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.


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 wcnmembership@yahoo.com. Prospective members are invited to attend our annual welcome meeting each September. 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: wcnmembership@yahoo.com

Public Program & Events

Holiday Open House

Members, friends, and neighbors are invited to the Woman’s Club of Norfolk Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 9th from 4-7p.m. 


The Woman’s Club of Norfolk and The Garden Club of Norfolk are co-sponsoring a C- Change Conversation which focuses on the science  and data of climate change. This event will take place on Thursday, January 17th at 6:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Norfolk. It is a FREE one-hour non-political event. 

                                                            For more information, contact: womansclubofnorfolk@yahoo.com

Ongoing Programs We Support

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