Scientific Club (University of Michigan) records: 1875-2006
Summary Information
Title: Scientific Club (University of Michigan) records
Creator: University of Michigan. Scientific Club.
Inclusive dates: 1875-2006
Extent: 3 linear feet
The University of Michigan Scientific Club is a scholarly and social club founded in 1883 and devoted to interdisciplinary exchange among the university’s faculty. The collection includes histories of the club, papers read at club meetings, member lists and club correspondence, and assorted photographs of club gatherings
Call number: 87257 Bimu M1 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
Home Page:
Finding aid created by Bentley Historical Library staff, updated October 2013

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was first accessioned in 1945 (Donor no. 2056). Periodic accessions have been received since then. Donor No. 2056

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open without restriction.

Access Restrictions for University of Michigan Records

University records are public records and once fully processed are generally open to research use. Records that contain personally identifiable information will be restricted in order to protect individual privacy. Certain administrative records are restricted in accordance with university policy as outlined below. The restriction of university records is subject to compliance with applicable laws, including the Freedom of Information Act.

Categories of Restricted Records:

  • Personnel related files , including search, review, promotion, and tenure files, are restricted for thirty years from date of creation.
  • Student educational records are restricted for seventy-five years from date of creation.
  • Patient/client records are restricted for one-hundred years from date of creation.
  • Executive Officers, Deans and Directors files . By university records policy in effect as of January 1, 2001, University records generated by the university's Executive Officers, Deans, Directors and their support offices are restricted for a period of twenty years from their date of accession by the Bentley Historical Library. The restriction is subject to applicable law, most notably the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
    • Files restricted for 10 years -- records added to a record group in this category prior to January 1, 2001 are restricted for a period of ten years from the date of creation
    • Files restricted for 20 years -- records added to a record group in this category after January 1, 2001 are restricted for a period of 20 years from the date they were added to the record group.

Restricted files are indicated in the contents list with a restriction note indicating the restriction type and the date of expiration.

  • CR (Client/Patient records, 100 years from date of creation)
  • PR (Personnel related records, 30 years from date of creation)
  • SR (Student educational records, 75 years from date of creation)
  • ER (Executive Officers, Deans and Directors records, 20 years from the date the material added to the record group)

For further information on the restriction policy and placing FOIA requests for restricted material, consult the reference archivist at the Bentley Historical Library or the University of Michigan Freedom of Information Office website at:

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see:


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Scientific Club (University of Michigan) records, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


The Scientific Club is a scholarly and social dining club of University of Michigan faculty members from all fields. The club was founded in 1883 to promote collegiality and awareness of scholarly interests and research among the faculty.

The Scientific Club succeeded an earlier organization, the Ann Arbor Scientific Association, founded by several university faculty members and local residents in 1875. The association hosted gatherings at which papers were read on various topics, including "the elevation of the arctic regions, Indian mounds in Genesee County, the aromatic group in the chemistry of plants, the history of the theory of spontaneous generation, the colored snowfall in northern Michigan, and antiquities of Peru."[1]

The club apparently fell into difficulties due to a financial scandal involving two prominent members, Silas H. Douglas and Preston B. Rose, both chemistry professors. Subsequently, several members of the Scientific Association decided to form a new, less formal group, to be named the Scientific Club. Twenty men associated with the university were the original members, later to be joined by the university president as a member ex officio. The founders of the club hoped to keep their meetings simple and convivial, with academic exchange and refreshments consisting of apples, doughnuts, and sweet cider. There was to be minimal organizational structure and no rules, with one club officer, the "Principal Servant," handling organizational and scheduling responsibilities.

Over subsequent decades, the club continued its meetings more or less regularly on a monthly basis. Based on the amount of attention paid to it in numerous club histories, the most memorable feature of the events was the changing nature of the collation offered to members, ranging from roast beef sandwiches served without plates or silverware on laboratory tables to increasingly sophisticated dinners served, beginning in the 1960s, in the homes of members.

Guests may be invited to club meetings, but have been rare, although notable exceptions include W.H. Auden and the Danish explorer, World War II resistance fighter and quiz-show champion Peter Freuchen. [2] Women were not initially welcomed at the meetings, with the "hostess" of a meeting expected to provide a meal "in absentia," but members' wives gradually began to show themselves during the meal and even "to mingle briefly with the entire group." [3] Members' wives were invited to join in the dinner and meeting beginning in 1970. The first female members were named in 1977.


Source Notes:

1) "History of the Scientific Club (1977)," unpaged.

2) "History of the Scientific Club, 1932-1972 (Updated and annotated 1977)," unpaged.

3) Ibid.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The records of the Scientific Club include club attendance records and correspondence, histories of the club prepared by members on several occasions, papers presented by members at club meetings on academic topics, memorials of club members, and photographs of club events. The records are not complete, but span the history of the club, from 1883 to 2006, with no particular concentration. The collection is made up of four series: Club Histories, Papers Presented, Club Records, and Photographs.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Medicine -- Michigan.
  • Adams, James P. (James Pickwell), 1895-1969.
  • Bachman, Werner E. (Werner Emmanuel), 1901-1951.
  • Bates, Henry Moore, 1869-1949.
  • Bates, Marston, 1906-1974.
  • Bishop, William Warner, 1871-1955.
  • Boak, Arthur Edward Romilly, 1888-1962.
  • Cooley, Mortimer E. (Mortimer Elwyn), 1855-1944.
  • Dickinson, Edwin De Witt, 1887-1961.
  • Dow, Earle Wilbur, 1868-1946.
  • Drake, Joseph H. (Joseph Horace), 1860-1947.
  • Gomberg, Moses, 1866-1947.
  • Hayden, Joseph Ralston, 1887-1945.
  • Hobbs, William Herbert, 1864-1952.
  • Johnston, Clarence Thomas, 1872-1970.
  • Keniston, Hayward, 1883-
  • Lombard, Warren P. (Warren Plimpton), 1855-1939.
  • Moyers, Robert E., 1919-1996.
  • Patterson, George W. (George Washington), 1864-1930.
  • Reeves, Jesse Siddall, 1872-1942.
  • Van Tyne, Claude Halstead, 1869-1930.
  • Vaughan, Victor C. (Victor Clarence), 1851-1929.
  • Wead, Charles Kasson, 1848-1925.
  • Williams, Gardner Stewart, 1866-1931.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
  • Thomas, Calvin, 1854-1919.
  • University of Michigan. Scientific Association.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Club Histories [series]

