A Club of Their Own: Suburban and Woodholme Through the Years, Part 4

Posted on October 9th, 2017 by

generations 2004Article by Dr. Deborah R. Weiner. Originally published in Generations – 2004: Recreation, Sports & Leisure. This particular issue of Generations proved wildly popular and is no longer available for purchase.

Part IV: Sporting and Cavorting

Miss parts 1-3? Start at the beginning.

Continuity and change have marked social life at Woodholme and Suburban. In the beginning, Suburbanites took the trolley out to the club for Saturday night dances. “It is said that there were some wild moments on the last trolleys back to the city around midnight,” reveals the Suburban Club history. For more sedentary members, card-playing proved popular, with separate card rooms for men and women, a standard country club feature. In 1905 the club found it necessary to make rules “to regulate the play of bridge whist by ladies.” Whatever unruly behavior may have occurred did so in elegant fashion, however, since a strict dress code applied. Home-grown productions entertained members from the start, from a 1911 Minstrel Show by the Suburban Flyers to a poolside fashion show some years later, where “Suburban member-models wore the latest fashions from Hutzler’s, Hochschild’s, and Schleisner’s downtown department stores.” Presumably they had no problem obtaining the right outfits, since the stores were all owned by club members.[1]

In the thirties and forties, the Suburban Club “was THE place to be,” says Mary Louise (“Wheezie”) Gutman. “I can remember we went there every Saturday night, and if you didn’t have a date to go there you were considered a lemon.” The unheated clubhouse closed for the cold months, during which time the Phoenix Club took over as German Jewry’s social center (the two clubs had virtually identical membership rosters). “The Phoenix Club’s china used to go to the Suburban Club for the summer and go back to the Phoenix Club in the winter,” Arthur Gutman relates.[2]

At Woodholme, an initial focus on golf and the nation’s plunge into Depression made for a somewhat slow start for the social scene, but with the building of a new clubhouse in 1948, the club came into its own. In fact, both clubs entered their glory years in the late forties. With the Depression and World War II fading into memory, Americans in the postwar era were in the mood to play, and the two clubs had the means to do it in style. Both hosted a lively round of dances, shows, parties, and games of all sorts. Woodholme was “the hub of athletic and social activities for the membership,” says longtime member Paul Goldberg. “No matter what you did on a Saturday night, you always gravitated back to the club…There was always a band, there was always dancing. It was the place to go.”[3]

Woodholme’s social scene tended to be more casual than Suburban’s, and more open to outsiders. Goldberg, a native East Baltimorean who moved back to the old neighborhood after military service in World War II, splurged on a membership because he wanted to play golf. He knew few Woodholme members, so to fill out his membership application, “I managed to dredge up three or four names of people I knew casually,” he says. “But they took me anyway because I was single.” It was “very, very easy” to get to know people: his first day on the course, the golf pro fixed him up with a threesome just starting out. The atmosphere was of “a small family group,” but one that welcomed new members.

One especially festive winter night in 1958, Harry and Marilyn Meyerhoff hosted a luau, with decorations “flown in from the islands especially for the part,” according to the Baltimore Sun. Birds of paradise, eucalyptus palms, and a thatch-roofed bar set the proper atmosphere. Even the invitations were written in Hawaiian (with English translation); Goldberg recalls going to the Pratt library to look up the words to respond in kind. Female guests came in grass skirts, muumuus, and sarongs, while the men donned “aloha shirts” and straw hats. Mr. and Mrs. Archie Wolfsheimer came dressed as cans of pineapple. Marilyn Meyerhoff’s outfit, described in detail by the Sun, featured “a bra made entirely of orchids.” The party, remembered to this day by many of the guests, cost nearly $10,000, making it “one of Baltimore’s more expensive private parties of the past year or so,” estimated the Sun. The festivities broke up after 3 a.m. Until then, guests dined on, among other things, barbequed shrimp and spare ribs, bacon slices wrapped around Spanish melon, lobster in avocado sauce, crabmeat on buttered toast, and the featured entrée, roast suckling pig.[4]

