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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lotos Club

I was fortunate yesterday to be able to attend a function (the wedding of a friend) at the Lotos Club, one of the oldest literary clubs in the US. This private club is located at 5 East 66th Steet in a brick and limestone French Renaissance building, designed by Richard Howland Hunt and built in 1900 by the daughter of William H. Vanderbilt. The club dates back to 1870 when a group of young New York journalists met in the office of the New York Leader. These men were De Witt Van Buren of the Leader (the first president), Andrew C. Wheeler of the Daily World, George W. Hows of the Evening Express, F. A. Schwab of the Daily Times, W. L. Alden of the Citizen, and J. H. Elliot of the Home Journal. Previous failures at creating a strictly literary organization had demonstrated that this was not viable, so membership to a broader group was decided upon. The stated primary object of the club was "to promote social intercourse among journalists, literary men, artists, and members of the theatrical profession." The club has a long list of well known members, such as Mark Twain. It has had a number of locations - from its first home at 2 Irving Place off 14th Street to its current location at 5 East 66th Street.
NOTE: The selection of the name The Lotos Club was to convey "an idea of rest and harmony" - the spelling of Lotos comes from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, The Lotos Eaters, two lines of which were selected as the motto of the club:

In the afternoon they came unto a land
In which it seemed always afternoon

The endless afternoon setting provided the ideal atmosphere to indulge in creative and stimulating thought and conversation ...


Lucy said...

Opulent space!

• Eliane • said...

Thanks for the behind-the-scenes visit!

Shirley said...

A beautiful example of opulent living that barely exists anymore. What a lovely place for any important event that requires good taste. It was a pleasure to see it . Shirley