The Jacoby Club of Boston began in 1908 as part of the Emmanuel Movement associated with Dr. Elwood Worcester of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Newbury Street in Boston. Along with his church duties, Worcester practiced a method of spiritual healing of a variety of neurotic disorders. Worcester felt that alcoholics could be helped by redirecting their attention away from their problems to a life of service and spirituality. Prayer, group support and self-help were important components of this treatment. Ernest Jacoby, a Boston businessman born in England, began working with alcoholics at Emmanuel Church in 1908. Jacoby gathered around him group leaders who included men who were themselves alcoholics.
The Jacoby Club split with the Emmanuel movement in 1913 and set up its own clubhouse. Its motto was, "A club for men to help themselves by helping others." There were no membership dues and the only requirement for membership was "an expressed desire to lead an honorable life and a willingness to aid other men less fortunate."
The Jacoby Club provided social services to alcoholics and indigent older men. Its Saturday night meetings included food, entertainment and lectures on topics of current interest. Ernest Jacoby died in 1934. In 1941 the Jacoby Club moved part of its services to the Ellis Memorial Center on Chandler Street in Boston. The alcoholic programs continued in the Jacoby Club rooms as meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1987 the Jacoby Club terminated its programs and turned its funds over to the Boston Foundation, an organization that continues to support the same type of services offered by the Club.
McCarthy, K. "Early Alcoholism Treatment: The Emmanuel Movement and Richard Peabody." Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 45, No. 1, 1984.
The Boston "Anti-Suicide Club" Has Its Twenty-Fifth Birthday," The Boston Transcript, 20 April 1935.
The collection is housed in 4 cartons. It includes the records of the Jacoby Club from 1926 to 1989, including by-laws, minutes of meetings, and yearly business records of the Club; subject files including correspondence and pamphlets on the Emmanuel Movement and Alcoholics Anonymous; financial records; and printed items by or about the Jacoby Club. The collection also includes items that belonged to Ernest Jacoby, dated 1917, and a scrapbook of clippings and invitations, 1908-1954.
The Jacoby Club records contain information on the activities of an early self-help group for alcoholics. Because of the Jacoby Club's desire for little publicity it is less well-known than the earlier (1840's) Washingtonian Movement or the present Alcoholics Anonymous programs of "alcoholics helping alcoholics."
Gift of Ernest Jacoby (the son of the founder), 1984, with later additions, including the 1990 gift of club by-laws, minutes, and state financial reports.
The Jacoby Club records are stored offsite and must be requested at least one business day in advance. Contact the Library at email@example.com or (617) 536-1608 to request materials. Please discuss your request with the reading room staff before requesting cartons by barcode.
There are restrictions on the use of this collection. Users must sign an agreement stating that they understand these restrictions before they will be given access to the collection.
The Jacoby Club records contain correspondence and other materials created by individuals who had no voice in the disposition of the collection. The Massachusetts Historical Society does not claim ownership to the literary rights (copyright) of letters and manuscripts written by individuals in this collection. The Massachusetts Historical Society cannot give permission to publish or quote from documents by individuals for whom it does not hold copyright. Use of these materials does not imply permission to publish. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to obtain formal permission from the owners of the literary rights (copyright) to publish or quote from documents in this collection.
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Jacoby Club records, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
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