What infernal den of iniquity is this? Who are these appalling young ladies — smoking, gambling, carousing and, in general, ‘carrying on’? They are none other than that dreaded group of reprobates: the Young Women’s Republican Club of Milford, Connecticut.
The event you are witnessing occurred, slightly surprisingly, on a Tuesday night, May 20, 1941. It was held as a women-only version of the traditionally masculine evening, the “smoker.” On this occasion, attendees could enjoy a striptease, games of poker, musical performances and — in LIFE magazine’s words — “other masculine enjoyments.”
Oh, and also vast amounts of tobacco. The voluminous blue smoke clouds were the product of 20 cartons of cigarettes, 48 pipe-bowls of tobacco, and 30 cigars. Hard core.
Why it was held, we don’t know. Presumably, once the costs of nicotine had been accounted for, it was a fundraiser. According to LIFE, the Republican menfolk of Milford were “flabbergasted,” and most took themselves off to the Democrat club for the night.