Interning at the AMNH and seeing the beautifully-displayed specimens got me thinking about the brave men and women who ventured out to provide us with knowledge about our unknown world. Legacy institutions like the Explorer’s Club encouraged adventurers and scientists to pursue that goal and provided a place for them to discuss their findings with other like-minds.
From the Explorer’s Club website:
In May 1904, a group of men active in exploration met at the request of Henry Collins Walsh, to form an organization to unite explorers in the bonds of good fellowship and to promote the work of exploration by every means in its power.
Among these men were Adolphus Greely, Donaldson Smith, Henry Collins Walsh, Carl Lumholtz, Marshall Saville, Frederick Dellenbaugh, W. Furness, and David Brainard. On May 28, 1904, a dinner at the Aldine Association, located at 111 Fifth Avenue in New York City, was attended by fifty men well known in exploration. At this dinner, The Explorers Club was organized.
The Explorers Club was incorporated, and on October 25, 1905, the first regular meeting of the incorporators and subscribers was held during the afternoon. A meeting and “smoker” on that evening inaugurated the Club at its first quarters in the Studio Building at 23 West 67th Street. A year later the Club took up its headquarters at the Engineering Societies Building, 29 West 39th Street, where it remained until 1 March 1912 when the Club moved into new headquarters at 345 Amsterdam Avenue. Here, in an empty loft, the now rapidly growing organization had, for the first time, a home of its own in which to socialize and in which to gather its books, documents, trophies, and artifacts.
Today, members can still read, lounge, discover, and discuss the past AND the future of exploration. The Archives and Library of the Club preserves letters, journals, and collections of past and present members (and the public!) so that their legacy lives on for future adventurous minds.