The Penn Club of Philadelphia

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The Penn Club

The Penn Club is a private social club in Philadelphia. It was organized on March 18, 1875, with a mission to heighten awareness of arts and culture at the time of the Centennial Exposition.


With an original home on 8th and Locusts streets in Philadelphia, the Club came to existence after the American Civil War and prior to the Centennial Exhibition. The organizers were among those whose characters had been formed during the period of the war and that of the reconstruction that followed. Morton McMichael, Jr. made the lease of 720 Locust Street with Horace Howard Furness. James P. Sims arranged the scheme of decoration and designed the mantel upon which McMichael and Wharton Barker placed the statue of William Penn, modeled in plaster by Muller. Henry Armitt Brown hung the picture said to represent William Penn. The membership was limited to 200.

The first president of the Club was Wharton Barker (1846–1921), who was a prominent abolitionist and president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. He was also one of the original fifty members who founded the Union Club, which later became the Union League of Philadelphia.


The intention of the Club is expressed in its charter:

"The purposes for which the Corporation is formed are the association of authors, artists, men of science and the learned professions, and amateurs of music, letters, and the fine arts; and by receptions given to men or women distinguished in art, literature, science, or politics, and other kindred means, to promote social intercourse among its members."

The Club's motto is: "Dum Clavum Teneam," which is taken from the Penn Family Coat of Arms. The Club has become recognized as a body of men devoted to the traditions of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth, and to courageous and independent thought.

The Penn Club continues to this day, and meets in Center City, Philadelphia. The Club is named for William Penn, and has no historical or current association with the University of Pennsylvania.

See also[edit]


  • Cohen, Charles J., (1924). History of The Penn Club. John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia.
  • Hubbard, Cortlandt van Dyke, (1976). History of The Penn Club. The Winchell Company, Philadelphia (LOC #77-71621).
  • Watson, John Fanning (1879). Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Parry and M'Millan. p. 99.
  • William Penn: an address delivered before the Penn Club of Philadelphia, October 27, 1877, the one hundred and ninety-fifth anniversary of the landing at Upland (1877).
  • President Papadakis Honored by Penn Club.

Coordinates: 39°56′49″N 75°09′15″W / 39.94688°N 75.15412°W / 39.94688; -75.15412