Talk:Cambridge Apostles

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According to the Ray Monk bio, Wittgenstein either quit after one or two meetings, or was never formally a member--just a trial member or whatever the equivalent is. I think it's a little misleading to list the guy without calling some kind of attention to it. I just put a reference to it in the article, but it looks kind of awkward--please somebody change it if they have access to the Monk book and think that it's worth flagging... 17:47, 16 February 2007 (UTC)

Feminist bias in this article[edit]

I do not understand why one of the most prominent comments on the Apostles should be that there have been few female members. Surely this is obvious, simply from the fact that the institution under discussion was all-male. It would seem obvious to add that the institution was located in England.

So where are the comments, lamenting that there were very few Africans among the Apostles? Indeed, very few Indians, Native Americans, Japanese, Chinese, and "ordinary Americans?"

Also, very few French, German, Italian and so on. The list could be endless.

Yet, somehow, some solemn person has decided that "the under-representation of females" should take precedence over some topics which might be much more interesting, such as (if this be true) the over-representation of gay men. JaafarAbuTarab 18:17, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

I don't know about bias, but the paragraph was somewhat repetitous, so I changed it. I still have a problem with

Critics say the society's secretive nature, combined with the small number of women members, and the significant percentage of angels who have acquired fellowships at Cambridge, and positions in the media, government and the church, places the Apostles at odds with the meritocratic ideals the university espouses.

Where to start? 'Critics say' is a weasel worded phrase. I think it's also a non-sequitur. If the Apostle's membership have merit, why should they not be fellows in a meritocracy? The main problem, as I say, is the unattributed opinion. This paragraph deserves to go. I haven't yet deleted it. Perhaps somebody wants to do a re-write? - Crosbiesmith 20:11, 3 January 2007 (UTC)
I agree, and as it hadn't been improved in nigh on a year, I removed it. Larklight (talk) 20:29, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


I have serious issues with this article. Much of the information is taken from Deacon's book on the Apostles -- the which is notoriously inaccurate and hopelessly antiquated.

I accept that personal knowledge does not constitute data for the Wikipedia -- but I cannot accept that third-rate research like Deacon's does so count. There is no principle of verifiability here since most of what Deacon writes is based on speculation and legend. At the very least, the article should be altered to the past tense since the current state of the Society cannot be determined by a forty-year old book. 11:43, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Deacon's book was published in 1986, not 40 years ago. What exactly do you dispute in the article? SlimVirgin (talk) 15:10, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

There is little or nothing wrong with 'Deacon', in my opinion - but whomever is listed here when Barney3 makes all the additional links [see below] will be checked by another (American) author. (talk) 22:24, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Still going?[edit]

Does anyone know if the Apostles society still exist, and if not when did it end? there are mentions of members in the 1980s, so it has to be fairly recent. thanks for any answers. Bwithh 00:49, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

I would be inclined to think not, simply because even while it was in principle a secret society throughout its history it was never particularly secretive about who its members were. You would think that enough time spent hanging around in the Union bar would lead to eventually hearing that so-and-so is a member and - while this is in no way definitive evidence of nonexistence - in four years I never heard so much as a peep about the society still being active. A shame really. Then again, you'd have to be spectacularly arrogant about your own abilities to restart such an institution from scratch. There was a drinking society at John's on facebook calling themselves 'apostles', but they appeared to just be first years who didn't know any better. (talk) 01:00, 5 August 2008 (UTC)


Hi Ed, do you have a source for Gandy having been a member? His WP bio shows him at Manchester and Oxford, not Cambridge. SlimVirgin (talk) 06:33, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

This book review identifies Gandy as an Apostle. I think there were a number of Oxonians who were Apostles? Bwithh 18:07, 14 November 2005 (UTC)
Strange. I'm not aware of any Oxonians who were Cambridge Apostles. Perhaps Gandy did go to Cambridge at some point. I'm concerned that the author of the review doesn't say what his source is. Is he taking the information from one of the books he's reviewing, and if so, which one; or is this something he added himself? SlimVirgin (talk) 18:20, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Ok, Gandy received his PhD from Cambridge in 1953 - this information was omitted from the WP page on him; reinstating him on the apostle page and adding that info to his bio page Bwithh 18:52, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Good work, Bwithh. I see his supervisor was Turing. I've always wondered why Turing wasn't a member. He was very smart, gay, and at King's, so he was a prime candidate. Maybe he turned them down. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:03, 14 November 2005 (UTC)

