Cosmopolitan Club (New York)

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122 East 66th

The Cosmopolitan Club is a private social club on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. Located at 122 East 66th Street, east of Park Avenue, it was founded as a women's club and remains a club exclusively for women to this day. Members have included Willa Cather, Ellen Glasgow, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jean Stafford, Helen Hayes, Pearl Buck, Marian Anderson, Margaret Mead, and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

History[edit]

In 1909, a club for governesses named itself the Cosmos Club and leased space in the Gibson building on East 33rd Street.[1] This group became, in 1910, the Women's Cosmopolitan Club, "organized," according to the New York Times, "for the benefit of New York women interested in the arts, sciences, education, literature, and philanthropy or in sympathy with those interested." [2] On March 22, 1911 the club was formally incorporated,[3] with Helen Gilman Brown as its president.[4] The other six founding members were Mrs. V. Everett Macy, Mrs. John Sherman Hoyt, Mrs. Albert Herter, Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., Mrs. E.R. Hewitt, and Mrs. Ellwood Hendrick.[5] Dues were twenty dollars a year.

Early joiners were novelists Willa Cather and Ellen Glasgow, violinist Kathleen Parlow, sculptor Anna Hyatt, dancer Adeline Genee, Grace Dodge, and Elizabeth Clift Bacon Custer, widow of General Custer. In 1913 club members put on "An Evening in a Persian Garden," with snake dancers and readings of Persian verse. The success of this fête led to an increase in membership; in 1914, the club moved to larger quarters uptown at 44th Street and Lexington Avenue, and the name was shortened to the Cosmopolitan Club.

By 1917, the Cosmopolitan Club had six hundred members, with another four hundred on its waiting list.[6] In December of that year, the club put on an exhibition of paintings by Pablo Picasso.[7]

Guest speakers in that era included poets Amy Lowell, Vachel Lindsay, and Siegfried Sassoon, educator Maria Montessori, and Mrs. Herbert Hoover.

In 1932, the club moved further uptown to its current home, a ten-story brick building with wrought-iron balconies, designed by the architect Thomas Harlan Ellett, situated on 66th Street between Park and Lexington across the street from the Seventh Regiment Armory. The new building won the Architectural League's gold medal in 1932 [8] with the comment ‘A fresh and personal interpretation beautiful in its simplicity of form and material’, and had twenty-five guest rooms.[9] Visiting musicians included Sergei Prokofiev, Nadia Boulanger, Count Basie, and Lotte Lenya; other invited luminaries were Robert Frost, Dorothy Thompson, and Edward R. Murrow.

Currently the club offers, according to its website, a place for women to "nourish their intellects; exercise their artistic impulses; cultivate friends; and freely exchange ideas."[10] Blue jeans and running shoes aren't allowed.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Short History of The Cosmopolitan Club," Cosmopolitan Club website.
  2. ^ "Behind the Scenes with Author Shaw," New York Times, April 7, 1910.
  3. ^ "New Club for New York Women," New York Times, March 22, 1911.
  4. ^ "A Short History of The Cosmopolitan Club," Cosmopolitan Club website.
  5. ^ Geoffrey T. Hellman, "The Talk of the Town: Tea With Mrs. Hendrick", The New Yorker, June 22, 1957, p. 18
  6. ^ "Cosmopolitan Club Buys 2 Houses," New York Times, February 22, 1917.
  7. ^ Michael C. Fitzgerald, Picasso and American Art.
  8. ^ Thomas Harlan Ellett Collection, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. ^ "High Quality Marks East Side Building," New York Times, November 20, 1932.
  10. ^ "History of the Cosmopolitan Club," Cosmopolitan Club website.
  11. ^ "General Information," Cosmopolitan Club website.