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Guide to the Records of the Harmonie Club
1852-1995 (Bulk 1860 - 1935)
 MS 282

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Peter Asch

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on September 25, 2013
Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Harmonie Club Records
Dates: 1852 - 1947 (Bulk 1860 - 1935)
Abstract: The Records of the Harmonie Club document a German Jewish New York society from its founding in 1852 until the middle of the twentieth century. The collection contains minutes, scrapbooks, and photos.
Quantity: 12.0 Linear feet (99 volumes, plus 5 oversize folders)
Location note: Manuscript cage
Call Phrase: MS 282

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Historical Note

The Gesellschaft Harmonie, later The Harmonie Club, was founded on October 16, 1852 by N. Gutman, M. Werner, H. Beer, H. Cohn, Chs. Werner, and Sigmund Werner to create a "mutually beneficial entertainment, occasional singing entertainments, lectures, etc" for recent German immigrants. The first meeting of the club was held November 8, 1852 in a rented room on Broome Street with thirty-nine members in attendence. Between 1852 and 1867, the burgeoning club was regularly moved as the membership outgrew each rented space. After this nomadic period the club purchased land at 45 West Forty-Second Street to erect a permanent location and raised enough funds to have architect Henry Fernbach design the building.

The growth of the club was supported through dues and the creation of a nomination process to accept new members. To govern the organization, the club held monthly meetings run by elected officers. During the first ten years of existence the group held balls, lectures, and other social events throughout New York City. The tenth anniversary was celebrated on October 18, 1863 with a banquet and ball attended by over one hundred and fifty members. Two years later the club was incorporated as, "The Harmonie Social Club of the City of New York" with two re-incorporations in 1867 and 1894. The first re-incorporation altered the provisions to allow the club to own property and the building on Forty-Second Street. The latter reincorporation was to change the name to "The Harmonie Club." The members continued to use the former name, Gesellschaft Harmonie, until the use of German as the official language was changed to English in 1893.

The large building erected on West Forty-Second allowed the Harmonie Club to host inhouse events, and for the next forty years the club regularly scheduled events such as dances, lectures, concerts, theatrical performances, billiards, cards, and bowling. In 1891, the Admission Committee was created, removing the task of approving and voting on new members from the general monthly meetings. The turn of the century brought several changes to the club. These changes included the first events for non-married members, declining interest in large social gatherings such as dances, and increasing property taxes along Forty-Second Street. In response to these pressures, the decision was made to relocate to a more suitable building. The club solicited donations from its members to build a new Harmonie Club House at Four East Sixtieth Street. The building was officially opened in December 1905 at a banquet attended by over four hundred members.

To meet the changing interests of its members, the Harmonie Club purchased the North Shore Country Club on Long Island in 1914. According to an April 1914 President's Report: "The trend of time is toward the country club and healthy outdoor activity. With the increasing tendency to spread the weekends in suburban surrounding, with the increased use of the automobile, and with the increased desire for outdoor exercise, especially on the part of the younger generation." After several years of renovation the country club opened for Harmonie Club members only. This arrangement was designed to both serve and increase interest in the parent organization. Over the years, the North Shore Country Club has hosted several tournaments and still operates today as a private course.

The growth of the Harmonie Club was slowed by the outbreak of World War I. This was because of the club's German affiliation and the wartime service of current and potential members. The Club supported the United States' campaign through hosting events for enlisted men and their families. In additon, fifty of the club's members served in the war effort. Following the war, the club prospered reaching a record high of eight hundred and fifty members in 1929. This number was cut in half by 1934 with the onset of the Great Depression. The Board of Governors began a large scale renovation of the building on Sixtieth Street under the expertise of architect Benjamin Morris in the late 1930's. The new facilities along with a series of changes in the club's bylaws were designed to modernize the organization and did attract a large number of new and young members. The growth of the Club was halted in 1941 with the American entry into World War II. The Harmonie Club continued to operate throughout the war and resumed its philanthropic programs from World War I, such as hosting functions for enlisted men. Following the war, the Club's membership returned to pre-Depression numbers. The Harmonie Club still exists today and regularly hosts social functions as well as educational and entertainment events.

Sources: One Hundred Years The Harmonie Club, New York : Harmonie Club of the City of New York, 1952.

