COLLECTION GUIDES

1864-1995; bulk: 1885-1965

Guide to the Collection

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Saturday Club records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or reference@masshist.org.


Collection Summary

Abstract

This collection contains the records of the Saturday Club, a Boston social and literary organization, including correspondence, membership records, financial records, drafts and research for the club's published books of biographical sketches, and printed material.

Historical Sketch

The Saturday Club was informally founded in Boston in 1855 on the initiative of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Gray Ward, and Horatio Woodman. Other notable founders and early members included Louis Agassiz, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The club met for dinner and conversation at 3:00 pm on the last Saturday of every month at the Parker House. The club gradually became more formalized until it incorporated in 1886, for the purpose of "having conversation and discussion upon historical, literary, scientific, and artistic subjects." The monthly meal was changed to a 1:30 pm lunch in 1898, and the club changed its primary meeting location to the Union Club in 1902. Besides conversation and club business such as the nomination of members, meetings could include occasional guests, lectures, readings, and polls on current events. The other major activity of the Saturday Club was the publication on a regular basis of books containing biographical sketches of deceased members, detailing their lives and their involvement in the Saturday Club. The first published book, Early Years of the Saturday Club, 1855-1870, was written by Edward Waldo Emerson. In succession are: Later Years of the Saturday Club, 1870-1920, edited by M.A. de Wolfe Howe; Saturday Club: A Century Completed, edited by Edward W. Forbes and John H. Finley, Jr.; The Saturday Club, 1957-1986, edited by Thomas B. Adams and Paul Brooks; and Saturday Club: the 150-Year Milestone, 1986-2006, edited by James Engell and Michael Sinagel. The Saturday Club continues to this day.

Collection Description

The Saturday Club records date from 1864 to 1995, with the bulk dating from 1885 to 1965, and are divided into three series: administrative records, publication drafts and research, and printed material.

The administrative records include correspondence, meeting and membership records, legal records pertaining to the club's incorporation, and financial records. Correspondence relates to the administration and activities of the club including discussion of meetings, nominations of members, club finances, and publication of the club's books. Primary correspondents are club secretaries, presidents, and book editors, including Charles E. Norton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Edward Waldo Forbes, Edward Waldo Emerson, Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe, Charles W. Eliot, Bliss Perry, and John H. Finley, Jr. Meeting and membership records consist of bound record books, meeting minutes and attendance records, members' signature and portrait records, attendance cards, and lists of members. Financial records include account books, financial reports and statements, banking records, securities records, bills and receipts, and royalty statements from Houghton Mifflin for the club's books.

Publication drafts and research include biographical material about members that was gathered for publication of the club's books. Biographical research material ranges from newspaper clippings and excerpts from correspondence to notes, memos, and drafts related to the books' production and their introductory chapters.

Printed material includes annual members' pamphlets, members' memoirs, book reviews, membership charts, Bliss Perry's Recollections of the Saturday Club (1942), and miscellaneous printed materials.

Acquisition Information

1864-1927 records deposited by Mark A. DeWolfe Howe, 1929

1927-1965 records deposited by Thomas Boylston Adams and Elliot Forbes, various dates.

1965-1995 records deposited by the Saturday Club, July 2009.

Restrictions on Access

The bulk of the Saturday Club records are stored offsite and must be requested at least two business days in advance via Portal1791. Researchers needing more than six items from offsite storage should provide additional advance notice. If you have questions about requesting materials from offsite storage, please contact the reference desk at 617-646-0532 or reference@masshist.org.

Detailed Description of the Collection

I. Administrative records, 1864-1965

This series includes correspondence; meeting minutes, attendance, and other membership records; legal records; and financial records. The correspondence concerns administration and activities of the club, such as meetings, new members, elections, finances, and book production. . Prominent correspondents include Charles E. Norton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Edward Waldo Forbes, Edward Waldo Emerson, Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe, Charles W. Eliot, Bliss Perry, and John H. Finley, Jr. Membership records include bound record books, attendance cards, and lists of members. Meeting minutes include committee reports, and describe such activities as nomination of members, votes, and discussions. Legal records are primarily records of the club's incorporation. Financial records include an account book, treasurer's annual reports and statements on expenditures and income, banking records, bills and receipts, and royalty statements from Houghton Mifflin and Company.

