Black Gold Collections

The Minerva Club was founded in Santa Maria in 1894 as the Ladies Literary Society. In the late nineteenth century, the Santa Maria Valley was sparsely populated and largely undeveloped, leaving many of the area’s women lonely and starved for entertainment. The club’s members came together to socialize and sponsor programs that would be entertaining and enlightening. They also established the first lending library in Santa Maria, and have been instrumental in supporting the public library ever since. In 1906 they changed their name to the Minerva Library Club, in honor of their early member and Santa Maria Valley pioneer Minerva Thornburg. The collection consists of photographs and documents from the yearbooks put together by the Minerva Club, starting in 1906. These items depict the members of the club, many of whom were prominent citizens of Santa Maria, as well as the club’s activities.