This book is an interwoven history of The Woman’s Club of Norfolk, its clubhouse called the Martin Mansion, the city of Norfolk, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, and America, along with the author’s fifty-year narration. History with heart.

NORFOLK, VA, May 02, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — This self-published narrative nonfiction was launched on November 11, 2023, at The Woman’s Club with over a hundred people in attendance. In her compelling book, “Tea and Toil at The Woman’s Club,” Bainy Cyrus shares an interwoven history of the Martin Mansion belonging to the Woman’s Club of Norfolk. A native of this Virginian coastal city, Ms. Cyrus also shares her personal experiences spanning fifty years in that mansion as well as the 135-year history of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. This book recently won the 2024 Literary Titan Gold Award in Nonfiction.

Ms. Cyrus is the author of several respected works, including the award-winning “All Eyes, A Memoir of Deafness.” Her writing has been praised for its honesty, authenticity, and ability to connect with readers on a deeply personal level. A firm believer in truth and humor, Ms. Cyrus has had the experience of selling to the public as a former landscape designer, a deaf memoirist, a job coach, and a history buff. The last description resonates with her latest book, “Tea and Toil at The Woman’s Club,” since it is filled with historical excerpts mostly on a chronological basis. It also identifies interesting human beings revolving around the Martin Mansion dating back to 1910 when this house was built.

After collecting hundreds of newspaper articles for research dating back to 1900, Ms. Cyrus realized that the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), once boasting of 12,000,000 members and 16,500 clubs worldwide in the 1950s, deserved recognition for their hard work in making the world a better place since 1890. It even raised enough funding to buy 431 warplanes for the US Military during WWII. The Woman’s Club of Norfolk, founded in 1905, is affiliated with this umbrella organization; therefore, the Martin Mansion, owned by the club since 1925, is linked to the rich interwoven history of GFWC as well as the city of Norfolk and even America. It’s all in the book of 380 pages with photos.

Review from IndieReader: Tea & Toil at The Woman’s Club is a lively, richly detailed book combining memoir and tangled histories: that of the Martin Mansion and the family that built it, the 100-year-old Woman’s Club of Norfolk and the fight to preserve the decaying mansion that housed it; and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, founded in 1890 by journalist Jane Cunningham Croly, when she was refused a ticket to an all-male dinner honoring Charles Dickens. Ms. Cyrus, whose personal history is entwined with the club, shares detailed anecdotes bringing to life the determined, resourceful women committed to social, political, and economic change. A history with heart, Tea and Toil points out how what’s often dismissed as “women’s work” is the bedrock for the community.

“Tea and Toil at The Woman’s Club” is now available for purchase online and in select bookstores. For more information about the author and her work, please visit or contact

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