A ladies luncheon at Delmonico’s in 1902; photo via MCNY
Nearly five decades before women were granted the right to vote in New York State, a group of fed-up ladies decided to protest a symbolic law that prohibited them from dining in restaurants without men present. After journalist Jane Cunningham Croly was barred from entering a dinner held at the New York Press Club, she and a group of women founded Sorosis, the first professional women’s club in the United States. On April 20, 1868, Croly and her crew held a luncheon at the historic Delmonico’s Restaurant in the Financial District, which became the first to serve women independently of men. Following the groundbreaking meal, clubs for only women formed all over the country.