Thursday, September 15, 2016

A charitable life

The photos of my Nana's grandmother Laura Ray hint at a very active life. Laura lived to be nearly 100 years old, and during those years she led a number of organizations in Indianapolis. I hope this provides some inspiration for my daughter, to see a family connection living a charitable life, giving back to the community and setting an example for so many others to follow.

In the 1920s, Laura and her daughter often hosted parties at the home, include bridge and card events. Her activities included the Order of the Eastern Star, Et Cetera Club, and Oriental Shrine.
Ind. Star, 3 Jul 1924.
Ind. Star, 5 Mar 1928.
Ind. Star, 6 Dec 1924.
These events often took Laura and Marie out of Indianapolis, in 1927 the Oriental Shrine met in Philadelphia. In 1928, Toledo, Ohio.
Ind. Star, 15 May 1927.

In 1929, Laura was a delegate to a national Shrine convention in Los Angeles. The group from Indianapolis took a special train across the country for the event. Laura went on this trip with her brother in law John Ray and his wife, daughter Marie and granddaughter Jeanne.
Indianapolis Star, 31 May 1929.

In the 1930s, Laura had a leadership role in the Ladies' Oriental Shrine of North America. It is unfortunate to see the news articles of the day crediting her as "Mrs. John D. Smith" instead of under her name, Laura E. Smith. In the article below, Laura was the chair of the fundraiser to benefit the Shriners' Hospital in Chicago.
Ind. Star, 4 Dec 1932.
Ind. Star, 22 Apr 1934.
In the 1940s, Laura had leadership roles in fundraisers for the Marion County chapter of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (1938-1943), Indianapolis Council of Women (1941), collection of fund for Finnish Relief (1940), American Education Week (1941), Women's Relief Corps (1938), Indianapolis Historical Council (1943-1946). In May 1940, Laura was named President of the Indianapolis Council of Women. In that role she regularly spoke at events in Indianapolis. This looks like it was quite a prestigious position in the city.
Ind. Star, 29 Sept 1940.
In 1947, Laura was president of the Indiana Council of Women.

Indianapolis Star, 7 Oct 1951.
In the article above, Marie Reynolds hosted an afternoon tea in October 1951 for the Indianapolis Historical Council. Marie's mother Laura attended as president, along with the wife of the Indiana Governor. In 1952, Laura hosted a reception for the National Screen Council, which awarded a "blue ribbon award" each year for the film best suited for family entertainment.
Ind. Star, 20 Jan 1952.
In 1954, Laura was the recording secretary of the National Screen Council in Indianapolis, and this group was affiliated with the General Federation of Women's Clubs (a national organization). According to available articles, she remained active with the Et Cetera Club and other charitable clubs in Indianapolis well into the 1960s. It is really quite impressive to see the various articles describing these activities and the social circles she was involved in during these days in Indianapolis. She must have been a very able leader and well respected in the Indianapolis community.

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