In 1901, Mary Harriman, a 19-year old New York City debutante with a social conscience, formed the Junior League for the Promotion of Settlement Movements. Harriman mobilized a group of 80 other young women, hence the name "Junior" League, to work to improve child health, nutrition and literacy among young immigrants living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. These families were mired in poverty and had few support systems. With community needs abundant and many women sharing a commitment to improving conditions, the volunteer movement spread quickly to other cities across North America. In 1934, the Junior League of Hamilton (now the Junior League of Hamilton-Burlington, Inc.) was formed, joining what had by then become a very dynamic and effective international woman's volunteer movement.
Interestingly, although Junior League members give the gift of time and service to their community, they find that membership in the Junior League is a wonderful gift to themselves. Right from the beginning, the difference in this organization has been its emphasis on learning and developing the women who have joined their ranks. Here in our own community, The Junior League has been at the forefront of community improvements while simultaneously providing its members with high quality educational opportunities in leadership, community impact and voluntarism.