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Guide to the Philip Howard Photographs
of the Racquet and Tennis Club

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Joseph Ditta

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 19, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

Before moving in 1918 to its current home at 370 Park Avenue, the still males-only Racquet and Tennis Club (organized in 1875 and incorporated in 1890) occupied two previous Manhattan locations: 55 West 26th Street and 27 West 43rd Street. The latter, where it moved in 1891, was designed specifically for the club's purposes ("to encourage all manly sports among its members") by architect Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz. The area, which came to be called the "clubhouse district," included a number of other membership organizations, among them the Century Club, the Harvard Club, and the New York Yacht Club. Construction in 1912 of the 18-story Aeolian Hall on the south side of West 43rd Street blocked sunlight to the courts of the Racquet and Tennis Club, prompting the organization to move once more. In 1916 member Robert K. Goelet proposed building and leasing a new clubhouse to the organization on land he owned on the west side of Park Avenue between West 52nd and West 53rd Streets. The club accepted Goelet's plan, and through him commissioned a neo-Italian Renaissance style palazzo designed by architect William Symmes Richardson (1873–1931) of the prestigious firm of McKim, Mead & White. The building was constructed between 1916 and 1918 and officially occupied by the Racquet and Tennis Club on 15 April 1918. The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the exterior structure an official landmark on 8 May 1979. For more on the club's history and its building's design, see the designation report.

Attorney, author, and photographer Philip K. Howard has been a member of the Racquet and Tennis Club since 1983. To mark the centenary of the Club's occupancy of its Park Avenue building in 2018, Howard photographed the building's façade and interiors in color and black-and-white using a circa 1950s Burke & James 8 x 10-inch view camera. His process is more fully described on the final page of Racquet and Tennis Club, 1918-2018 (Volume 1 in the container list, below). For more on Howard, visit his website at