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Hannah Adams Woman’s Club adapts to pandemic

By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff

People have had to readjust their lives since the COVID-19 measures were put in place. A large number have gone from wearing suits to wearing pajamas, from a desk to a laptop, from a classroom to a Zoom session. With so many affected by the pandemic, it's hard to imagine any of the normal Medfield traditions continuing this year. But the Hannah Adams Woman's Club, a Medfield institution, has adapted and is flourishing.

126 years after its founding, the Hannah Adams Woman's Club now holds its monthly meeting via Zoom rather than in person. While important town figures, like the chief of police and curators of the Boston Athenaeum, have joined members for these meetings, nothing beats coming together in person. "Our members have adapted nicely to meeting online, but what we miss most is gathering in person," admits Theresa Knapp, a member of the historic club.

Adapting to an online format has given the club an option they never expected to use. The club has not only adapted to hosting online meetings - it's thriving. Prior to the pandemic, the clubs would meet in person and alternate meetings in the morning and evenings, since many members work during the day. "We have a few new members who might not have joined us before the pandemic because they have children at home, but online gives them the opportunity to attend from home," explains Knapp. Now, members can pop on to the Zoom meeting during a work break or while their kids are attending school.

Yearly traditions hosted by the club have had to be changed to accommodate the challenges brought on by 2020. Prior to the pandemic, most of the fundraising and events hosted by the Hannah Adams Club took place in person. "We are working hard to find ways to fundraise for our Hannah Adams Scholarship (which our records indicate began as the Hannah Adams Prize in 1905) by pivoting our in-person scholarship fundraisers to online events, such as our recent Hannah Harvest Soup cooking class. And though we need to cancel our in-person holiday celebration and altered our in-person yankee swap to a secret Santa drop-off, we continue to gather monetary donation for the Medfield Home Committee via mail and drop-off," says Knapp.

It is impossible, though, for perhaps the most iconic event hosted by the Hannah Adams Woman’s Club to be converted online. Each year, the club hosts a traditional tea party for the girls in the graduating high school class. The senior tea has been a tradition for decades, and 2020 was the first time it had to be canceled. “In 2020, we were not able to hold that event for the first time in 52 years - though we did recreate a tea display for the Graduation Rolling Rally - but we remain cautiously optimistic we might be able to hold it, in some fashion, in 2021,” acknowledged Knapp.

2020 was a year of surprises that the club handled with its regular taste of organization and grace. No one knows what 2021 will bring, but members of the Hannah Adams Woman’s Club are ready for anything that comes their way. 

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