WCCR History of the 1940’s
Elizabeth Robinson Settle de Oreamuno Flores and a small group of North American women founded the USA Women’s Club in Costa Rica during the 1940’s. The social clubs membership was open to women from the U.S. and to wives and daughters of U.S. citizens. Elizabeth was mother of two sons, a former schoolteacher from Pennsylvania and her husband, Alberto Oreamuno Flores, served as Vice President of Costa Rica 1952-1953.
With WWII raging in Europe, the social club quickly added more serious projects to its agenda. The club dedicated its efforts towards the establishment of first aid stations and air raid shelters, working with the Churchill Drive and UN Allied War Relief.
Margaret Figland presided over the USA Women’s Club with an average attendance of 20 members. Due to the Civil War in Costa Rica some meetings were not held and the club year ran into May. Nevertheless, bridge teas alternated with bridge nights to which husbands were invited. The annual Halloween Dance was attended by over 500, netting ¢9,073 ($1,617). New projects undertaken were sponsorship of the Memorial Day services and a ¢500 scholarship to the Cultural Center.
Mae Esquivel was president with an average of 22 members. Monthly bridge games and the Halloween Dance were the main fund-raisers. At one meeting US Ambassador Nathaniel P. Davis spoke on Yankee Imperialism and recited some of the poems he wrote during internment in a Philippine prison camp.
It was the Revolution. Granddaughter Adelia remembers her grandmother Betty Oreamuno telling her that they hid in the closets with the maids when the men came with guns, and that sometimes she went out into the street carrying an American flag.
Costa Rica became the first nation in the world to abolish its army, in favor of education and medical care. President Figueres (Don Pepe) gave Women the Vote!
Catherine Cash was president. A Visiting Committee was appointed to visit the ill and a White Elephant Sale held to raise money for families of the residents of the Leper Colony.