the girl friends inc.

The Brooklyn Chapter


Click for Brooklyn Photos from Conclave 2010


Winnie Chenet, Edith Carnes, Ruth Wilson, Marjorie Jackson, Doris Guinier, Hazel Gray and Dorothea Mason  

Circa May 1934 --  They wore roses around their necks which cost $.05 each !

Click photo above to view Brooklyn Founder Photos

In 1934 New York welcomed into the fellowship of Girl Friends six close friends from Brooklyn. Thus we became the Brooklyn Chapter of Girl Friends, the seventh link of a treasured chain. Charter members were Helen Lawrence Butler, Winifred Mason Chenet, Hazel Bunn Cox, Hazel Thomas Gray, Doris Cumberbatch Guinier and Dorothea Mason. The late Eunice Shreeves was our National President.

Our first affair (1936) was an "Amazon Revel" so inimitably unique that it bombed! Be that as it may, with admission priced at $.40, Brooklyn proudly established its first bank account.  Our Theatrical Debut (1937) was "Who's Crazy Now" - a farce. Performances for two consecutive nights rated "four stars". With the proceeds from the "charade" we adopted the Brooklyn Urban League as our charity.

Brooklyn was three times the National Conclave hostess and there remain many indelible memories. Our first Conclave was in 1939 and of special significance was "The Garden of Friendship Ball." The ballroom was lavishly bedecked with fresh red roses and greenery. The World's Fair was our theme and that evening friendship reigned.

In 1953 the Conclave “Extravaganza” of white gowns worn by Brooklyn hostesses, the creation of Margaret Turner, were the attraction; and so were the beautifully gowned dolls, a replica of the hostess. Each doll was a centerpiece of the table of each hostess. In the same year New Haven requested Brooklyn to model their gowns at a Garden Fashion Show.

At our 1979 Conclave at the Concord Hotel in the Catskills, with deepest sentiment we honored, and were entertained by, renowned composer and ragtime pianist "Eubie Blake", our beloved admirer from Brooklyn. This was the largest Conclave of that Girl Friend era.

Through the intervening years there followed a varied chain of charitable and social events. To mention a few; Barn Dances, a never-to-be forgotten Amateur Hour, Good Neighbor parties, and a Dinner Dance for the Sickle Cell Foundation

In 1954 Brooklyn embarked on a most successful charitable endeavor, a Debutante Cotillion for scholarship awards. Such success inspired us to continue biennially through 1968.

In 1959 Brooklyn celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a champagne dance. The champagne bubbled and the good times rolled.

1967 found Brooklyn hostess to a National Executive Meeting. Girl Friends and Boy Friends spent the weekend merry-making in the inimitable “Old Girl Friend Spirit”.

For Brooklyn everything was very special on April 14, 1984 at Terrace on the Park in Flushing, Queens, for Brooklyn became the “Golden Girls”. Ersa Poston, then National President, was Mistress of Ceremonies. Brooklyn proudly presented a check to the NAACP for our Golden Heritage Life Membership. (Our second Life Membership.) Our Mistress of Ceremonies presented the Schomburg Library with a complete set of The Girl Friends®, Inc. Chatterbox editions. Brooklyn bestowed upon its organizing charter member, Hazel Cox, the treasured gold emblem of The Girl Friends. Brooklyn relived and rejoiced in a Golden One-Half Century of being Girl Friends. In 1990 we honored five charter members with tributes, plaques, and gifts. Winifred Mason Chenet, Hazel Bunn Cox,Doris Cumberbatch Guinier, Hazel Thomas Gray, and Dorothea Mason. Our friendship was warmed with shared memories.

1994 was the year Brooklyn celebrated our 60th Anniversary, “Bridging the Years of Friendship”, at the Crown Plaza at Laguardia Airport. The Brooklyn Bridge was used creatively in our invitations. Our National President, Paquita Attaway, joined our festivities as a special guest. The weekend was filled with that special Girl Friend spirit.

Our 65th Anniversary in 1999 continued Brooklyn’s tradition of hosting spectacular celebrations. It was held at the Grand Bay Marina on Flushing Bay. We were honored that National President, Melva Penn, was able to join us. Four of our members, with more than fifty years membership, were honored. Hazel Bunn Cox,Hazel Thomas Gray, Doris Cumberbatch Guinier and Ruth Johnson Wilson. Each received a gift of gold jewelry in appreciation of their inspiration, love, guidance and friendship.

On June 12, 2004 we celebrated our 70th Anniversary! A beautiful sun-drenched afternoon brought out Girl Friends, Boy Friends and guests who came to lunch at the Terrace on the Park Penthouse in Flushing Meadow Park. We were very proud that our very own Brooklyn member was National President, Nola Whiteman, who welcomed one and all. This year Brooklyn also boasted a second National Officer, National Secretary Daryl Jordan-Washington. That afternoon guests crowded the dance floor, were entertained by caricaturists, fortune tellers, and strolled outside on the deck enjoying the spectacular views. The spirit of fun and friendship ruled the day.

In 2006 over 450 cheering guests attended our “Afternoon at the Races”. This was our 23rd consecutive year at Belmont Race Track. From 1954 through 2006, Brooklyn has awarded substantial scholarships to more than 300 students. In 2003 we established the Brooklyn Friendship Fund as the tax exempt arm of the Brooklyn Chapter of The Girl Friends®, Inc.

Brooklyn has joyously welcomed daughters into our friendship fold: Bettie Hall Brinson, Lucille Brinson Harper, Virginia Lewis Brown, Cheryl Whiteman Brooks, Christina Brown, Maria DeLongoria, Debra Johnson Lamb, Sharon Johnson Renscher, Lori Johnson Luis, Daryl Jordan-Washington, Alona Phillips, Clotilde Guinier Stenson, and Lisa Stenson.

As we enter the 21st century our chapter remains as vibrant as ever. We delight in our new member Girl Friends. We continue to follow the example set by our charter members who taught us to nurture and embrace the gift of friendship.

Our National Officers have been: 

1939 –Vice President – Winifred Mason Chenet

1941 – President – Helen Lawrence Butler

1951 – Parliamentarian – Hazel Thomas Gray

1953 – Vice President – Hazel Bunn Cox

1979 – Vice President – Doris Cumberbatch Guinier

1997 – Secretary – Nola Lancaster Whiteman

2000 – Librarian/Historian – Nola Lancaster Whiteman

2002 – President – Nola Lancaster Whiteman

2003 - Secretary – Daryl Jordan-Washington

Our National Executive Meeting

            1967 – Sheraton Tenny Hotel

Our National Conclaves (Theme Highlights)

            1939 – “The Worlds Fair” – Garden of Friendship Ball

          1953 –“Extravaganza”

          1979 – Concord Hotel – Featuring Eubie Blake


MEETINGS: 1st Saturday at 1:00 PM