Woman’s Club of Norfolk

Established 1905

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The Woman’s Club of Norfolk was founded in 1905, by Miss Virginia Gatewood. Miss Gatewood sent out 500 invitations and 200 women responded. In December of that year, the club was incorporated and in 1925 they purchased the Martin Mansion, historic Ghent, as their home.

The early Woman’s Club sponsored a speaker series that included Ruth Rhode, Minister to Denmark, President Herbert Hoover and many Governors and Authors. This lecture series was the precursor of the Norfolk Forum, which is enjoyed by many today. The club hosted activities for the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, sponsored a legal aid clinic, pushed for prison reform, marched for women’s suffrage and sponsored the Crepe Myrtle Festival, a forerunner of the Azalea festival, now known as the popular NATO Festival. They also conducted classes three days a week beginning in 1927 for what was the beginning of the Norfolk branch of William and Mary that later became Old Dominion University.

Over a century later, the Martin Mansion is still home to the Woman’s Club of Norfolk.

The Woman’s Club of Norfolk is relevant to women today as a private Club, with members of all ages, and fosters a positive and encouraging environment for all members, with a focus on activities and programs that support philanthropy, education and women’s entrepreneurship. The Club also directs the Gatewood Martin Mansion Foundation, the preservation and fundraising effort for our over 100 year old Mansion, and grounds.


Sheila Kilpatrick, President, The Woman’s Club of Norfolk, GFWC

We are a private club. Prospective members must be proposed by a member and sponsored by two additional members. If you do not know a member, please contact our Membership Chair at membership@womansclubofnorfolk.com .

All member applications require board approval and applicants must be at least twenty-three years of age. We offer several member tiers based on your activity interest. For more information, contact our membership chair at: membership@womansclubofnorfolk.com

Public Program & Events

        Be Natural, the Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache

Join use for a showing of Be Natural, the Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache at The Hauge School located at 739 Yarmouth Street, Norfolk on Thursday, October 10th from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. (Flood Date is October 24th)

In 1895 Alice Guy-Blache decided to tell stories through film making. As the first woman to own a production studio, she wrote, directed, and produced one of the first narrative films ever made. She was also one of the first people to utilize hand-tinted color, close-ups, and synchronized sound. For over two decades, Alice wrote, directed, and produced over 1000 films and then suddenly disappeared from film making. Ultimately most of her films were lost.

Director/Producer, Pamela Green, spent ten years of her life investigating and uncovering the truth about Alice Guy-Blache. Green produced, directed, wrote, and edited the Be Natural documentary with Executive Producer, Robert Redford.

The film premiered in the Official Selection of Cannes Classics 2018 and then had its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, followed by the Deauville American Film Festival, New York Film Festival, BFI London Film Festival, and is now in consideration for the Academy Awards.

Suggested donation of $10 at the door (proceeds go directly to our community outreach efforts). Refreshments can be purchased. Parking on the street and in the Chrysler parking lot across from the museum.





                              The Reality of Human Trafficking in Hampton Roads


Join us for a presentation at the Woman’s Club of Norfolk on Thursday, November 7th from 6:45 pm – 8:30 pm.

Human trafficking is a version of modern day slavery. Due to our region’s proximity to major highways, a thriving tourism industry, and a large military presence, Hampton Roads is a hot spot for these crimes. A trafficked person doesn’t have to be relocated but they are always forced into a state of servitude.

Who are the traffickers? Who are the victims? Is this crime hiding in plain sight? What do we do if we suspect something? How can we help the victims?

Victims of human trafficking are everywhere. We can no longer pretend it doesn’t exist. Increase your awareness of the issues and solutions by attending this free program, to include presentations by professionals involved in the crisis of modern day slavery in Hampton Roads.

Join us for this informative evening with Norfolk Police Department Vice and Narcotics Investigator Issoufou Boubacar. Investigator Boubacar is also on the Homeland Security Human Trafficking Task Force in Norfolk. We also welcome speaker Tiffany McGee, Founder and Executive Director of Survivor Ventures, a non-profit created to connect survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation with life changing services and resources.  


Ongoing Programs We Support

Community non-profits, as well as, Susan G Komen & Women for Women International