Sburban Club menu, c. 1958. JMM 1988.218.33a

Sburban Club menu, c. 1958. JMM 1988.218.33a

Not exactly a kosher menu, but neither Woodholme nor Suburban ever worried about such matters. From the Seafood Supreme served at one early Suburban luncheon to the Deluxe Seafood Bar on offer at Woodholme’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2002, the clubs’ chefs have focused on pleasing their members’ taste buds, not reflecting their religious affiliation. In fact, there has been little overtly “Jewish” in the clubs’ policies or daily operations. As the Suburban history points out, “there is no intent stated in the charter, bylaws, or minutes to serve only the Jewish community.” In the mid-1930s, the rabbis of the three Reform congregations asked Suburban officials to close the facilities on Yom Kippur. “The Board decided there was no reason to change longstanding practice and the Club would remain open,” the board minutes relate. However, the board later reversed the policy – and began the practice of giving Reform rabbis complimentary memberships. In later years, the Club offered a Shabbat menu at Friday dinner, “but the few orders received for it brought about its demise,” notes the Suburban history. (Recently, this option has reappeared on the menu, members say.”[5]

There has been one major exception to the lack of “Jewishness” in official club policies. Both Woodholme and Suburban have fostered a sense of communal responsibility, requiring their members not only to contribute to charity, but also to support Jewish philanthropies with at least a portion of their charitable dollars. “If you’re lucky enough to belong to a country club, Suburban member Ann Neumann Libov points out, “you’re lucky enough to give to charity, and especially support the Jewish community.”  AS early as 1927, the suburban board voted to consider charitable contributions in selecting members, and in 1937 required that members contribute at least $50 per year to the Associated Jewish Charities. Today, Suburban members must give a percentage of their dues amount to charity, and at least half of that is expected to go to the Associated or Associated agencies. Woodholme members’ charitable contributions must match their dues amount, and they must also give a certain portion to the Associated.[6]

Suburban Club baseball team, Oct. 1, 1909. Pictured are R. Maisel, Anderson, Goldman, E. Maisel, E. Strouse (Straus?), Parlette, unidentified, Aldridge, M. Strouse (Straus?), Wolf, Fowler, Rodger Pippen, and Zink. JMM 1985.90.19

Suburban Club baseball team, Oct. 1, 1909. Pictured are R. Maisel, Anderson, Goldman, E. Maisel, E. Strouse (Straus?), Parlette, unidentified, Aldridge, M. Strouse (Straus?), Wolf, Fowler, Rodger Pippen, and Zink. JMM 1985.90.19

Nevertheless, country clubs are not charities, their raison d’être is recreation, and sports have featured prominently at both Suburban and Woodholme. In the early 1900s, baseball reigned supreme in America, and every club had its amateur team. The Suburban Club played against other clubs in the area, and the competition as serious – it was not unknown for a team to have one or two non-member “ringers.” While the sport was wildly popular with spectators, it had relatively few participants. In 1928, in a clear sign of the times, the baseball team was dissolved because its diamond was needed for an urgent cause: a parking lot. On the other hand, swimming and tennis drew many players at Suburban, attracted by championship-quality facilities. Suburban produced male and female champions in both sports over the years, including Wheezie Gutman, who in her early twenties won the women’s city tennis championship. She attributes the success of Suburban’s tennis program to “the finest clay courts in Baltimore” and the coaching of the club’s tennis professionals.[7]

The putting green at the Suburban Club, July 1927. JMM 1985.35.5

The putting green at the Suburban Club, July 1927. JMM 1985.35.5

But everywhere, “golf is the anchor of the country club,” as one interviewee put it. Until recently, public golf courses were not very good, so anyone who truly wanted to play had to join a club. At Woodholme, even with today’s high-end public courses, golf is still “the primary lure,” says Paul Goldberg. That’s because of Woodholme’s championship-level course, a challenging 18 holes that serious golfers continue to relish playing. Although a poll was first built in 1938 and tennis enjoyed its moment of glory from the fifties to the eighties, golf has always been the club’s pride and joy. In fact, according to former member Sewell Sugar, “Woodholme evolved from a simple, male-oriented golf club” into a “full blown country club” only over a period of decades.[8]

