The Ebell Club

History

Our History

Inspired by scholar Dr. Adrian Ebell, the Ebell of Los Angeles was founded by women, for women in 1894. The non-profit organization remains dedicated to its original mission “to interest women in the study of all branches of literature, art and science and the advancement of women in every branch of culture.” The organization’s philanthropic endeavors include awarding scholarships to students and providing grants to charities that help at-risk women and children in the Los Angeles community. The club also hosts social and cultural events that inspire and empower. It is a gathering place to connect with artists, educators, authors, entertainers, speakers and politicians. The Ebell has been honored to host diverse and outstanding women such as Amelia Earhart, the last Queen of Romania and Michelle Obama.

Designed by architect Sumner Hunt, the Ebell of Los Angeles is commemorating its 90th year on Wilshire Boulevard. With three levels and 75,000 square feet, the renaissance-inspired structure is a noted architectural treasure and registered National Historic Landmark. The building includes a grand dining room, art salon, courtyard garden, and 1,266 seat Broadway-style theater. History resonates throughout the building – the Art Salon was one of the first art galleries in Los Angeles; Judy Garland was discovered on the Wilshire Ebell Theatre stage; and in nine decades, the theatre stage has been graced by performers ranging from Elizabeth Taylor to U2.

1894
Ebell Founded
Ebell of Los Angeles founded by Harriet W. R. Strong, Clara Burdette, Alice Parsons, Emmie Parsons and Franklina Bartlett. Strong is elected as first President. A born entrepreneur, she invented an irrigation system which made her the top walnut producer in the country and deemed the “Walnut Queen.”
1897
Ebell’s first Clubhouse
The Ebell’s first Clubhouse is built at 724 South Broadway. The building is described as a “modified Greek temple.”
1905
Larger Clubhouse built
Architects Hunt and Eager are commissioned to design a larger Clubhouse located at 1719 South Figueroa Street. This location was occupied by the Club until 1927.
1908
LA Red Cross
The Los Angeles Chapter of the California Red Cross is created with the help of the Ebell Club.
1918
Rest Cottage Association
The Ebell’s philanthropic organization, The Rest Cottage Association, is created to provide aid to “women in need of loving care.” The RCA was started in a cottage on West 95th Street.
1919
The Ebell Scholarship Fund
The Ebell Scholarship fund is established to assist students in the Los Angeles community.
1924
Julia Morgan Designs RCA
Julia Morgan, famed architect of San Simeon, designed a new building for the Rest Cottage Association, located at 135 North Park View Street.
1927
Architect Sumner Hunt Designs Present Building
Architect Sumner Hunt designs the Club’s present location, located at 4400 Wilshire Boulevard.
1928
Iron masterpiece by John William Chard
An iron masterpiece designed by John William Chard is placed in position at the Clubhouse main entrance.
1929
The Art Salon
The Art Salon is established with the purpose of foster an atmosphere of art and appreciation. The Art Salon is regarded as one of the first art galleries in Los Angeles.
1930
The Fountain of Honor
The Fountain of Honor is designed by Henry Lion in memory of Ebell members’ sons, husbands and brothers whose lives were lost in World War I.
1934
Judy Garland Discovered
Baby Frances Gumm, better known as Judy Garland, was discovered on the Wilshire Ebell Theatre stage by MGM producer, George Sidney.
1937
Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart gives her last public speech in the Fine Arts Gallery of the Ebell, prior to her ill-fated flight around the world.
1940
War Bonds!
During World War II Ebell members sold more War Bonds than any other women’s club. During this time the Ebell basement is also used as an air-raid shelter and USO dances are held in the Solarium.
1982
Los Angeles Cultural Monument
The Ebell is designated a Los Angeles Cultural Monument
1994
National Register
The Ebell is placed on the National Register of Historic Places
1999
Official American Treasure
The Ebell is named an Official American Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the White House Millennium Council
2009
Rita Moreno Lifetime Award
Rita Moreno awarded the Ebell Lifetime Achievement Award
2010
First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden
First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Jill Biden visit the Ebell and Wilshire Ebell Theatre for a special celebratory event, An Evening with Michelle Obama