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Club History

Rittenhouse Club was founded in 1875 by a group of distinguished Philadelphians as the “Social Art Club.” The main co-founders were Dr. William Pepper Jr., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and S. Weir Mitchell, a prominent physician and novelist.  They wished to create a club that would allow businessmen, intellectuals, and artists to socialize in a congenial, friendly atmosphere.  Prominent members have included Senator George Wharton Pepper, architect Frank Furness, archaeologist Charles H. Colket, novelist Owen Wister, Penn law professor Algernon Sidney Biddle, physician and author S. Weir Mitchell, shipping tycoon Clement Griscom, Shakespeare scholar Horace H. Furness, financier E.T. Stotesbury, and media magnate Walter Annenberg.

 

For over 100 years, the Rittenhouse Club -- renamed after its move from Chestnut Street to the north side of Rittenhouse Square  in 1888-- was a prominent fixture in the social and cultural life of the city of Philadelphia.  After meeting at the Merion Cricket Club from 1993 to 2009, the Rittenhouse Club returned to permanent quarters in Center City as a tenant club of the Acorn Club.  The Rittenhouse Club retains its original mission as a “social art” club.  Members gather at luncheons and evening events to socialize, listen to interesting speakers on cultural/intellectual topics, enjoy musical performances, and classic films. Members of the Club also prepare their own presentations on subjects that interest them.

For additional historical perspective and images, please read: The Rittenhouse Club: Henry James' Favorite Perch from PhillyHistory.org.

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The Rittenhouse Club, as shown in 1924

1811 Walnut Street

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