History of En Ka

Originally established in 1902 as a Winchester High School sorority, the En Ka Society has thrived as a women’s volunteer service organization for over 100 years. En Ka was organized by six Winchester High School girls who wanted to have a club similar to one that the boys had formed.  With the help of their German teacher, they chose “Nachmachen den Knaben”, "to imitate the boys," as their motto.  The first letters of these words, N K, were later expanded to En Ka. They soon changed their motto to “Nachleben die klösterlichen Genossenschaft,” “to live up to the sisterhood.”  The daisy was selected as the Society’s flower.

During the first decades, members of the organization began their campaign of good works by sewing for the Visiting Nurses, preparing surgical dressings for the Red Cross, and sending toys to children in war-stricken Europe.  In 1916, a Hospital Fund was established to furnish a room in Winchester’s new hospital. 

In the 1920’s, when the Winchester School Board voted to prohibit members of secret societies from participating in high school activities, the En Ka Society briefly disbanded.  En Ka held it’s last meeting on January 3, 1928.  However, on May 18, 1932, 85 past members held a reunion banquet and voted to reorganize En Ka as an adult women’s group to aid all Winchester charities.  The current organization structure and mission closely resemble this 1930’s model for voluntarism.  En Ka Society’s sole objective remains “to supply and aid, through volunteer services, the raising and contributing of funds, supplies, services and equipment to organizations located in or serving the people of Winchester, which are charitable in nature.”

En Ka’s first Street Fair was held behind Winchester Town Hall in 1935.  The What Not Shop started in 1944 and its successor, the En Ka Exchange, opened in 1958.  The Fair and the Exchange were, and still are, primary sources of income to provide services and gifts to the community.




En Ka Society   |  
1037 Main Street, Winchester, MA 01890   |  781.729.6146   |  © En Ka Society 2017
Thank you to the Winchester Winchester Archival Center for many of the older photos.

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