102-year-old UW-Madison organization sews seeds of support, sisterhood

You can find all-women organizations on UW-Madison’s campus. Sororities come to mind, but there’s one organization that’s been around since 1917. It’s called Daughters of Demeter, and it’s the only organization left on campus that is associated with a college. In this case, it’s the College of Agriculture and Life Science. Up until recently, it has only allowed women, but now, anyone is welcome.

Originally in 1917, it was a quilting group that would also raise money for scholarships and grants. The ladies would get together in the afternoons and quilt, and for many years they’d donate quilts to the Red Cross. Around 1976, the Daughters were approached by UW Hospital to make small gowns for the children at the hospital. That was their first project. After sewing for a variety of places, they’ve focused on producing caps and scarves for cancer patients at UW Hospital.

The organization is 115 members strong, and about a quarter of them gather once a month, with their sewing machines, to create 100 pieces. They haven’t missed their goal yet.

But these Daughters are more than their caps and scarves, they’re true sisters who not only share history but also their highs and lows in life.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.