Mrs. Leslie Hewitt


Director of the Ebell Club, the largest women's organization in Los Angeles, in the 1920s.

We have no personal information about Mrs. Leslie Hewitt except that she was a principal figure in the Ebell Club, the largest women's organization in Los Angeles in its day, and that she lived at 1212 S. Alvarado. The Ebell Club was founded in 1894 in a pattern originated by Dr. Adrian Ebell of Berlin in a club created in Oakland , California , in 1876. The Los Angeles Ebell Club built its own clubhouse in West Adams in 1906, at 1719 South Figueroa Street .

Several photos of this building are in the Los Angeles Public Library collection and appear in the section of an exhibit on the website of the Van Buren Place Community Restoration Association on Stores, Hotels, and Other Commercial or Public Buildings in West Adams and Nearby Communities. The Los Angeles Ebell Club hosted a national Mother's Congress in 1907 focused on child education, and issued yearbooks into the teens of the twentieth century.

The report on the Ebell Club in the 1922 "Who's Who Among Women of California" lists Mrs. Leslie Hewitt as the club's Third Vice President, while the Library photograph above, taken in 1926, lists her as the director. The 1922 report states:

"The Ebell of Los Angeles, the third of several Ebells in the state to be organized, and now grown to be the greatest in point of numbers, was formed in 1894 for 'advancement in all lines of general culture,' as its by-laws state. The twenty-eight years of existence have witnessed many changes. The club now numbers twenty-two hundred members, including a flourishing Junior Auxiliary of a hundred members. The sections are now fourteen, as follows: English, French, Spanish, Parliamentary Law, Social Science, Art and Travel, Bible Literature, Books and Current Literature, Browning, Choral, Music, Drama, Shakespeare and Psychology.

"In addition to this section work, the club maintains 'Rest Cottage,' an institution where from four to eight guests are cared for at a nominal charge (if guest is financially able) or free of charge. The guests are those women who have been discharged from local hospitals as convalescents, but who find their strength insufficient to enable them to assume the burdens of employment. Here they may gain the necessary strength which shall enable them to return to active life. Positions are secured for those for whom employment is not waiting.

"This year twelve young women who have been recommended by the deans of the high schools or colleges where the girls are students, and whose scholarship is of the best, have been assisted with a regular sum of money each month, by the club's Scholarship Department. The money advanced is in the form of a gift. The Practical Relief department has assisted local philanthropic organizations by co-operation in providing clothing from its stores for the needy, and by sewing for emergency calls. This department has practically clothed Ebells's Scholarship girls.

"The club meetings are held every Monday; and the programs presented cover a wide range of interests. All meetings are held in the club house, erected in 1906. An attractive feature of the club is its weekly guest luncheon, at which men and women in various activities in life are the speakers. Every important current topic is here discussed."

--compiled by Leslie Evans