Economy Club of Cambridge Records,1872-1988
- Economy Club of Cambridge (Cambridge, Mass.) (Creator, Organization)
Access to Collection
Conditions Governing Use
6.7 Linear feet
4.7 Cubic Feet
11 boxes (9 Hollinger boxes, 2 tall legal Hollinger boxes, and three photographs wrapped together.)
3 Photographic Prints
On November 6, 1872, Clarence H. Blake, William Pearson, Clair Whittemore, and George Whittemore formed a secret society called the Four Socials for the purpose of “social intercourse and also to improve in Literature.” Four Socials was limited to the four originating members who met in each other’s homes. The following year, two additional members were invited to join and the name of the secret society was changed to the Mutual League of Friendship. The fortnight dinner meetings were dedicated to reciting literature, singing, and listening to music. In the fall of 1876, the club held its first “Ladies’ Night”, and in 1878, the club adopted the motto, “Commune Bonum,” meaning the common good.
The club remained a secret society until 1879, when the Mutual League of Friendship became a debating society and meetings took place in halls like the Prospect House or the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall rather than in member’s homes.
In 1885, the society adopted a new name, the Economy Club of Cambridge. The 75th Anniversary Program of the Economy Club of Cambridge (1947) defines the meaning of the club’s new name as: “the word ’economy’ being understood as it is used today in schools which teach Economics.”
Debating became the foundation for the meetings and topics ranged from the local (such as the abolition of Cambridge’s Common Council) to the international (such as the Panama Canal). The club held joint debates with similar, local societies such as the Cambridge Prohibition Club, the Young Men’s Republican Club of Somerville, and the Harvard Democratic Club. Guest speakers delivered lectures and scientists gave demonstrations. In 1911, the Economy Club of Cambridge openly supported the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) move from Boston to Cambridge.
Membership has included state and city officials, judges, academics, business people, and professionals. By 2009, the once large membership (over 100) membership had dwindled dramatically to 15 active members. The club continued to meet six times each year at the MIT Faculty Club for drinks, dinner, and the presentation of a guest speaker.
Organization of Collection
Series 1: Financial Records, 1947-1976
Series 2: Membership, 1894-1950s
Series 3: Meetings and Events, 1895-1988
Series 4: Minute Books, 1888-1932
Series 5: Mutual League of Friendship, 1878-1888
Series 6: Other Organizational Records, 1872-1953
Series 7: Photographs, 1922, 1947
Approximately xx items organized alphabetically or chronologically within series.
- Finding aid to the Economy Club of Cambridge Records, 1872-1988
- Processed and finding aid by Patsy Boudoin (2009), rehoused and reprocessed by Christine DiBella (2015), EAD created by Alyssa Pacy (2017)
- February 2009, June 2015, and January 2017
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
Part of the Cambridge Room, Cambridge Public Library Archives and Special Collections Repository
Cambridge Public Library
Cambridge MA 02138 USA