A. Correspondence, 1885-1963

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains correspondence related to the administration and activities of the Saturday Club. Correspondence throughout the subseries concerns attendance at meetings, nominating new members, acceptance of membership, and election of officers.

From 1870 to 1890, Charles E. Norton, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Richard Henry Dana, Jr. were central correspondents in their roles as club administrators. Other early correspondents include Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Dean Howells, John A. Andrew, Phillips Brooks, George F. Hoar, and Charles Francis Adams. Topics of correspondence include club issues such as ensuring attendance and discussion, as well as current events.

Edward Waldo Forbes became secretary in 1910, and was a major correspondent from that point until his resignation in 1961. Much correspondence concerns his project to collect autographs of club members who had not signed the second Saturday Club record book, as well as portraits of all club members. Other frequent topics from 1910 to 1961 include member resignations, bylaws, club meeting agendas, and luncheon arrangements. Another major topic is the club's finances, such as trusts, donations received and given, and securities. Correspondents include the Cambridge Trust Company, J.M. Forbes and Co., and members of the club's Financial Committee such as Edward W. Forbes's brother Cameron Forbes.

Correspondence related to the Saturday Club's books includes discussion of production and finances with publisher Houghton Mifflin, assignment of biographical sketches to club members by Saturday Club editors and presidents, and thank-you notes from recipients of the books. Writing The Early Years of the Saturday Club was proposed in 1906, and from 1916 to 1919 correspondence centered on its production and reception, with editor Edward Waldo Emerson a major correspondent. Planning for The Later Years of the Saturday Club then began, and correspondence focused on it from 1926 to 1928, with editor Mark Anthony DeWolfe Howe and club presidents Charles W. Eliot and Bliss Perry major correspondents. Correspondence related to preliminary preparation for The Saturday Club: A Century Completed dates from 1948 and 1950, while that related to its production dates from 1955 to 1958, primarily with editors Edward Waldo Forbes and John H. Finley, Jr.

Box 1SH 1AJC
1885-September 1926
Box 2SH 1AJD
October 1926-1934
Box 3SH 1AJE
1935-1947
Box 4SH 1AJF
1948-1963

B. Meeting minutes, attendance, and membership records, 1864-1963

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

This subseries contains Saturday Club record books, minutes and attendance records, and lists of members. The Saturday Club record books consist of two bound volumes with typescript copies. The first record book contains attendance records by meeting, notes on the adoption of club rules, and lists of people nominated and chosen for membership. The second record book includes the 1886 records of incorporation, charter, bylaws, club election reports, and summaries of meetings from 1886 to 1925. Also present are attendance cards mailed to the Union Club by members to indicate that they would be present at the next luncheon. Membership records include lists of members and material from Edward Waldo Forbes's project to collect portraits of all club members, as well as autographs of club members who had not signed the second Saturday Club record book.

i. Saturday Club record books, 1875-1925

Box 5SH 1AJGFolder 1
Volume 1, 1875-1887
Box 5SH 1AJGFolders 2-3
Volume 1 typescript, 1875-1887
Box 14SH 1AJQ
Volume 2, 1886-1925
Box 5SH 1AJGFolders 4-9
Volume 2 typescript, 1886-1913

ii. Loose records, 1910-1959

Box 5SH 1AJGFolders 10-36
1910-1950
Box 6SH 1AJHFolders 1-10
1951-1959

iii. Members' signatures and portraits records, 1910-1959

Box 6SH 1AJHFolders 10a-10b

iv. Attendance cards, 1918-1947

Box 6SH 1AJHFolders 11-24

v. Membership lists, 1864-1963

Box 6SH 1AJHFolder 25

C. Legal records, 1885-1927

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries consists of incorporation papers including the 1886 agreement of association and notice of first meeting, along with the 1927 publishing agreement with Houghton-Mifflin for The Later Years of the Saturday Club.

