“Equali-Tea” Celebrations Begin for 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote

Members of the Junior League and the Shakespeare Club at Equali-Tea Vintage White Party Members of the Junior League of Pasadena at The Shakespeare Club \\\

By JANET BEGGS | Photography by Kathy Gandara

11:55 pm | June 26, 2019


The 19th Amendment was passed by Congress in June 1919, 100 years ago. In one of the first Pasadena celebrations expected this year, the Shakespeare Club (est. 1888) partnered with the Junior League (est. 1926) to host a Saturday afternoon tea and vintage white party.

Yes, voting is political, and these organizations are not, but the Suffragette Movement gained momentum through the organizational powers of women – and the women of these clubs are skilled at that. Just as the suffragists gathered to organize their movement at teas that came to be known as “Equali-Teas”, the women of these two organizations gathered on the Terrace and in the Ballroom of the Shakespeare Club in common bond. A creative cocktail, the Earl Grey Mar TEA ni, was enjoyed prior to commencement of afternoon tea service.

The tea began with a dramatic entry by the Tap Dance Division of the Shakespeare Club’s Culture/Drama/Music Committee and all joined together in singing “You’re A Grand Old Flag”, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. In 1919 rally songs were a popular means of relaying the message with edited (and sometimes rather spunky) lyrics to popular songs. As an example, the group also sang “Oh Dear What Can The Matter Be” with the chorus of “women are wanting to vote”. Historian Candy Campbell added to the program with a historical perspective and as the afternoon ended, many could be heard to say “I learned something.”

As one of the first women’s clubs in the West, two Victorian Era ladies began a literary study group with Shakespeare as their first author. But as often happens in society, it is the women who see what’s wrong and they find a way to help. The Shakespeare Club quickly became philanthropic and believes in the multi-generational wisdom of women. The Junior League, an international organization with local chapters, attracts young women interested in leadership and community service. This is the time of year that both organizations seek new members and information can be found on their respective websites: shakespeareclub.org and jlpasadena.org.