The Democratic Women’s Club was originally created more than 50 years ago to give women a chance to participate in Democratic Party politics.  An independent, chartered club of the California Democratic Party, the Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz County promotes progressive political activism and the election of Democrats through local, statewide and federal elections.  We promote our democratic ideals through monthly newsletters, discussions of controversial topics, and social networking.  Meetings include programs on a variety of social, political, legislative, and electoral issues. FPPC# 1306050 

2016 Officers:

  • President: Carol Fuller
  • First Vice President: Membership and DCC Liaison: Carolyn Livingston
  • First Vice President: Programs: Mike Rotkin
  • Secretary: Elena Cohen
  • Treasurer: Joyce Nordquist
  • Corresponding Secretary: Madelyn McCaul
  • Events: Kathy Donovan
  • Parliamentarian: Karen Darling
  • Legislation: Maureen McCarty
  • Communications: J.M. Brown and Rebecca Unitt
  • Historian: Judy Warner
  • Webmaster: Ted Altenberg, Agora Media Services

Feel free to Contact any of the officers.

2015 Officers:

  • Co-Presidents: Mike Rotkin & Carol Fuller
  • Membership: Carolyn Livingston
  • Programs: OPEN
  • Secretary: Madelyn McCaul
  • Correspondence: Lynn Francis
  • Events: Kathy Donovan
  • Treasurer: Joyce Nordquist
  • Parliamentarian: Karen Darling
  • Legislation: Maureen McCarty
  • Publicity: Mike Rotkin 
  • Historian: Judy Warner
  • Newsletter: OPEN
  • Webmaster: Agora Media Services

Early History of the Democratic Women’s Club of Santa Cruz, California: From Annie’s Garden

By Judy Warner, President 2013

Annie Annand and DWC’s founders left us snippets of local political history dating back nearly six decades.

At the beginning of the first of several scrapbooks, a penciled note, probably written by Mrs. S.K. Annand, says “Dem. Womens’ Club reactivated Aug. 18/52.”  When reactivated, the group seems to have sprung up, fully formed, with 25 members, a strategy for action, and Mrs. Annand as chair. Reactivated?  Who was this woman!

When women are shrouded by their husbands’ names or initials, they become more mysterious with passing decades.  I wanted to know who Mrs. Annand was, and I wondered about the man whose initials identified her.  After checking our scrapbooks and poking around in the public library, I learned that Mrs. Annand’s name was Annie, that she was born June 16, 1885 in California and died in Santa Cruz on November 10, 1979.  By the time she reactivated the Democratic Women’s Club from the garden of her home on the Old Coast Highway near Davenport in 1952, she was a widow.   Her husband had died June 2, 1945.

Annie’s husband, Samuel Kerr Annand, was an immigrant from Canada, born in 1886 in Musquodoboit Harbour, Halifax County, Nova Scotia.  He came to America about 1902.  When he signed up for the draft in 1917, he was working as a civil engineer for the County of Santa Cruz.  At the time Annie, Sam, and their two eldest children were living on Laurent Street.  Annie’s maiden name was Scaroni, but it will take a little more work to verify that her parents were Pio and Felicita Scaroni who came from Switzerland in 1874.  If you care about dates and details, know that in 1926, Sam was a registered Republican, but Annie declined to state.

So that’s a brief background of the woman who, from her garden, led DWC into a primary election and presidential race between candidates Adelai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower.  The club’s first speaker in September was local attorney Robert Bennett who advised the group on methods of political organizing at the precinct level.

He stressed personal contact with the voter, followed by phone and mail campaigns—a strategy used today.  A September clip from the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that Bennett emphasized the need for permanency in the organization, that club activities should not be confined only to election years, but should function year around.

Bennett’s words and Annand’s reactivation note suggest that DWC was active in previous campaigns.  I haven’t yet discovered the precise moment of inception, but suspect that Democratic women were holding meetings in Santa Cruz County seasonally for some time.  I read with interest that Annie, as Mrs. S.K., also was a member of the State Democratic Central Committee.

Undoubtedly she was informed and ready for action.  The meeting in her garden included signups for telephone and transportation committees, announcement of a Mrs. Edith Hayes’s appointment as vice-chairman of the women’s group of the Democratic County Central Committee, and plans for the next DWC meeting at Zanze’s Rocky Falls Restaurant on the Los Gatos Highway.  The club offered to provide transportation for those who needed it, and luncheon, by RSVP, was $1.25.

The speaker at Zanze’s was Clara Shirpser whose talk was “The Woman’s Role in Politics in a Changing World.”  Shirpser was a delegate from California to the Democratic National Party convention in Chicago, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, on the Central Committee of Alameda County, business woman, former president of the League of Women Voters, wife, mother, grandma, and, in 1950, the Democratic candidate who challenged the Republican stronghold in the state’s 18th Assembly District.  Although she didn’t win the assembly seat, she won more votes than any other Democratic challenger ever had.  As DNC Chairwoman for California,  Shirpser helped create and develop the Democratic club movement  as a force in the California Democratic Party. In Santa Cruz she asked Democratic women “to bring to the political scene their house cleaning talents with an effective vote.”

Thanks to Annie Annand and her garden of politically conscious women, DWC came into full bloom.