Box 6SH 1AJHFolder 26

D. Financial records, 1889-1965

Arranged chronologically and by record type.

This subseries contains an account book, financial reports and statements, banking records, securities records, bills and receipts, and royalty statements. The account book was kept from 1889-1912 by Oliver Wendell Holmes and club treasurers W.W. Goodwin and Edward W. Forbes. The financial reports and statements include treasurer's annual reports and statements by W.W. Goodwin, Edward W. Forbes, and William H. Claflin. Securities records contain Edward W. Forbes' records of shares and bonds, including stock receipts and letters to stockholders. Starting in 1930, J.M. Forbes and Co. handled the club's securities, and the securities records consist only of statements from them. The securities records also include a bound volume kept by Edward W. Forbes that shows security accounting by company. Bills and receipts are for routine club activities such as lunches.

i. Account book, 1889-1912

Box 6SH 1AJHFolder 27

ii. Financial reports and statements, 1909-1965

Box 6SH 1AJHFolder 28-32
1909-1931
Box 7SH 1AJIFolders 1-6
1932-1965

iii. Banking records, 1901-1930

Box 7SH 1AJIFolders 7-19

iv. Securities records, 1918-1961

Box 7SH 1AJIFolders 20-28
1918-1935
Box 8SH 1AJJFolders 1-24
1936-1961

v. Bills and receipts, 1921-1946

Box 8SH 1AJJFolders 25-28

vi. Royalty statements, 1922-1959

Box 8SH 1AJJFolders 29-31

II. Publication drafts and research, 1906-1963

This series consists of notes, memos, drafts, and research for the biographical sketches in the club's books Early Years of the Saturday Club, Later Years of the Saturday Club, The Saturday Club: A Century Completed, The Saturday Club: 1957-1986, and The Saturday Club: The 150-Year Milestone. The drafts are typed or handwritten and contain edits.

A. Early Years of the Saturday Club, 1906-1918

This subseries includes general notes and memos on producing Early Years of the Saturday Club, as well as drafts and research for introductory chapters, chapters on individual years in the club's history, and biographical sketches of members.

Notable biographical subjects in this subseries include Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Charles Francis Adams, and John Greenleaf Whittier.

i. Notes and memos, ca. 1906-1918

Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 1

ii. Chapter drafts, 1906-1918

Arranged chronologically.

Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 2-8

iii. Biographical drafts and research, 1906-1918

Arranged alphabetically.

Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 9
Adams, Charles Francis
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 10
Appleton, Nathaniel
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 11
Andrew, John A.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 12-16
Brimmer, Martin
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 17
Brownell, Henry H.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 18
Cabot, James Elliot
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 19-20
Dana, Richard Henry, Jr.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 21
Dwight, John S.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 22-23
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 24
Felton, Cornelius
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 25
Fields, James T.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 26-27
Forbes, John Murray
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 28
Gurney, Ephraim W.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 29
Hedge, Frederick H.
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 30-31
Hoar, Ebenezer Rockwood
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 32
Holmes, John
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 33-35
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
Box 9SH 1AJKFolders 36-37
Howe, Samuel Gridley
Box 9SH 1AJKFolder 38
Hunt, William Morris
Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 1-2
James, Henry
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 3
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 4-5
Lowell, James Russell
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 6
Motley, John L.
Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 7-9
Norton, Charles Eliot
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 10
Peirce, Benjamin
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 11
Sumner, Charles
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 12
Ward, Samuel Gray
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 13
Whipple, Edwin P.
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 14
Whittier, John Greenleaf
Box 10SH 1AJLFolder 15
Wyman, Jeffries

B. Later Years of the Saturday Club, 1921-1927

This subseries consists of notes and memos from production of Later Years of the Saturday Club, and drafts and research for book chapters, including biographical sketches of club members.

