Our History

SISM was founded in October 1925, by business women in the community who wanted to improve the lives of women in girls in their community and worldwide. Throughout the decades, a variety of programs and initiatives have provided support and hope to hundreds of women. Our founders include many amazing women. Two of our early members include:

Bertha Knight Landes, the second federation president, became one of Seattle’s first two councilwomen in 1922, served two terms and was inaugurated mayor of Seattle in 1926. In one of her moments in the spotlight as mayor, she welcomed Charles Lindbergh to Sand Point Air Field on September 14, 1927. She served as president of the Seattle Soroptimist Club from 1930-1934. Bertha Knight Landes passed away in 1944.

Ella S. McBride was the President of the Seattle Soroptimist Club in 1938. She was an avid mountain climber and visited Mount Rainier with a group of climbers including the photographers, Ashel and Edward Curtis. During this trip, Edward encouraged her to move to Seattle to run his photography studio.  Always up for an adventure, Ella left her first successful career as principal of Ainsworth School in Portland, Oregon in 1907 and came to Seattle to be Edward Curtis’s business manager. After several years working for Edward S. Curtis’s Studio, she started her own portrait studio in downtown Seattle. Her work has been exhibited around the world and her portrait subjects included famous and not so famous. In the 1950s, she photographed members of the Soroptimist Seattle Club.

For more information about Soroptimist clubs regionally and nationally, please refer to the websites below:

Soroptimist International Northwest Region – Washington, Oregon, Montana, Alaska, Northern Idaho.  Soroptimist of the Americas – headquarters (Philadelphia, PA)

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