Soroptimist Founding History
The roots of Soroptimist were actually, unknown to anyone at the time, and still seldom recalled, in Buffalo, NY in 1911. In that year the first Optimist Club was formed, a men's service club whose mission was to "Bring Out the Best in Kids". The first club was so successful that it was decided to promote the chartering of new clubs in other cities around the country. So, in 1921 an entrepreneur named Stuart Morrow visited the San Francisco Bay Area of California in search of leaders who might be enticed to charter either an Optimist or Rotary club, since he had interests in promoting both.
In Oakland, Mr. Morrow called on the Parker-Goddard Secretarial School. Presuming men ran the business, Morrow found to his surprise that the school was owned by Miss Mabel Parker and Mrs. Adelaide Goddard, and not by men at all. As Morrow explained his mistake and was about to leave, Mrs. Goddard remarked "When the men admit women as members of their service clubs, I would be interested". This remark sparked an idea for the entrepreneurial Mr. Morrow, and he got together several of the outstanding businesswomen in Oakland to pursue the idea of forming a service club for women.