17.7cm x 12.5cm. Two cards, both printed in blue and red ink: one is a menu of twelve courses, the other a card announcing the club name as well as the time and place of the dinner. On the verso of each are the signatures of the attending diners.A remarkable survival. As Laurence Hutton, the famous American essayist and critic describes in Talks in a Library: "The initial idea of ‘The Kinsmen’ was Lawrence Barrett’s; the name was an inspiration of my own. The actor had long contemplated the foundation of a little club upon the lines of the ‘Green Room’ or the ‘Beefsteak’ in London, to which none but professionals should be admitted and only those of the right sort. He wanted to bring together the players, the writers, the sculptors, the painters, into some simple organisation which would be select and fraternal.There were to be no dues, no fees, no club-house, no constitution, no by-laws, no officers, ‘no nothing’ but good fellowship and good times. We were to breakfast or dine, or lunch, or sup, together; each member was to bring to each symposium a guest of his own choosing and his own profession, whom he felt would be acceptable to the other members. – pp. 325-26. The club was founded in New York in early 1882. By June of the same year it had met at the Blue Posts Tavern in London. Members included Mark Twain and Henry Irving, who presented each Kinsman with a perpetual free pass to any theater in which he might be playing. Our menu bears the signatures of the twenty club diners for the evening of May 9th, 1897. It is particularly spectacular because that evening’s attendees, some of whom signed their names twice. The list includes the painter John Singer Sargent (twice); Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; Andrew Lang, writer, anthropologist and collector of folk tales; the socialite Henry Allhusen (twice); the surgeon and Japanese art collector William Anderson (twice); George Sydenham Clark, diplomat; John Hay, US Ambassador; E. Ray Lankester, scientist; Frederick Macmillan, publisher; Sir Herbert E. Maxwell, writer and politician; William Padgett; Graham Robertson, artist and patron; W. Baptiste Scoones, editor; and that of the Japanese art collector H. Seymour Trower (twice). There are also two additional names which we have been unable to identify. In good condition and preserved in a black cloth folding box with the title in gilt-stamped red morocco on the upper board. Bookseller Inventory #
Title: (MENU.) The Kinsmen. Sunday 9.th. May 1897. ...
Binding: Hard cover
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