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Scope and Content Note

The Harmonie Club Records (1852 - 1947) consist of eleven linear feet of material. The bulk of the papers dates from 1860 until 1935 and consists primarily of minutes and scrapbooks, but also includes photographic materials, membership directories, logs, and other printed materials. The collection records the day to day club proceedings and captures the administrative functions from its founding until after World War II. The majority of the early documents are in handwritten German from 1852 until 1892. Though the founding members were almost exclusively New York Jews of German decent, the records contain little overt discussion of the Jewish American and immigrant experiences.

Arrangement

The documents have been arranged into the following eight series. The collection is arranged chronologically within each series or subseries.

  1. Series I: Minutes, 1852 - 1934
  2. Series II: Scrapbooks, 1869 - 1927
  3. Series III: Membership Books and Candidate Registers, 1852 - 1947
  4. Series IV: Visitor Logs, 1867 - 1883
  5. Series V: Constitutions and Statutes, 1855 - 1884
  6. Series VI: Bills and Receipts, 1857 - 1869
  7. Series VII: Portrait Books, 1910 - 1912
  8. Series VIII: Anniversary Books, 1952

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Austrian, Carl J.
  • Binge, Julius
  • Calman, M. Elmin
  • Hieronymus, Carl R.
  • Werner, Sigmund

Document Type

  • Annual reports
  • Bill (financial)
  • Clipping
  • Correspondence
  • Ephemera
  • Financial records
  • Leaflets
  • Ledgers
  • Minutes
  • Pamphlets
  • Photographs
  • Programs
  • Receipts
  • Scrapbooks

Subject Organizations

  • Harmonie Club of the City of New York.
  • North Shore Country Club, Inc.

Subject Topics

  • Clubs--New York (State)--New York
  • Jewish perspectives (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.)
  • New York (State)--History--1865-1950

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Donation, Harmonie Club, 1970, 1989, 2012.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to twenty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. (Researchers may not accrue unused copy amounts from previous days.)

Use Restrictions

Permission to quote from this collection in a publication must be requested and granted in writing. Send permission requests, citing the name of the collection from which you wish to quote, to:

Manuscripts Curator
The New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as the Harmonie Club Records, The New-York Historical Society.

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Container List

Series I: Minutes, 1852 - 1995

Scope and Contents note

Bound ledgers of minutes run from the Harmonie Club's founding in 1852 until 1995, with gaps from the mid-1930's to the mid-1950's. The series has been split into four subseries: General Minutes, Secretary Minutes, Board of Governors Minutes, and the final subseries contains all other committee and club minutes. The ledgers are entitled by the wording on the spine followed by anything written on the cover. In the event the cover is missing or blank, the volume is listed as the subseries name. The majority of the books have additional documents stuck in-between the pages or cover; for the most part these are directly related to the function and period encompassed in the ledger. Where necessary documents have been removed from the pages, foldered, and placed in the back cover. The minutes are handwritten until 1915, but items pasted into the books are a mix of typed and handwritten document throughout the series.

Subseries 1: General Minutes, 1852 - 1995

Scope and Contents note

This subseries contains the earliest minutes of the Harmonie Club and contain a variety of financial information, membership lists, and reports. Several of the volumes have been supplemented by glued in quarterly budgets, other minutes, Tage-Ordnung (Agendas), reports from Club officers, committee minutes, correspondence, and other documents. The majority of the General Minutes are in German, but beginning in 1865 with a Tage-Ordnung there is a slow switch to English. From 1865 to the 1880s only glued in materials are in English, but by 1890 minutes handwritten in German becomes increasingly scarce. The fourth book in the subseries contains a number of notable documents including the membership laws and the legal forms required to remain operating as a social club during Prohibition. The presence of such documents from the 1920s appears to be a filing mistake.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 1 General Minutes
1852 October 16 - 1859 April 3
Volume: 2 Protocol - Gesellschaft Harmonie 1859
1859 April 5 - 1865 January 8
Volume: 3 Protocol - Harmonie Social Club of the City of New York 1865
1865 January 8 - 1867 July 31
Volume: 4 Protocoll - 1870 Gesellschat Harmonie
1870 September 30 - 1920 July 8
Volume: 5 Protocoll - 1875 Gesellschaft Harmonie
1875 July 23 - 1882 October 1
Volume: 6 Protocoll - 1882 Gesellschaft Harmonie
1882 October 22 - 1888 May 26
Volume: 7 Protocoll - 1887 Gesellschaft Harmonie
1888 April 8- 1894 September 27

