Club movement, mid-19th-century American social movement founded to provide women an independent avenue for education and active community service.
Before the mid-1800s most women’s associations, with some notable exceptions, were either auxiliaries of men’s groups or church-sponsored aid societies. Without a doubt, women played active and integral roles in these groups, but the direction and administration of such organizations were usually controlled by men.
Two prototypical women’s clubs were founded in 1868, Sorosis and the New England Women’s Club. Journalist Jane Cunningham Croly, a founder of Sorosis, and Julia Ward Howe, representing the New England Women’s Club, traveled the country promoting the value of clubs administered and controlled by women. They envisioned women’s clubs as a means for women to become better educated but also expected that the clubs would play a significant role in bettering society through voluntary community service. -From the Encyclopedia Britannica
The Des Moines Women's club was a direct branch of Sorosis and the New England Women's Club. It began in 1885 at a National conference of women held in Des Moines.