"The only formal contact Sorosis [a women's literary club in New York] had with men concerned the New York Press Club's apology over the Dickens affair. On 13 June 1868 the men invited Sorosis's members to a breakfast. Although they meant well, the men never let their guests utter a word during all the speeches and toasts. The women responded in kind at a tea for the men on 17 April 1869. Sorosis members took over the proceedings and allowed the men no participation in the occasion. Finally, a dinner was held by the two groups. Croly boasted that it was the first great public dinner at which women ever sat down on equal terms with men, paying their own way and sharing the honors and services. One newspaper remarked, with surprise, that 'the fair speakers were not a bit embarrassed'."
From The Clubwoman as Feminist: True Womanhood Redefined, 1868-1914, K.J. Blair, Holmes & Meier, New York, 1980.
This is the product of a "misspent" (well my wallet thought so) weekend in the London second-hand bookshops. (This was only £3; how could I resist?)