A Book by Bookish Men about Books

According to American Book Clubs by Adolf Growoll (Graphic Arts Z1008.A2 G8), the Cadmus Club was organized in the fall of 1895 at Galesburg, Illinois. There were no officers and its membership was restricted to twelve, in honor of the twelve months in the calendar year. The members included John Pearsons Gushing, John Huston Finley, Ben Bowles Hampton, George Appleton Lawrence, Philip Sidney Post, Jr., Lee Saunders Pratt, William Edward Simonds, Francis Hinckley Sisson, Willard S. Small, Willis E. Terry, Charles Burton Thwing, and Philip Greene Wright, all of Galesburg.

Cadmus, His Almanack (Galesburgh, Ill, 1897). Graphic Arts (GAX) 2009 -in process

The purpose of the Club was “good fellowship among the members, the encouragement of good reading in the community, and the publication of literary products that possess a local interest.” Cadmus, the Father of Letters, became their patron saint. The Club held regular meetings, hosted lectures, and shared their own knowledge of all aspects of book-making and book history.

Early in 1897 the Club published Cadmus His Almanack, which was “a book by bookish men about books”. It was printed in an edition of 365 copies. Other publications by the Club include Epithalamia (1896); An Analysis of The Social Structure of a Western Town by Arthur W. Dunn (1906), and The Moral Sentiment of the People … An Address by Edgar A. Bancroft (1905) Firestone 1084.07.144.

Other men-only book clubs founded at this time include the Grolier Club in New York (1884), the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston (1886), the Rowfant Club in Cleveland (1892), the Philobiblon Club in Philadelphia (1893), and the Caxton Club of Chicago (1895). The Club of Odd Volumes and the Rowfant Club still restrict their membership to men only.