The Women’s Club of Costa Rica: The 1960’s



20th Anniversary The Club voted to change its name to USA International Women’s Club of Costa Rica and all English-speaking women were invited to join. President Jaclyn Holmes’ term included a piano concert to raise funds for Chilean earthquake victims and a House Tour that included the home of President Mario Echandi Jiménez. The extravaganza Come Fly With Me was held at the National Theatre with all the embassies participating. A ‘flame-throwing’ incident set the velvet curtains on fire! The October meeting was a howling success thanks to a Cutest Baby contest for members’ children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.


Membership had reached 131 during Betty Jiménez’s term of office. Gambling wasn’t allowed, but a special licence was obtained to hold a BYOB Las Vegas Night dinner dance at Casa Italia. The funds raised were used to purchase an oximeter for Hospital de Niños. A Fashion Show was also held at the Hotel Balmoral.



Patricia Swett’s big fund-raiser was a Roaring 20’s dance with fashion show and barber shop quartet, raising funds to help start the Asociación Bienestar Social de la Ciudad de Escazú. A Christmas card contest was born, the winning card was designed by Andrea Bishop.


President Gertrude Reinholdt undertook an ambitious project to produce 700 copies of a bilingual cookbook, titled Embassy Row Specialties. They were printed on a hand press with hand-painted section dividers. LACSA brought models from the US and flew them with WCCR members to Limon to eat Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican rice and beans) for a publicity stunt. A used clothing consignment Thrift Shop was started to raise funds for Ciudad de Los Niños. The major funder-raiser was sponsorship of the All-Florida Fashion Show Tour at the Country Club; beauty contest- winning models were flown in from Florida. Proceeds were used to purchase a machine to make prosthetics for the Rehabilitation Center.
Vulcan Irazú erupted during the parade welcoming President Kennedy on March 19, 1963. Pat Miranda remembers, “I was standing in the Paseo Colón with all the people watching, long lines on both sides of the streets with children holding hands. At that moment I looked down and saw I was covered with ash from head to toe.”


A Ball raised money to re-roof the Hospicio de Huérfanos. Kae Hentges was president and membership was 205. Barrio Teas themes were varied: April featured archeological collections; May a fashion show with members’ daughters starring as models; and June a roaring melodrama called Curse You Jack Dalton, complete with popcorn.


The club’s name was simplified to The Women’s Club of Costa Rica to open membership to other than American women. WCCR was affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs in Washington, DC with annual dues of $10.



Peg Colgrove was president. Interest groups this year included Archaeology and World Affairs. The September meeting held at the Church of the Good Shepherd featured Lady Bird Johnson’s film Mrs. Johnson Visits Washington to promote her Keep America Beautiful campaign plus a film of Luci Johnson’s wedding to Pat Nugent.


During Bunch Olinde’s term of office, at the invitation of first Lady Chris Orlich, all meetings were held at Casa Presidential. Membership rose to 250 and average meeting attendance was 100. The main charity for the year was the Centro de Orientación.


While Betty Dahlstrom was president her main charity was the Playground Enseñanza Especial.  The WCCR sponsored the premier showing of the movie To Sir with Love to raise funds for the Escuela de Esperanza Especial and Camelot to benefit the victims of the eruption of Arenal Volcano.


Claire Sweeney was president. Focus was on fundraising for an electrocardiographic unit and emergency control center at San Juan de Dios Hospital’s ICU Unit. Goodwill was outfitted with two caravans.

FACT: A two-year fundraising campaign resulted in equipping one Intensive care unit at San Juan de Dios Hospital.

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