Formed in March 1898, the Busy Women’s Club was the precursor to the Women’s Literary Club. Back row from left to right: Essie Shafer, Miss Rhodes, Addie Maxwell, Augusta Walker, Louise Moore Grimm. Middle from left to right: Mrs. Elliott, Miss Elliott, Annie Green. Front from left to right: Annie Loveridge, Louise Goodman, Effie Taylor, Sena Taylor. [Moab Museum Collection]

Throughout Women’s History Month, the Moab Museum is digging into its collection to highlight stories of women, women’s movements, and the individuals who built economy and community in what became the city of Moab. Though this week is the last of Women’s History Month, each exhibition, story, and program created by the Moab Museum throughout the year stems from in-depth research that prioritizes untold stories from underrepresented communities. Our work continually commemorates the recognition and encouragement of the critical role of women throughout the history of the Moab Valley. 

This week, Museum staff recognize the crucial role of an organization of women who founded the Moab Museum. 

The City of Moab owes a proud portion of its development to a group of women who established “The Busy Women’s Club” in 1898 to devote themselves to cultural improvement in the community. During the club’s infancy, meetings were research- and learning-centric, featuring lectures on subjects including human rights and foreign nations. The Club organized musical performances and guest speakers to provide informative discourse and entertainment. In 1914, the group renamed itself the “Women’s Literary Club” and focused on local needs for more community and civic improvement projects. 

The Women’s Literary Club danced for the Lions Club to raise money for glasses for Moab children. From left to right: Jen Opoe, Mr. Williams, Ila Corbin, Mrs. Kirk and Mrs. Andrews. [Moab Museum Collection]

The Museum owes its very inception to the women of the Literary Club. In 1958, the Women’s Literary Club of Moab chose to form a museum as its community project, aiming to “preserve, display, and interpret the various archaeological, paleontological, geological, historical, and mineralogical resources so abundant in our area.” 

An article in the February 20, 1903 issue of the Times-Independent stated: “As there were no social duties, no amusement, we concluded in 1897, to organize a woman’s club, the only one in the County of Grand, a small county as large as the State of Connecticut… We are a limited Club from necessity, not choice. We took up last year some civic matters, such as cleaning the schoolyards, visiting schools, and the remedying of some existing evils. The whole county has been better for this club within its borders and the history of the “Busy Woman’s Club of Moab” would silence forever any doubters.”

The Literary Club in 1931. [Moab Museum Collection]

Another article in the February 5, 1959 issue of the Time Independent said the establishment of the museum was spearheaded by the members of the Literary Club. 

“Representatives from each civic club in Moab formed the first board of directors, a building was obtained from the county, and the first membership drive got underway,” the article said. “The formal dedication was held on August 27, 1958, and opened to the public on limited basis through the Senior Girl Scouts and volunteer labor.”

Read more about the Women’s Literary Club in the Stories section of the Museum website or in the Museum’s September 17, 2021 Sun News column.  

The Moab Museum is dedicated to sharing stories of the natural and human history of the Moab area. This is part of a series highlighting photographs and stories of downtown Moab over time. To explore more of Moab’s stories and artifacts, find out about upcoming programs, and become a Member, visit