The Union League of Philadelphia is about to elect a new president. For the first time in its 148-year history, it’s going to be a woman. Twenty-four years ago, she was one of the first women admitted as a member of the prestigious club.
It was 1986 when the conservative social club founded during the Civil War allowed five women into its Broad Street building as members. Among that inaugural quintet was Joan Carter, who next week is expected to become president by general election.
“When we first came in we were an oddity,” said Carter, who co-founded the business firm UM Holdings in Haddonfield, N.J..
“We were welcomed and it’s taken a while to get in the fabric of Union League life. The decision was made that the League would do well to reflect the business world at that time. The business world at that time — women were becoming executives, were getting into positions of responsibility.”
Of the 3,000 current League members, 500 are women. As president, Carter will oversee the opening of the Heritage Center this spring, one of the largest collections of Civil War-era documents in America.