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Finding Aid File

Guide to the Montauk Club Collection, BCMS.0045

Summary Information

    Repository

    Brooklyn Public Library - Brooklyn Collection

    Creator

    Montauk Club of Brooklyn.

    Title

    Montauk Club Collection

    ID

    BCMS.0045

    Date

    1889-2016

    Extent

    6.2 Linear feet , 10 boxes

    Location

    Brooklyn Collection Morgue, Shelves 7.4, 7.5, and 8.4.

    Language

    English

    Abstract

    Records, photographs, and ephemera from the Montauk Club, a social club in Park Slope, Brooklyn founded in 1889 and still in operation today.

    Preferred Citation

    This collection should be cited as the Montauk Club Collection, Brooklyn Public Library – Brooklyn Collection.

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Historical Note

The Montauk Club was founded in 1889 in Park Slope, an affluent neighborhood in what was then the independent city of Brooklyn. Though there were many other upper-class social clubs in Brooklyn at the time, the Montauk Club quickly became one of the most desirable memberships. Among the 25 charter members was Alfred Chapin, then mayor of Brooklyn, as well as future mayor David Boody and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Woodruff. Charles A. Moore was the club's first president.

Soon after incorporating, the club selected a site for their clubhouse and commissioned the architect Francis H. Kimball to build it. Kimball designed an opulent structure in Venetian Gothic style which still stands today on the corner of 8th Avenue and Lincoln Place. The building was completed in 1891. The Landmarks Commission designated it as an individual landmark in 1966.

The club has hosted many events and famous persons. In 1892, a dinner was held for former President Grover Cleveland. In 1895, an estimated 5,000 people attended a reception for Governor (soon to be President) McKinley. For 35 years starting in 1892, the club hosted annual birthday dinners for Chauncey Depew, an attorney and politician who was very well-known at the time. These celebrations became nearly as famous as the man himself, and were reported on nationally and internationally.

In 1934, during the Great Depression, the club's financial situation became so dire that the board voted to dissolve. Two dissenting votes, and opposition from the membership, reversed the decision and the club survived. Later in the twentieth century, membership and revenue once again declined as social clubs fell out of favor. In the mid-1990s, the club sold its upper floors for development into condominiums, while retaining the first and second floors. The sale allowed the Montauk Club to remain in its original building, and it is still open and functioning in that building today.

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Scope and Contents

While this collection does not constitute a comprehensive record of the Montauk Club's activities, it chronicles events spanning the club's entire history, including documents pertaining to the club's administration, membership, and events as well as a small number of photographs and bound volumes. The early event materials are particularly noteworthy; many of the event programs and menus are elaborately and lavishly decorated.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged in 5 series by type, one of which has subseries. The series and subseries are as follows: Series 1: Administration; Series 2: Publications; Series 3: Membership; Series 4: Photos and Prints; and Series 5: Events with Subseries 1: Menus, Invitations and Programs and Subseries 2: Chauncey Depew Dinners. Folders and items are arranged chronologically within the series and subseries.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Brooklyn Public Library - Brooklyn Collection , 2018

10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY, 11238
718.230.2762
[email protected]

Access

Collection is located in the Brooklyn Collection at the Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza. The collection may only be used in the library and is not available through interlibrary loan. Requests to view the collection must be made at least 48 hours in advance of visit.

Use

While many items in the Brooklyn Collection are unrestricted, we do not own reproduction rights to all materials. Be aware of the several kinds of rights that might apply: copyright, licensing and trademarks. The researcher assumes all responsibility for copyright questions.

Provenance

The bulk of this collection was donated by the Montauk Club in April 2016. Additional materials were later donated by Mary Brennan and Dylan Yeats.

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Related Materials

Depew, Chauncey M. Speech by Hon. Chauncey M. Depew on his 89th birthday at the Montauk Club, Brooklyn, N.Y., April 28th, 1923.

The Montauk Club of Brooklyn. Eagle Press, 1890.

Rubin, Lucas. Brooklyn's Sportsmen's Row : politics, society & the sporting life on northern Eighth Avenue. The History Press, 2012.

Ephemera Collection, folders Clubs: Montauk Club I & II and Menus: Montauk Club.

Brooklyn Eagle Photographs, folder Clubs: Social: Montauk Club.

News coverage via Brooklyn Newsstand and the Local Newspapers on Microfilm Collection.

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Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Menus

Geographic Name(s)

  • Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)
  • Park Slope Historic District (New York, N.Y.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Brennan, Mary A.
  • Depew, Chauncey M. (Chauncey Mitchell), 1834-1928
  • Veronese, Dino

Subject(s)

  • Clubs

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Administration 

Box 1 

Folder 1: Original Documents , 1889-1919 

See also: Oversize 1889 indenture/mortgage stored in Box 10.

Folder 2: Original Documents , 1934-2008 

Folder 3: General administrative materials , 1928-1960 

Folder 4: Appraisal , 1934 

Folder 5: Financial Reports , 1937-1940 

Folder 6: Treasurer’s Reports , 1936-1945 

Folder 7: Assembly Permits , 1961-1966 

Folder 8: Promotional materials , c.1990s-early 2000s 

Folder 9: Ephemera , undated 

See also: Oversize sheet music for "Montauk Club March" stored in Box 10 and bound Visitors' Book, 1914-1935 in Box 9.

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Series 2: Publications 

Box 1 

Folder 10: Book, “The Montauk Club,”  1890 

Folder 11: “A Little History of the Montauk Club,”  c. 1910 

Folder 12: Writings on club history by Mary Brennan , 2010s 

Folder 13: “The Montauk Club, 1889-2016” by Mary Brennan , 2018 

Folder 14: Brooklyn Eagle articles , 1889-1941 

See also: Oversize 1890 article from Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper stored in Box 10.

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Series 3: Membership 

Box 2 

Bound directories , 1892-2019 

Folder 1: New member proposal sheets , 1941-1949 

Folder 2: Membership Application, 2017-2018 

Box 3 

Folders 1-21: Newsletters , 1971-1994 

Box 4 

Folders 1-13: Newsletters , 2005-2017 

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Series 4: Photos and Prints 

Box 5 

Folder 1: Building Exterior 

Folder 2: Building Interior 

Folder 3: Building Interior from The American Architect , 1895 

Folder 4: People and Events 

See also: Oversize photos stored in Box 10.

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Series 5: Events 

Box 5 

Subseries 1: Menus, Invitations and Programs 

Folder 5: 1891-1906 

Folder 6: 1909-1919 

Folder 7: 1920 

Folder 8: 1930s-1940s 

Folder 9: 1950s 

Folder 10: 1960s 

Folder 11: 1970s 

Folder 12: 1980s 

Box 6 

Folder 1: 1990s 

Folder 2: 2000s 

Folders 3-8: Theatre Party Programs , 1895-1900 

Folders 9-16: Dinner Party Programs , 1897-1904 

Box 7 

Folders 1-9: Dinner Party Programs , 1906-2008 

Folder 10: Brooklyn Historical Pageant , 1915 

Folder 11: Music Concerts , 1979-1997 

Folder 12: New Year’s Eve Parties , 2000s 

Folder 13: New member welcome events , 2006-2016 

Folder 14: Anniversary celebrations , 1989-2014 

Subseries 2: Chauncey Depew Dinners 

Box 8 

Folder 1: 1892-1899 

Folder 2: 1900-1909 

Folder 3: 1910 

Folder 4: 1911 

Folder 5: 1913 

Folder 6: 1990s 

Folder 7: Chauncey Depew Information Packets 

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Boxes 9 and 10 

See notes above regarding oversize materials stored in these boxes.

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