Skip to main content

Monday Evening Club records

Identifier: Monday Evening Club records

Scope and Contents

The Monday Evening Club Records contain administrative and historical material that documents the activities of the Hartford club and contributions made by its members. Prominent in the records are club meeting minutes, correspondence, and club histories, but the bulk of the records consists of several hundred papers presented by members at their monthly dinner meetings. The paper topics were chosen by the essayists and reflect their interest in history, literature, politics, and reflect the wide variety of subjects of interest to the cohort, most of whom were living and working in Hartford or the region.


  • 1869 - 2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Series I, Administrative Records: Selected material in Box 1 (identified at the folder level) is restricted. For further information consult the Watkinson Library director.

Series II, Papers Presented by Members: The papers by living members are restricted without permission of the author. For further information consult the Watkinson Library director.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

The Monday Evening Club Records is the physical property of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the Watkinson Library director.

It is also the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

The Monday Evening Club, a men’s literary and social society, was founded on Monday, January 18, 1869, at the home of the Reverend Caleb Sprague (1804-1884) in Hartford, Connecticut. The first formal meeting of the club was held the next week at the home of historian James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897), where by-laws were drawn up and the first paper was delivered to the thirteen members present. Since that time, the club has met regularly over the winter and spring, generally six times per year, and the number of members has expanded and contracted over the decades. Each meeting has a host who receives the members at his home or another venue such as a restaurant or club, and an essayist who delivers prepared remarks or an academic paper meant to spur a discussion. The club secretary keeps the minutes, maintains the program schedule, and sends out meeting reminders. The club keeps no financial records as the month’s host provides a meal for the members, which exempts the need for club dues.

The membership has consisted of prominent learned men in Hartford or the surrounding towns, and historically has included theologians and clergymen, editors and publishers, authors and historians, attorneys and judges, educators and higher education administrators, manufacturers and businessmen, physicians, and military and civic leaders. Many members have been natives of the city, while others arrived for professional opportunities and stayed on. The mix has resulted in a wide diversity of topics presented at club meetings, ranging from personal narratives to examinations of current events of national and international scope. In every case, the essayist either drew from his own experiences, or chose to learn about his subject in enough depth to give a presentation twenty minutes in length and lead a lively conversation afterward.

The club members have been ever mindful of their past, and three substantial narratives exist in the records: “History of the Monday Evening Club,” by Edward M. Day (a paper read at the meeting on March 30, 1936); The List of Members of the Monday Evening Club Together with the Record of Papers Read at Their Meetings, 1869-1954, by Howell Cheney (Hartford: Privately Printed, 1954); and The Monday Evening Club of Hartford, Connecticut: Its Members & the Titles of Papers Read at Their Meetings, 1869-1970, by Francis Goodwin II (Hartford: Privately Printed, 1970). In addition, Charles H. Clark read his “History of the Monday Evening Club” at the meeting on June 3, 1914, and club secretary Charles J. Cole presented his personal observations in his paper “The Monday Evening Club: Revisited” at the meeting on May 2, 1983.

Recent club secretaries were Henry Edward M. Day, 1930-1945; Howell Cheney, 1946-1951; John C. Parsons, 1952-1981, followed by his law partners Charles J. Cole, 1981-1987, and Robert H. Smith Jr., 1987-2018. As of 2019, Sherwood Willard is the current secretary.


8.0 Linear Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Monday Evening Club Records consist of administrative documents including meeting minutes, correspondence, club histories, and other material, in addition to papers presented by club members at their meetings.


Organized into two series:

I. Administrative Records, 1869-2019.

II. Papers Presented by Members, 1880-2019.

Custodial History

The records of the Monday Evening Club were placed on deposit at the Watkinson Library in 1981, following a vote of approval by the membership at their meeting on December 8, 1980. In 2019, the Monday Evening Club Records became the physical property of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Monday Evening Club Records were donated by the Monday Evening Club in 2019.

Related Materials

Several volumes of publications written by or for members of the Club of Odd Volumes are available in the Watkinson Library. One example is: Williams, Alexander Whiteside. Social History of the Club of Odd Volumes: 1887-1967. Boston: Club, 1969, available in the Watkinson Library, Private Press book collection (Z1008.C6 W6).

Separated Materials

Two volumes have separated and catalogued in the Watkinson Library collection:

Aller, Susan, Barbara Donahue, and Polly Zarella, eds. A History of The Saturday Morning Club of Hartford, 1876-2011 (Saturday Morning Club of Hartford, 2011).

Reynolds, Philip. Twilight Years (, n.d.), ISBN: 978-1-329-70564-7
Guide to the Monday Evening Club Records
Sandra Markham
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-02-06: Biographical / Historical title changed; sentence added to Custodial History; sentence rewritten in Immediate Source of Acquisition -- by Eric Stoykovich.

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106