Ladies Aid Societies had their roots in the Civil War era. Women formed these organizations to provide help to soldiers and the poor. Their members raised money, sewed quilts, and provided sanitary supplies to soldiers. A side benefit for the women involved is that they developed organizational skills, learning how to manage financial accounts and run meetings.
African American women formed separate Ladies Aid Societies, as they were often not allowed to join societies run by white women. These women belonged to a WWI-era society at Pilgrim Baptist Church, one of the oldest black churches in St. Paul.