In 1944, a group of young women residing in Richmond, Virginia who had been high school and college friends formed a club. The Founders of the Richmond club were: Mary Hewlett Brown, Elsie Taylor Brown, Thelma Johnson Hall, Ruby Ellis Mitchell, Eddie Nicholson Patrick. These young women selected the name Epicurean with the meaning of “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry”. This name was suggested by Thelma Johnson Hall.
Through the years, the group changed as its members moved to various parts of the country. In order to keep old friendships alive and make new friends, it was suggested by Bernice Davis Winston and agreed upon by the group that a National organization be formed. On March 28, 1951, the Richmond Epicureans applied for a charter and became National Epicureans, Inc., the charter was issued by the State of Virginia on February 13, 1952. The purpose of this organization is to promote the social, cultural, literary, civic, moral, and benevolent interest and welfare of its members.
The founders and charter members of the National Epicureans were: Helen Sampson Brooks, Elsie Taylor Brown, Florence Perkins Dagner, Thelma Gilliam Fields, Ellalee Fountain Flowers, Ollie B. Gee, Thelma Johnson Hall, Ruby Ellis Mitchell, Eddie Nicholson Patrick, Grace Blackwell Perkins, Gwendolyn Dawson Robbins, Thelma Mealy Robinson, Bernice Davis Winston, Alberta Howell Tyson. Richmond was host to the first National Conclave which was held on June 1952. The following chapters were represented at the first conclave: Richmond, Danville, Washington, Portsmouth.