Subseries 2: Secretary Minutes, 1894 - 1934

Scope and Contents note

The Secretary Minutes are almost exclusively in English and the majority of the information is on loose paper that has been pasted into the ledgers. For the most part the books are in good condition, but there is some yellowing of the glue that has adversely affected the paper. Only a small amount of material are archetypal minutes taken during board proceeding. Instead the ledgers capture the organization's function through committee reports, membership candidates, presidential addresses, bills, revised constitutions, and budgetary information. Includes cards with the name and dates of members who died. Starting April 1922 the ledger is switched to a ringed binder from bound pages, allowing the minutes to be typed on loose paper and inserted using a holepunch instead of having to glue in typed minutes.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 8 Harmony Club Sect'y
1894 October 18 - 1896 April 12
Volume: 9 Secretary Minutes
1896 April 16 -1897 August 12
Volume: 10 Harmony Club Sect'y
1897 September 9 - 1899 April 9
Volume: 11 Minutes 1899 Harmonie Club Secretary
1899 April 13 -1901 April 14
Volume: 12 Minutes 1901 Harmonie Club Secretary
1901 April 18 - 1903 April 7
Volume: 13 Minutes 1903 Harmonie Club Secretary
1903 April 10 - 1906 March 22
Volume: 14 Minutes 1906 Harmonie Club Secretary
1906 - 1909
Volume: 15 Secretary Harmonie Club
1909 April 11 - 1912 April 14
Volume: 16 Minutes Secretary April 1912 - March 1915 Harmonie Club
1912 April 18 - 1915 March 15
Volume: 17 Minutes Secretary Harmonie Club
1922 April 9 - 1929 December 19
Volume: 18 Minutes Secretary Harmonie Club
1930 January 23 - 1934 February 16

Subseries 3: Board of Governors Minutes, 1915 - 1995

Scope and Contents note

Likely the following minutes are the Secretary's Minutes of the Board of Governors meetings. These minutes fill the time gap in the previous subseries and are identical to the last two of the Secretary ledgers in both their physical and intellectual properties.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 19 Harmonie Club Minutes Board of Governors
1915 April 11 -1917 March 22
Volume: 20 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1917 April 8 - 1919 March 23
Volume: 21 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1919 April 13 - 1922 March 23
Volume: 22 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1956 January - 1966 March
Volume: 22 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1966 April - 1968 January
Volume: 22 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1968 February - 1969 December
Volume: 23 Minutes Board of Governors Harmonie Club
1970 January 28 - 1982 April 18
Volume: 22 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1986 January - 1991 March
Volume: 22 Minutes Board Of Governors Harmonie Club
1991 May - 1995 May

Subseries 4: Other Committee and Club Minutes, 1915 - 1931

Scope and Contents note

The final subseries is comprised of all other minutes found in the Harmonie Club Collections. Most of the volumes are the records of particular committees, but only represent a short duration of their existence. Reports and recommendations made by the committees can be found throughout the previous three subseries, often glued into the ledgers. Two of the volumes are the records of clubs founded within the Harmonie Club. The Thursday Evening Bowling Club was one of many bowling clubs founded to ensure members would have exclusive rights to the alleys located inside the Harmonie Club's building on a particular night. Each club was named by the day of the week its members bowled. The Thursday Evening Bowling Clubs records include meeting minutes, membership lists, correspondence, and its own constitution. The Minutes of the Board of Governors of the North Shore Country Club is composed of typed papers inserted into a three hole binder. The Country Club was established March 13, 1914 for the benefit of the Harmonie Club members and its Board of Governors was composed of Harmonie Club officers. The minutes include budgest, expenses, renovation plans, and description of the grounds.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 23 Building Committee Minutes
1865 April -1867 May
Volume: 24 Book 36 Protocoll Directoren fur Fiscal Jahr von (Fiscal and Budgetary Committee Minutes)
1871- 1877
Volume: 25 Building Committee Minutes
1896 March 24 - 1898 February 3
Volume: 26 Committee on Site and Building Minutes
1902 November 20 - 1905 September 21
Volume: 27 House Committee Minutes
1906 April - 1911 October
Volume: 28 Minutes Board of Governors North Shore Country Club, Inc
1913 March 31 - 1918 November 26
Volume: 29 Gesellschaft Harmonie Aufnahme-Comite Protokolle (Harmonie Society Admission Committee Minutes)
1891 April 18 - 1899 November 29
Volume: 30 Admission Committee Minutes
1900 - 1906
Volume: 31 Minutes Committee on Admissions Harmonie Club
1906 April 17 - 1907 May 12
Volume: 32 Minutes Committee on Admissions Harmonie Club
1913 September 30 - 1931 April 6
Volume: 33 Minutes Committee on Admissions
1973 - 1987
Volume: 34 Minutes Committee on Admissions
1988 - 1989
Volume: 35 Kegel (Bowling) Club Records
1874 - 1876
Volume: 36 Kegel (Bowling) Club Records
1876-1878
Volume: 37 Minutes and Records of the Thursday Evening Bowling Club of the Harmonie Club
1899 October - 1906
Volume: 33 Kegel (Bowling) Club correspondence