Leslie Stephen[edit]

I found the name of Leslie Stephen in the former members´ list. Leslie Stephen, the father of Virginia Woolf, was never an Apostle. See Frederick William Maitland, The Live and Letters of Leslie Stephen, London 1906. On page 47 ist a quotation by Sir Leslie: "Let us hope, that I learnt a lesson of humility." It was his comment to the fact, that he was not elected to be an Apostle. In Noel Annans Biography "Leslie Stephen - The Godless Victorian", London 1984, we can read on page 29: "He [Leslie Stephen] was ambitious to be invited to join the Apostle; (...) yet no invitation came." In the Appendix of W C Lubenow´s Book "The Cambridge Apostles 1820 - 1914, Cambridge 1998, we find a biographical directory (p 413 - 432) with the names of all Apostles til 1914. Leslie Stephen is not mentioned.

Hans-Günter Semsek, Cologne/Germany

Thanks, Hans-Günter, I've removed him. SlimVirgin (talk) 07:54, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Membership list[edit]

Though flattered to be included on the membership list of Apostles, I was not an Apostle and, indeed, as a University of Chicago, UCL, Harvard and Oxford man, was never up at Cambridge, and thus not eligible. However, the membership list given in the appendix to my book Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles (1979) was taken from the Society's own records, and is totally accurate. It includes the entire membership up to Apostle no. 255 in Nov. 1914, with their dates of membership and so on. All the information about the Society in the book was taken from the Apostles' own records and is correct. Beware of imitations.Isishome 15:55, 8 January 2007 (UTC)Paul Levy

Gee, Paul ... I am glad you cleared this up. I have a feeling you could update your membership list by another 50 years or so. Robbiefields 17:54, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone know why Birdgirl reverted the edits made by Isishome? She did so without citing any reason or evidence. Dsp13 16:35, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Fifth man[edit]

Elsewhere in Wikipeadia, the fifth man is stated to be John Cairncross. Why does this article provide speculation at odds with this widely held theory without even mentioning it?

--John Price 13:00, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Skull and Bones at Yale[edit]

Has anyone else noticed the similarities between these two groups?

Never members[edit]

Why am I not on this list? I was never a member! Sereously though, most people weren't members: unless there is some reason why it we should have thought they were, this section is silly. No reasopns were given, and I even linked to Paul Levy's article, but none there. Hense, obliveon.Larklight (talk) 20:29, 16 December 2007 (UTC)



These changes are not helpful. The images of the graves are irrelevant (unless they explicitly mention their membership). The list was unsourced, yes, but needs additional citations rather than gutting entirely. Also, the change from chrnological order to alphabetical order isn't good, and you've got far too many headings. Barney the barney barney (talk) 20:40, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Images of graves are now removed; the current list (now in alphabetical order) is incomplete, inaccurate, and out-of-date; I have sent the list to an author of a book of the Apostles who I am going to meet at Wolfson College in April, but I need your help in adding links to other articles. I can send your a list of all 232 other members NOT listed, quite a few of whom have existing articles which are NOT linked to this article but they need to be. Best wishes Barney.

Martin (talk)

OK, what is the title of this book*? Barney the barney barney (talk) 22:07, 3 January 2014 (UTC)
  • Deacon, Richard (1986). The Cambridge Apostles: A History of Cambridge University's Elite Intellectual Secret Society. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-11820-4.

How can I send it to you as I have effectively finished with it? Martin ps This situation reminds me of the ORDER OF MERIT article which was also 'rubbish' to begin with, has improved, but unfortunately it is still deeply flawed and difficult (if not impossible) to tackle, by comparison the Cambridge Apostles should be a lot easier, and from your past body of work, only you could do it! I have noticed a lot of your recent new articles by the way. Kind regards (talk) 22:13, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

  • findagrave : HENRY SIDGWICK (Apostle)

Birth: May 31, 1838 Skipton North Yorkshire, England Death: Aug. 28, 1900 Braintree Essex, England

Henry Sidgwick was an English utilitarian philosopher and economist. He was one of the founders and first president of the Society for Psychical Research, a member of the Metaphysical Society, and promoted the higher education of women. His work in economics has also had a lasting influence.

He wanted these words to be written on his grave:"Let us commend to the love of God with silent prayer the soul of a sinful man who partly partly tried to do his duty. it is by his wish that I say over his grave these words and no more".

