Our History

Explore The Chronological History of The Junior League

In 1901, Mary Harriman, a 19-year-old New York City debutante with a social conscience, founded the first Junior League. Moved by the suffering she saw around her, Harriman mobilized a group of 80 other young women – hence the name “Junior” League – to work to improve the squalid conditions in which immigrants were living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Mary Harriman’s vision for improving communities by using the energy and commitment of trained volunteers caught on. The second Junior League was started in Boston, MA in 1907 and was soon followed by the founding of the Brooklyn, NY Junior League in 1910. The rest is history…

The Junior League of Lancaster (JLL) was founded in 1923. On November 13th, the YWCA was the scene of the first meeting of the future JLL with fifty-five young women in attendance. Laura Watt, temporary chairman, was elected president.

Since the founding of the League in 1923, we have been a strictly volunteer, non-profit organization committed to developing the leadership potential of women to serve in improving the Lancaster community.

To learn more about our expansive history, click here to read an article published by Franklin & Marshall College about the digital preservation of our historical records.

For more information about our parent organization, The Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI), please click here.