Male-oriented, that is, until the legendary Evelyn Glick came along. The wife of a Woodholme member, Glick took up golf at age 30 and proceeded to dominate the women’s amateur scene in Maryland from the 1940s to the 1960s. From her base at Woodholme, Glick was the “undisputed queen of the fairways,” reported the Baltimore Sun in 1956. Winner of numerous city, state, and regional championships, she was inducted in to the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977. “Whatever she did, she did full blast,” Sugar recalls.[9]

Continue to Part V: Controversies and Changing Times

Notes:

[1] The Suburban Club, 60-62.

[2] Arthur and Wheezie Gutman interview; The Suburban Club, 63.

[3] “About Our Club” (JMM Vertical Files, courtesy of Woodholme Country Club); Pail Goldberg, phone interview with author, December 2004.

[4] Audrey Bishop, “If Winter Comes – An Indoor Luau,” Baltimore Sun, January 26, 1958.

[5] Suburban Club menu, JMM 1990.233.4; Woodholme anniversary program (JMM Vertical Files, courtesy of Woodholme Country Club); The Suburban Club, 22, 32, 34, 42, 70; various interviews.

[6] The Suburban Club, 44; Ann Neuman Libov, phone interview with author, December 2004; Mitchell Platt, interview with author, December 9, 2004.

[7] The Suburban Club, 73-77; Wheezie Gutman interview.

[8] Sewell Sugar, phone interview with author, December 2004.

[9] Fred Rasmussen, “Evelyn G. Glick, 87, Golfer,” Baltimore Sun, October 18, 1998 (obituary); “Woodholme Club ‘Becomes of Age,’” Baltimore Sun, April 1, 1956; Sugar interview.

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Once Upon a Time…10.09.2015

Posted on June 14th, 2016 by

The Baltimore Jewish Times publishes unidentified photographs from the collection of Jewish Museum of Maryland each week. If you can identify anyone in these photos and more information about them, contact Joanna Church at 410.732.6400 x236 or email jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org

 

1995142022030Date run in Baltimore Jewish Times:  October 09, 2015

 

PastPerfect Accession #:  1995.142.022.030

 

Status:  Identified! Monica Sagner features in this 1963 publicity shot for The Associated’s G-Day campaign.

 

Special Thanks To: Linda Speert, Nadine Weinstein, Wendy Brenoff, Rosalie Klotzman

 

 

 

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Manuscript Collection 5: Louis J. Fox Papers

Posted on November 5th, 2015 by

Louis J. Fox (1911-1995) Papers, n.d., 1929-1981

MS 5                                                                             

ACCESS AND PROVENANCE

The Louis J. Fox Papers were found in the collection of the Jewish Museum of Maryland in July 2004 without an accession number; having been referred to since its arrival as MS 5.  Unable to reconcile the collection with an existing accession, it has been assigned accession number 2004.55.  Anne Turkos, Vella Beckman and Elva Schneider processed the collection in October 1982.  Erin Titter updated and revised the finding aid and box list in July 2004.

Access to the collection is unrestricted and is available to researchers at the Jewish Museum of Maryland – contact Joanna Church, collections manager, jchurch@jewishmuseummd.org to make a research appointment.

Researchers must obtain the written permission of the Jewish Museum of Maryland before publishing quotations from materials in the collection.  Papers may be copied in accordance with the library’s usual procedures.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Louis J. Fox was born in Baltimore on June 8, 1911.  He graduated from Baltimore City College High School in 1929 and for a short time thereafter worked in the insurance industry and the scrap metal industry.  In 1931, Louis and his brother Robert opened Fox Chevrolet in Baltimore.  On September 11, 1933, he married Dorothy Newman and they had two daughters, Jill Fox and Shirley (Fox) Scholder.  Jill died in the 1950s and her parents founded the Jill Fox Memorial Fund in her honor.