Arrangement note

This is loose correspondence relating to the Kegel Club that is foldered in a box with material from Volume 33

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Series II: Scrapbooks, 1869 - 1965

Scope and Contents note

The Scrapbooks compose the second largest series of the collection and are bound books organized chronologically. Each volume encompasses several years and is composed of announcements, invitations, advertisements, brochures, playbills, postcards, mailings, programs, and menus all stapled or glued onto the pages and pertaining to the Harmonie Club. An unknown person wrote notes in the margins providing dates, cost of events, addresses, and other information. Until 1903 the majority of the handwriting and pasted in ephemera are in German. Several of the books contain loose pages and where needed such items have been foldered and placed into the back cover.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 38 Scrapbook
1869 October - 1878 April
Volume: 39 Scrapbook
1878 September - 1889 February
Volume: 40 Scrapbook
1890 - 1899
Volume: 41 Scrapbook
1899 - 1903
Volume: 42 Scrapbook
1904 March -1910 December
Volume: 43 Scrapbook
1912 April-1914 January
Volume: 44 Scrapbook
1914 April-1915 July
Volume: 45 Scrapbook
1915 March- 1916 December
Volume: 46 Scrapbook
1916-1918
Volume: 47 Scrapbook
1918 October 7 - 1920 April
Volume: 48 Scrapbook
1923 January -1924 October
Volume: 49 Scrapbook
1924 November - 1925 December
Volume: 50 Scrapbook
1926 January - 1927 March
Volume: 51 Scrapbook
1930 November-1932 December
Volume: 52 Scrapbook
1958 April-1960 November
Volume: 53 Scrapbook
1963-1965

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Series III: Membership Books and Candidate Registers, 1852 - 1995

Scope and Contents note

The Membership Registers and Candidate Registers are composed of several bound ledgers running from the Harmonie Club's founding until after World War II. Each book is organized alphabetically using lettered tabs. Both types contain columned pages and provide each entry with a membership number, name, address, admission date, and notes. The notes sections contain various remarks pertaining to the individual. This series also includes Membership Statistics and Rosters for that continue into the 1990's.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 54 List of Members
1852 - 1871
Volume: 55 List of Members
1859 - 1884
Volume: 56 Membership Log (by date)
1852-1908
Volume: 57 Membership Log (alphabetical)
1850's - 1920's
Volume: 58 Gasellschaft Harmonie Mitglieder-Liste (Membership list)
1859
Volume: 59 Mitglieder-Liste Gasellschaft Harmonie
1864
Volume: 60 List of Candidates
1884 - 1896
Volume: 61 List of Candidates
1892 - 1905
Volume: 62 List of Candidates
1896 - 1898
Volume: 63 List of Candidates
1904 - 1923
Volume: 64 List of Candidates
1923 - 1947
Volume: 65 Members Ledger
1954
Volume: 66 Membership Statistics
1960-1995
Volume: 67 Membership Roster
1906-1979

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Series IV: Visitor Logs, 1867 - 1921, 1977