Notable biographical subjects in this subseries include Charles Francis Adams, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Richard Henry Dana, Sr., Charles W. Eliot, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Jr., William James, and Francis Cabot Lowell.

i. Notes and memos, ca. 1921-1927

Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 16-18

ii. Chapter drafts, ca. 1921-1927

Arranged chronologically.

Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 19-21
Published chapter drafts
Box 10SH 1AJLFolders 22-30
Unpublished chapter drafts
Box 11SH 1AJMFolders 1-9
Unpublished chapter drafts

iii. Biographical drafts and research, ca. 1921-1927

Arranged alphabetically.

Box 11SH 1AJMFolders 10-11
Adams, Charles Francis II
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 12
Agassiz, Alexander
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 13
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 14
Amory, William
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 15
Bowditch, Henry P.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolders 16-17
Brooks, Phillips
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 18
Clarke, James Freeman
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 19
Codman, Charles Russell
Box 11SH 1AJMFolders 20-21
Dana, Richard Henry Sr.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 22
Eliot, Charles W.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 23
Endicott, William Jr.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 24
Everett, William
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 25
Field, Walbridge A.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 26
Fiske, John
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 27
Gibbs, Oliver Wolcott
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 28-29
Godkin, Edwin L.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 30
Goodwin, William W.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 31
Gray, Asa
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 32
Gray, Horace
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 33
Gray, John Chipman
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 34
Higginson, Henry Lee
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 35
Hoar, George Frisbee
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 36
Hoar, Samuel
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 37
Hooper, Edward W.
Box 11SH 1AJMFolder 38
Howells, William Dean
Box 12SH 1AJNFolders 1-2
James, Henry Jr.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolders 3-4
James, William
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 5
Lowell, Francis Cabot
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 6
Lowell, John
Box 12SH 1AJNFolders 7-8
Lyman, Theodore
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 9
McCall, Samuel W.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 10
Maclaurin, Richard C.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 11
Olmstead, Frederick Law
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 12
Parkman, Francis
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 13
Peabody, Robert S.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 14
Perkins, Charles C.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 15
Perkins, Edward N.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 16
Pickering, Edward C.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 17
Quincy, Edmund
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 18
Richardson, Henry H.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 19
Sampson, William T.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 20
Sargent, John Singer
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 21-22
Story, William W.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 23
Thayer, William R.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 24-25
Walker, Francis A.

C. The Saturday Club: A Century Completed, 1941-1958

This subseries consists of notes and memos from production of The Saturday Club: A Century Completed, and drafts and research for biographical sketches of club members. Notes and memos include assignments of authors to biographical sketches, a book review of the completed book, suggested chapter mottoes, and Bliss Perry's 1942 notecards on the progress of research for the book.

Notable biographical subjects in this subseries include William C. Endicott, Edward Waldo Emerson, and Alfred North Whitehead.

i. Notes and memos, ca. 1941-1958

Box 12SH 1AJNFolders 26-28

ii. Biographical drafts and research, ca. 1941-1958

Arranged alphabetically.

Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 29
Cushing, Harvey
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 30
Edgell, George Harold
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 31
Emerson, Edward Waldo
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 32
Endicott, William C.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 33
Haskins, Charles Homer
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 34
Grant, Robert
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 35
Loring, William Caleb
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 36
Lowes, John L.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 37
Lyman, Theodore
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 38
Maginnis, Charles Donagh
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 39
Moreland, Edward L.
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 40
Walcott, Henry Pickering
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 41
Warren, Bentley Wirt
Box 12SH 1AJNFolder 42
Whitehead, Alfred North

D. The Saturday Club: 1957-1986, 1960-1963

This subseries contains lists of members for whom biographical sketches were to be written, Edward W. Forbes's writings on the history of the club, newspaper obituaries of Robert Frost, and biographical research materials on Edward Motley Pickman.

i. Notes and memos, ca. 1960-1963

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 1

ii. Drafts and research, 1960-1963

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 3
Frost, Robert
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 4
Pickman, Edward Motley
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 5
Miscellaneous members

E. The Saturday Club: 150-Year Milestone research, 1957-1963

This subseries contains newspaper clippings on James R. Killian and biographical research and drafts on various other members.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolders 6-7

F. Publication memoranda, 1906-1963

This subseries includes notes from the publication of the club's books, lists of possible biographical sources, suggested mottoes, and research material on unidentified biographical subjects.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 8

III. Printed material, 1896-1995

A. Annual members' pamphlets, 1896-1955

Arranged chronologically.

