In 1921 Howard W. Carter was sitting in his dentist’s chair having a tooth drilled, when he conceived the idea that
“UNIVERSITY CLUB FOR
HEADLINED THE STAR NEWS ON APRIL 29, 1922.
Arrangements were made to occupy a portion of the south end of the second story east wing of the Hotel Green, adjacent to the old
“To begin with, sandwiches were served at noon on round tables like those used in old-fashioned ice cream parlors, with similarly styled metal chairs around them,” reminisces
The formal opening of the Club was celebrated by an evening dinner on July 25, 1922, and the fee was about $1.00 for the generous steak spread. In January 1923, an ambitious program of educational and social events had been arranged; this included smokers, book talks, lectures, dances, musicales and a bridge tournament. The Club momentum was increased by a number of scientist members from Mount Wilson Observatory and Cal Tech and the staff of the
A markable event in 1923 was the emploment of John Pearman as the Club manager. Mr. Pearman made many important contributions to the Club and was appreciated and admired greatly by the founding members. He brought with him his secretary, Miss Eve Hetherington, who, after Mr. Pearman’s loss, became Club manager in May 1927.
Few Clubs have been so fortunate as The University Club to host such individuals as those who have spoken throughout the Club’s Past. These speakers include many illustrious men, but perhaps the most famous is Professor Albert Einstein who addressed the Club membership in 1931. Albert was a guest of Dr. Charles E. St. John, the distinguished solar physicist who was in 1932 the President of the Carnegie Institution’s Mount Wilson Observatory,
An oil portrait of Dr. St. John, painted by member Seymour Thomas, now hangs in the Club’s Library. Mr. Thomas also presented the Club with his fascinating studies of ambassador James Bryce and Dr. George Ellery Hale. These portraits now hang on the Club’s upper floor.
Another prominent member and speaker at the University Club was Dr. Albert A. Michelson. Dr. Michelson was the first to measure the speed of light. As well, Dr. Michelson was
Imagine rubbing elbows at lunch with giants like these.
One of The University Club's members changed the world’s concept of the universe. Professor Edwin Hubbell proved, to the satisfaction of leading astronomers, that the whole universe was flying apart; stars and planets flying away from each other at the speed of light. This remarkable man had been trained as a lawyer, however, his first love was astronomy. Herb Hahn, who was chairman of the Program Committee, induced Professor Hubbell, much against his will, to address the Club. The professor was right – he shouldn’t have done it – practically nobody understood what he was talking about.
(It takes a big man to make a gigantic error.)
It didn’t take long for the Club to outgrow its quarters in the Hotel Green. Jack Pearman, a Club committee member, did the leg work in securing a new home for the Club. The search took 3 years. In 1925 Manager Pearman notified Dr. Carl Thomas that he had been quietly looking around and had located the Club’s present site on
Besides equipment for pool, billiards and cards, facilities were also provided for mah-jong, chess, checkers and dominoes. Today, with the majority of members being non-smokers, and applicable laws in the State and City, it seems quaint that a popular form of entertainment of the 20's was to hold “smokers.”
Browse through the The Club’s Library room and think back to when there was not a single book on the shelves. We are indebted to Dr. St. John for establishing the Library and nursing it along through the years. From the Club’s birth, the Library has flourished from the books donated by the members. In addition to these generous donations, over the years, magnificent oil paintings, which now hang in the dining room, entryway and dining alcove area, were donated by member-artists.
While the Club’s lunches started off as ham sandwiches and
At the time of the move to
In the 1930’s, stag dinners and “other entertainment” came into vogue. The early stag dinners were later replaced by the famed Sports Stag Dinners, where the guests of honor and speakers were the leading coaches and athletes of the west. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, dinner and baseball game parties became popular, with cocktails and dinner at the Club followed by chartered bus, first to the Coliseum and then to Dodger Stadium. An alternative activity would be cocktails and dinner at the Club, followed by hockey games at the now defunct Forum. So that members would not have to miss the World Series of 1960, the Club arranged for a closed circuit, large screen television. This event attracted a large turnout. (Following that tradition, today, the Club has several large screen HCD televisions on which members have viewed the 2008 Olympics, football, and the historic presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.)
A major step forward in the Club’s history was reached in May 1948. Major improvements to the upstairs conference room were completed, along with the elimination of the “view window” in the south wall of the dining room (it looked out on some old garages), and the building of the dining alcove area to look out at the garden (which is now a tranquil courtyard). This was done under the leadership of President Robert M. Lawson, who had been reelected to a second term to enable him to complete the program of improvements started during his first term. The next step in the enlargement of the Club’s facilities was the addition of 6,000 square feet in 1967 which included a new lobby, office and clerical area, a new bar and the “ladies powder room.” These improvements were made during the term of President Lawrence Frost.
A great day in the Club’s history was May 20th, 1972, the Club’s fiftieth anniversary. This momentous occasion was celebrated with a Golden Ball. A beautiful and memorable occasion, the entire Clubhouse was transformed into a spring garden; guests entered through a colonnade of Grecian columns. The guests of honor, the thirteen surviving charter members, were introduced to a full house of members and guests by Club President, Charles Rubsamen.
These members included the following,
to whom the membership and our Club are deeply indebted:
John F. Chapman MD
Frank W. Hogdon MD
Alfred H. Joy PhD
A. Hoffman Keese
Harry H. Lehman
Wellslake D. Mores
Andrew Neff PhD.
Judge Kenneth C. Newell
Earl E. Simonds
W. Virgil Spalding