11, 1890, in the Driskill Hotel parlor. In 1897 it was one of the twenty-one organizing members of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs. The club's purpose was mental improvement; in 1971 the task of better understanding the problems facing the world today was added. Each member contributed an original paper, reading, or recitation, and membership was by invitation with unanimous approval of current members. The number of active members was limited to thirty, but there were additional associate members who generally lived outside of Austin and could attend on request. Anna D. Hearne was the first president. Weekly meetings were held mostly in members' homes. In 1907 the meeting frequency was changed to every two weeks, from October to April. A special May meeting, where a guest speaker is invited to address the group, was added in 1914. Since 1971 the club has met monthly. Papers on annual themes for study include mainly literary and historical subjects, geography, world affairs, art, and religion. One of the best-known charter members of the club was Minnie Dill, the Austin teacher after whom Minnie Dill Elementary School was named. During both world wars the club added war work to its regular study programs. Members have received numerous awards from the Texas Federation of Women's Club's for their community service work. The Pathfinder's club celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1990. In 1994–95 the president of the club was Regina Welge, and the theme was the Seven Virtues.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Clubs, Movements, and Associations
  • Women
  • Women's Clubs

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Lucy Shoe Meritt, “Pathfinder's Club,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed March 06, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: