Constance Fauntleroy Runcie was the founder of the first women's social club east of the Mississippi, The Minerva Society in New Harmony, Indiana (1859). She later founded the oldest existing women's club today, the Runcie Club, located in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mrs. Runcie was president of the Runcie Club from its inception in 1894 until her death in 1911. Her work with women's clubs was recognized nationally when she was elected an honorary Vice-President of the General Federation of Women's Clubs in the United States in 1904.
Constance Fauntleroy was the granddaughter of Utopian socialist and philanthropist, Robert Owen. He founded the utopian society of New Harmony, Indiana in 1826.
Constance Fauntleroy married James Runcie, an Episcopal minister, in 1862. The couple moved to St. Joseph, MO, in 1871, when Dr. Runcie became the minister at Christ Episcopal Church. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. The manuscripts of their daughter Ellinor Dale Runcie are a separate collection in Missouri Digital Heritage.
The Runcie Club was founded in 1894 and included the most prominent women in St. Joseph society. Meetings focused on topical issues or pieces of literature. Mrs. Runcie used her club to expand young women's minds in the fields of art, literature, music and world events.
Constance Fauntleroy Runcie died at the age of 75 on May 17, 1911. She was buried next to her husband in Mt. Mora Cemetery, St. Joseph, MO.
Constance Fauntleroy Runcie's collection of letters, short stories, essays, artwork, music and Runcie Club materials was donated to the Missouri Western State University Library as a result of the Women Writers Along the River Project, an effort to locate and compile the writings of women in Northwest Missouri and Northeast Kansas from 1850-1950.
Significant works in this collection include:
, the record of Constance's spiritual journey;
Woman, an Essay
, a narrative on women's subjection to men throughout history and their break for freedom in the early twentieth century;
The Bab, an unpublished novel about the life of the Bab, a religious figure and Persia's celebrated poetess Zerryn Taj.
Runcie Club materials in the collection include yearbooks and meeting minutes.
Rights and Reproductions
Any use of the images found in this collection should credit "The Women's Writers Along the River Collection Missouri Western State University Library, St. Joseph, MO and Missouri State Digital Heritage: Constance Fauntleroy Runcie Collection"
Questions: Please contact Julia Schneider (firstname.lastname@example.org
) or Terry Weaver (email@example.com
). Library staff may also be contacted at 816-271-4360.
Jane Frick, Women Writers Along the River, 1850-1950 An Annotated Bibliography (St. Joseph, MO: Missouri Western State College, 1982). MWSU Library: PS147 .W872 1982.
Janice Ilene Brandon-Falcone, "Bibliography as Prism: The Life of C.F. Runcie," diss., Saint Louis University, 1990. MWSU Library; PS2736 .R55 Z6 1990.
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