The Club Histories and Memorials series (0.6 linear feet) consists of histories of the club and memorial notes composed in honor of deceased members. Numerous histories of the Scientific Club have been produced, revised and annotated by club members over the years. The various iterations of the club's histories contained in the collection are therefore somewhat redundant, but each new revision does provide significant new information about the activities of the club over time.

Club histories were composed or revised in 1914, 1932, 1972, 1975, 1977, and approximately 1998. Frequently editors of the club history were moved to express their sentimental attachment to the club in poetry as well as prose. The 1972 history includes three folders of biographical sketches of past members of the club.

There is also a tradition of submitting "memorials," or biographical reminiscences of deceased club members, many of which are preserved in this series. The memorials are organized in several folders, some arranged alphabetically and some chronologically.

Club History
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Centennial of the Ann Arbor Scientific Association by Clark Hopkins March 1975
Box   1  


Box   1  
Box   1  
Appendices to history 1972 (3 folders)
Box   1  
Histories and Related Correspondence
Memorials of Club Members
Box   1  
Box   1  
Box   1  
Papers Presented to the Club [series]

The Papers Presented series (0.4 linear feet) consists of papers on various academic topics presented by members at club meetings. Due to the prohibition on record keeping that is part of the club's tradition, most of the papers presented at meetings of the club have not been preserved. A very few of the papers are included in the collection, the bulk being papers submitted by Warren P. Lombard over his nearly forty-year membership, 1899-1937.

Box   1  
Calvin Thomas, "The Devil," 1893
Warren P. Lombard
Box   1  
"Reciprocal action of intramedullary center," December 9, 1899
Box   1  
"Thought transference," April 6, 1901
Box   1  
"Action of 2-joint muscles by the spring movement," October 25, 1902
Box   1  
"Horologic biped," March 26, 1904
Box   1  
"Physiological economy in nutrition," October 14, 1905
Box   1  
"Loss of Weight...," January 12, 1906
Box   1  
"Artificial respiration," February 19, 1910
Box   1  
"Some effects of high altitudes upon men," January 9, 1915
Box   1  
Influences affecting voluntary muscular work...," April 1, 1916
Box   1  
"The Pulse," December 1, 1917
Box   1  
"Some of the ways in which body employs its elastic tissues," December 21, 1918
Box   1  
"Ductless glands," (lecture cards) April 1920
Box   1  
"Method of regulation of secretion of digestive glands," May 28, 192 (lecture cards)
Box   1  
"Use of extensibility and elasticity to human body," December 16, 1922
Box   1  
Paper on circulation March 22, 1924
Box   1  
"Concerning smoking," January, 1926
Box   1  
"Extracts from the book R.v.R. by Hendrick van Loon," January 24, 1931
Box   1  
"The psychology of a collector," May 25, 1935
Box   1  
Paper concerning members of Medical School faculty April 24, 1937
Box   1  
James J. Duderstadt, "Federal Research Policy and the Future of the American Research University," March 16, 2000
Box   1  
E. Han Kim, "To Steal or Not to Steal," March 9, 2004
Club Records [series]

The Club Records series (1.0 linear feet) includes attendance logs from the club's earliest years, membership lists from various points in the club's history, and correspondence concerning potential new club members up to the first decade of the 21st century. Due to the club's constitutional aversion to record keeping, the club records in this collection are far from complete, and should be considered only as a sampling of the club's correspondence and activities that may or may not be representative.

Among the miscellanea included in the series are items of club property to which members attached special significance, including a purse of unknown origin containing some twentieth-century coins from various nations, and stock certificates from defunct mining companies in Arizona and Colorado.

Box   2  
Correspondence and miscellanea related to Club Property
Box   2  
Members' CVs (2 folders)
Box   2  
Minutes of Scientific Association Meetings 1875-1886 (1 volume)
Box   2  
Club records 1878-1885
Box   2  
Club records 1932-1934
Box   2  
Mailing lists 1914-1991
Box   2  
Attendance book 1901-1926
Box   2  
Correspondence and miscellanea 1904-1980 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Memoranda 1979-1995
Box   2  
Attendance book 1935-1958
Box   2  
Membership lists and correspondence 1955-2003 (26 folders)
Photographs [series]

The Photographs series (0.6 linear feet) includes a few reproductions of 19th-century photographs of club members, unidentified, and numerous photographs of club meetings dated from 1974 to 2006. Most of the latter are retained in the original developers' envelopes. The envelopes are labeled with the event they depict, but individual photographs are not labeled. The collection also includes two albums of photographs of club meetings with individual photographs labeled.

Box   3  
Photographs of club functions, labeled by envelope 1995-2006 (1 folder)
Box   3  
Photo album of club meetings with membership list 1974-1976
Box   3  
Photo album of club meetings 1977-1978