He also founded the Newnham College in Cambridge in 1875.Newnham College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.It was the second Cambridge college to admit women after Girton College. The co-founder of the college was Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

Henry Sidgwick was the first cousin of Ellen Wordsworth Crofts*, second wife of Sir Francis Darwin, a Fellow and Lecturer at Newnham College. *WHERE IN CAMBRIDGE : GIRTON? PLEASE CONFIRM! (talk) 22:54, 3 January 2014 (UTC)

Proposed additions to the List of Former Members[edit]

Click "show" to see longish list.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Good luck, Barney 3 (talk) 22:16, 6 January 2014 (UTC)

A major improvement![edit]

This article has improved out of all recognition: it now even includes the founder! Someone needs to go through the above list and check for more as yet 'unlinked' articles "The Banner"? (talk) 12:36, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

It would be nice when you give proof of their membership based on reliable, independent sources. The Banner talk 14:14, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

ALL of the Apostles already have their membership recorded in their articles! Understand? (talk) 19:42, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Are you sure? I checked 5 persons and found no evidence at all. And just dumping a link to the Cambridge Apostles is not enough. You have to prove it with reliable, independent and prior published sources, conform WP:RS. Accurate sourcing is absolutely essential for Wikipedia. The Banner talk 19:55, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Which 5 please "The Banner"? (talk) 21:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

You claimed ALL of the Apostles already have their membership recorded in their articles! and a quick check proved that that was not the case. I am absolutely unwilling to solve your problems. First, you must come up with reliable sources of the people listed here. The Banner talk 21:08, 5 February 2014 (UTC)

The Cambridge Apostles[edit]

Nice to hear from you! I am just tidying up this article, and then I will leave it to you...are you on facebook, so we can talk privately? I am the 'Ascension Parish Burial Ground' expert!! (talk) 12:10, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

?, I have finished (for the moment) sub-editing, but we (you, me and Barney3) have a long way to go; more tonight! Martin (talk) 12:48, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

Sources, I want sources. And that is not my concern, it is exclusively yours. You add, so you prove. The Banner talk 17:49, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

"The Banner", I do appreciate that English is not your first language; the Cambridge Apostles was a TERRIBLE article a few weeks ago, I have a printed copy to remind me just how BAD it was, but it is getting better - but I need your expert help, and not hindrance please? Martin (talk) 19:12, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

I am not a hindrance, I just point out to you that you have to prove your additions with sources. Exactly conform the guidelines. The Banner talk 19:21, 26 January 2014 (UTC)
@The Banner: IP-switching anon is causing similar issues (lack of sources etc.) at List of Bloomsbury Group people, e.g. [1]
See Talk:List of Bloomsbury Group people#The Bloomsbury Group (and previous sections on that talk page). --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:28, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

ALL of the references to 'Cambridge Apostles' are referenced in their individual WIKI articles [...]![edit] (talk) 13:26, 18 August 2014 (UTC)

Too bad, Martin. You have to source the info here, in this article. The Banner talk 19:17, 18 August 2014 (UTC)
By the way: this remark conflicts with the truth. I checked five articles. Only one of them had a referenced mention of him being an Apostle. Three had unreferenced mentions and one article did not mention it at all. The Banner talk 23:53, 18 August 2014 (UTC)


See: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/IncidentArchive851#Enough_is_enough. The Banner talk 16:29, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

'Current Members'[edit]

Surely the list of 'Current Members' should be 'Living Former Members' (or some such) - unless they are all actual Apostles and not Angels, which I find hard to believe as the article says that those denoted 'Apostles' are mostly undergraduates. And 'Former Members' should be 'Deceased Former Members'. As it is a secret society (or was - there seems to be debate over whether it still exists), a list of current members should be hard to come by. Comments please PhilUK (talk) 16:30, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

Far better would be to start with some thorough checking of the presented members. A large portion have no evidence of membership. And often in the articles about the members, the statement of the membership goes unsourced. I don't dare to say that this list is reliable at all... The Banner talk 17:04, 24 October 2014 (UTC)

'Current Members'[edit]

I am not sure who added "David Wootton" to the list of current members, but was it the same person who linked to the article on David Wootton, former Lord Mayor of London and Freemason? There is more than one David Wootton; I am confident (for reasons that can only be obvious) that the former Lord Mayor was not a member; another David Wootton may well beReginaldscot (talk) 20:04, 1 November 2014 (UTC)ReginaldScot.

If in doubt or when no (sourced) proof is available, unlink the item. The Banner talk 22:34, 1 November 2014 (UTC)