Republican women's clubs began many years before women even had the right to vote. Inspired by the Republican Platform of 1872, which said:

"The Republican Party is mindful of its obligation to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the cause of Freedom ...,"

The oldest womens’ political club on record was founded in Salt Lake City in the late 1800s. Hundreds of independent Republican women’s clubs grew up around the nation in the years to come.

In 1938 Marion Martin, assistant chairman of the Republican National Committee, called a meeting at the Palmer House in Chicago to organize these clubs into a national organization.

States in which Republican women’s clubs were organized on a “statewide” basis sent delegates and alternates to that meeting with a request to affiliate with such an organization. The delegates adopted rules governing the establishment of a National Federation of Republican Women’s Clubs, with the following purposes:

"to foster and encourage loyalty to the Republican Party and the ideals for which it stands - to promote education along political lines - to encourage closer cooperation between independent groups and the regular party organization, which are working for the same objectives, namely sound government - to promote an interchange of ideas and experiences of various clubs to the end that the policies which have proven particularly effective in one state may be adopted in another - and to encourage a national attitude and national approach to the problems facing the Republican Party."

At the age of 31, Joyce Arneill of Denver, Colo., was elected the first president of the Federation,and the organization began to grow. The National Federation of Republican Women grew in size and strength, providing a vehicle for women concerned with the direction of our government. In 1940, the NFRW reported that, “Since the founding of the Federation, there has been a steady and consistent progress” and by September 1, 1943, 23 statewide federations held membership in the national organization, along with 98 individual clubs from 16 states. In January 1953, the organization's name was changed to the National Federation of Republican Women.

Today, the NFRW – once an auxiliary of the Republican National Committee – is financially and organizationally independent. It is one of the largest grassroots political organizations in the country with thousands of active members in local clubs across the nation.The goals of those women who met in Chicago in 1938 continue to be the goals of the NFRW – to encourage women’s participation in the governing of our nation, to elect Republicans to office at all levels, and to promote public awareness of the issues that shape America.

Biennial national conventions have been held in cities across the nation, with U.S. presidents and vice presidents, first ladies, cabinet members, legislators, party leaders, political experts, and celebrities attending. Presidential candidates never miss these meetings. They know that many of those attending will be delegates to the Republican National Convention or will be instrumental in the delegate selection process. They know that these women are the GOP’s grassroots activists.

Millions of American women, ages 19 to 90, have helped shape our nation through wartime and peace, through depression and prosperity, through good times and bad – all through the National Federation of Republican Women.