Member pamphlets produced for annual meetings contain lists of club officers and present members with their addresses, recent club votes, the charter and bylaws, and lists of past members with their dates of death. Sometimes the lists have been used to keep track of tasks, such as finding portraits of all members.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolders 9-13

B. Members' memoirs, 1905-1928

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries contains printed memoirs of club members. Some of the memoirs are also authored by club members, such as Edward Waldo Emerson and Moorfield Storey. Some were printed for private circulation, and others were published in periodicals or by historical or professional societies.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 14
Woodward Hudson, Memoir of Samuel Hoar, 1905
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 15
Edward Waldo Emerson, Memoir of Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, 1907
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 16
Moorfield Storey, Charles Francis Adams, 1915
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 17
Robert S. Rantoul, William Endicott, 1915
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 18
Exercises in Sanders Theatre . . . Celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Richard Henry Dana, 1916
Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 19
Allen Winter Rowe, Theodore W. Richards: A Great American Chemist, 1928

C. Book reviews, 1918-1958

Arranged chronologically.

This subseries consists of book reviews of The Early Years of the Saturday Club and The Saturday Club: A Century Completed, from publications such as Harper's Monthly, The New York Times, The Boston Sunday Globe, and Newsweek. Also included is an advertising mock-up of The Later Years of the Saturday Club.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 20

D. Bliss Perry, Recollections of the Saturday Club, 1942

This subseries contains two printed copies of Bliss Perry's Recollections of the Saturday Club, written in 1942. Perry describes his memories of his interactions with the club and its members, atmosphere, discussions, and lunches over time.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 21

E. Membership charts, 1949-1995

Oversize Box
1949-1965
Mss. Large
1995

F. The Saturday Club: A Century Completed illustration mock-ups, ca. 1957

The subseries consists of illustration mockups for The Saturday Club: A Century Completed. The illustrations contain measurements, captions, and descriptions of where they will be placed in the book.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolder 22

G. Miscellaneous printed material, 1920-1960

Arranged chronologically.

Included are invitations; a program for Moorfield Storey's funeral service; addresses, including one by Moorfield Storey; a memoir of club member George Santayana by Joel Porte; articles, including one inscribed to Edward W. Forbes, obituaries; genealogical material; and material related to the Union Club of Boston.

Box 13SH 1AJPFolders 23-25

Photographs Removed from the Collection

The following photographs were removed from the collection to the MHS Photo. Archives:

8 x 10 black and white portrait of Edward W. Forbes, 1873-1969, autographed

6 x 8 black and white portrait of Ellery Sedgwick, 1872-1960, autographed.

6 1/2 x 9 1/2 black and white portrait of William Henry Claflin, Jr., b. 1893, autographed.

7 x 9 black and white portrait of William James, 1882-1961, autographed.

6 1/2 x 8 1/2 albumen portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Preferred Citation

Saturday Club records, Massachusetts Historical Society.

Access Terms

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.

Persons:

Dana, Richard Henry, 1815-1882.
Eliot, Charles William, 1834-1926.
Emerson, Edward Waldo, 1844-1930.
Finley, John Huston, 1904-
Forbes, Edward Waldo, 1873-1969.
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 1809-1894.
Howe, Mark De Wolfe, 1906-1967
Norton, Charles Eliot, 1827-1908.
Perry, Bliss, 1860-1954.

Subjects:

American literature--Societies, etc.
Biography--Collections.
Clubs--Massachusetts--Boston.
Men--Societies and clubs.
Science--Societies, etc.