Scope and Contents note

The Visitor logs are handwritten entries of visitors to the Harmonie Club. They contain the date, name, address, who the person was visiting going to see, and any remarks. Some ledgers are arranged alphabetically by visitor while others are arranged chronologically by date of visit. Also included is the Guest Book for the Club's 125th Anniversary Party.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 68 Register Zu Fremdenbuch (Visitors Register)
1867
Volume: 69 Fremdenbuch Der Gesellschaft Harmonie (Visitors Register)
1878-1883
Volume: 70 Visitor Book
1883-1893
Volume: 71 Visitor Book
1893-1901
Volume: 72 Visitor Book
1901-1906
Volume: 73 Visitor Book
1906-1909
Volume: 74 Visitor Book
1909 - 1913
Volume: 75 Visitor Book
1914-1920
Volume: 76 Visitor Book
1921
Volume: 77 Guest book, 125th Anniversary Party
1977 November 12

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Series V: Constitutions and Statutes, 1855 - 1884

Scope and Contents note

The Constitutions and Statues series is composed of yearly editions of the Harmonie Club's constitution and regulations handwritten in German and signed by all active members. Three of the ledgers are titled Statuten Buch Gesellschaft Harmonie (Statutes Book Society Harmonie) and contain only one year each. The fourth is Verwaltungs Verordnungen (Administration Regulations) and maps the changes made to the governing rules over several years.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 78 Statuten Buch Gesellschaft Harmonie
1855 January
Volume: 79 Statuten der Gesellschaft Harmonie
1860 April
Volume: 80 Verwaltungs Verordnungen
1867 January -1883 January
Volume: 81 Statuten der Gesellschaft Harmonie
1884 April 6

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Series VI: Financial Records and Annual Reports, 1857 - 1991

Scope and Contents note

This series contains handwritten bills and receipts pertaining to the founding of the society, including expenditures to procure space, renovate the building, purchase supplies, and other expenditures during the early years of the Harmonie Club's existence. There are also account books and appraisals from later years, as well as copies of the President's Annual Report from 1951 to 1960.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 82 Bills and Receipts Gesellschaft Harmonie
1857 April -1864 May
Volume: 83 Bills and Receipts Gesellschaft Harmonie
1867 February- 1869
Volume: 84 Inventory
1859
Volume: 85 Accounts (Membership dues?)
1893 - 1903
Volume: 86 Accounts
1953-1960
Volume: 87 Accounts
1957 - 1967
Volume: 88 Accounts
1978 - 1982
Volume: 89 Accounts
1982 - 1987
Volume: 90 Accounts
1987 - 1991
Volume: 91 Appraisal
1919 November 15
Volume: 92 Appraisal
1926 May 4
Volume: 93 Appraisal
1927 -1930, 1968
Volume: 93 Specifications, Alterations to Harmonie Club
1967
Volume: 93 Restaurant Operations
1948-1952, 1954
Volume: 93 Union negotiations
1949 - 1951
Volume: 93 President's Annual Reports
1951 - 1960

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Series VII: Portrait Books, 1910 - 1915

Scope and Contents note

The two portrait books were compiled by Frank C. Baker and are composed of photographs of the Harmonie Club Members. One hundred fifty-nine of these portraits were taken by Alman & Co. and the remaining forty-nine are of unknown provenance. Each page of the volume has several photograph windows mounted with the name of each member below their image. Volume One contains an alphabetic index of the members with page numbers as the photos are not arranged in the same manner. The second volume continues the page numbering from the first and is encompassed in Volume One's index.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 94 Portraits of Members Volume One
1910
Volume: 95 Portraits of Members Volume Two
1912
Volume: 96 Temporary Portfolio of Member Portraits
1915

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Series VIII: Photographs and Ephemera

Scope and Contents note

This series include photographs (mainly groups portraits) and loose ephemera, such as menus and invitations, along with a few architectural drawings from a planned 1981 renovation.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 97 Menus and other ephemera
1893, 1914, undated
Box: Oversize small Menus and other ephemera
1903, 1930, undated
Volume: 97 Photographs
undated
Box: Oversize small Mounted Photographs (2 folders)
1913, undated
Folder: Oversize small Banquet Photographs
Box: Oversize small Architectural Drawings
1981

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Series IX: Publications

Scope and Contents note

This series includes copies of the club's newsletter, ""The Harmonie," which was published from 1963 to 1965. Also included are two copies of One Hundred Years, a history of the club from its founding in 1852 until the 1950's.

Container 1     Title Date
Volume: 97 "The Harmonie"
1963 - 1965
Volume: 98, 99 One hundred years, 1852-1952 : the Harmonie Club.

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