”Technician Fourth Grade Louis Fox, of 3041 Spaulding Ave., Baltimore, MD was photographed recently by his dugout, called the ”Sad Sack’s Hole,” on an advance island base in the South Pacific war theater. Sgt. Fox is one of the few Baltimore men who fought with the 43rd Infantry Division throughout the entire New Georgia campaign, a battle which paved the way for the invasion of Bougainville.” Bureau of Public Relations, War Department, Washington

”Technician Fourth Grade Louis Fox, of 3041 Spaulding Ave., Baltimore, MD was photographed recently by his dugout, called the ”Sad Sack’s Hole,” on an advance island base in the South Pacific war theater. Sgt. Fox is one of the few Baltimore men who fought with the 43rd Infantry Division throughout the entire New Georgia campaign, a battle which paved the way for the invasion of Bougainville.” Bureau of Public Relations, War Department, Washington

In 1944, Louis Fox entered the Army as a Radio Repairman, Aircraft Equipment and achieved the rank of sergeant.  He was discharged in 1946 and he returned to Baltimore to work at his car dealership.  In 1958 he bought out his brother Robert and subsequently expanded the business to several area locations and began selling other brands.  He served as company president and was named chairman in 1972, a post that he occupied until his death.

Louis Fox was active in several local and national organizations.  He was president of the Jewish Welfare Fund in the 1950s, the Associated Jewish Charities in 1965 and 1966, and the Council of Jewish Federations in 1966, 1967, and 1968.  He was president at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and was the first president of its Parents’ Association.  He was also on the executive board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, and was director of the University of Baltimore, Sinai Hospital, and South Baltimore General Hospital, now the Harbor Hospital Center.  He was the first president of the Jewish Community Center, a regional chairman for the national Conference of Christians and Jews, and was a founder of the Jewish Historical Society of Maryland, now the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

He died on February 25, 1995 at Sinai Hospital of heart failure.

Lou Pincus (or Lon Pincus), Treasurer, Jewish Agency with Louis Fox (left) in Jerusalem, Israel, August 1967. JMM 2004.55.2

Lou Pincus (or Lon Pincus), Treasurer, Jewish Agency with Louis Fox (left) in Jerusalem, Israel, August 1967. JMM 2004.55.2

 

SCOPE AND CONTENT

The Louis J. Fox Papers contain both personal papers and those related to the many organizations with which he was involved.  Personal papers include military records, awards, newspaper clippings, and correspondence he received for his accomplishments.  Organizational papers consist primarily of official correspondence from the Jill Fox Memorial Fund, the Council of Jewish Federations, the Anti-Defamation League, the Legacy and Endowment Fund, State of Israel Bonds, and the Jewish Deaf Society, and from his involvement with Soviet Jewry.  These papers are organized alphabetically by the name of the group or organization.

Folder List: 2004.055                                                                                    Volume: .5 linear feet

Box     Folder                         

1          1          Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, 1960-1967

2          Associated Jewish Charities and Welfare Fund, 1949-1977

3          Awards and Tributes, n.d., 1964-1981

4          Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, reports, national, 1968-1976

5          Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, reports, international,

1967-1970

6          Jewish Deaf Society, 1971-1974

7          Jewish Telegraphic Agency, newsletters, 1962-1968

8          Jill Fox Memorial Fund, 1960-1974

9          Legacies & Endowment and Pooled Income Funds, n.d., 1965-1974

10        Military Records, 1944-1946

11        Personal Papers, 1946-1966

12        Personal Papers, 1967-1979

13        Soviet Jewry, 1971-1972

14        State of Israel Bonds, 1957-1977

 

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