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The Stowaways (Organization): Records, 1907-1936


Main Entry
Stowaways (Organization)

Records, 1907-1936 (bulk 1914-1926).

Physical Description
11 boxes (7.4 linear ft.)
Printed ephemera, ca. 1000 items
32 photographs ; 25 x 35 cm. and smaller

Historical/Biographical Note
Joseph W. Bowles organized the Stowaways in New York City in 1907, and at its height the organization had about 80 members. Conceived as a dining club for convivial spirits interested in the graphic arts, it also sponsored art exhibits and visits to galleries, plays, etc. as well as outings at members’ country homes. The Stowaways was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York in 1927.

Scope and Contents
The records, originally stored in a steamer trunk, consist primarily of printed ephemera (invitations, meeting and exhibit announcements, etc.) and posters created by members concerning the club’s activities. Also included is a guest book (1917) containing signatures of such notable members as Bruce Rogers, William Edwin Rudge, Wilbur Macey Stone, Laurence Gomme, and Frederic Goudy as well as drawings of the New York City restaurants where the club met. Also, group photographs of club members at various outings and some correspondence and financial records. Includes three scrapbooks created by member Charles Dexter Allen of Stowaways activities between 1918 and 1922; official and unofficial “log books” of luncheon and dinner meetings, 1907-1918; and financial records and House Committee Minutes created by Wilbur Macey Stone, 1921-1922. Of note is a small scrapbooks of letters and postcards, written by Private Milton Mooshy to W. L. Harden during his service in the U. S. Army 1918-1919, and “luncheon boards” (place identifications) from 1934 and 1936 which contain original art work by members.

General Note
Charles Dexter Allen, Laurence Gomme, Frederic W. Goudy, Bruce Rogers and William Edwin Rudge were also members of the Grolier Club.

Finding Aid Note
Unpublished finding aid available in repository; folder level control.

Bowles, Joseph W.
Mooshy, Milton. Correspondence.
Allen, Charles Dexter.
Gomme, Laurence James, 1882-1974.
Goudy, Frederic (Frederic William), 1865-1931.
Harden, W. L. Correspondence.
Rogers, Bruce, 1870-1957.
Rudge, William Edwin, 1876-1931.
Stone, Wilbur Macey.

Stowaways (Organization)
Book clubs. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Printing. Societies, etc. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Printing industry. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Restaurants, lunch rooms, etc. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Manhattan (New York, N.Y.). Social life and customs. 20th century.

Autographs. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Drawings. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Ephemera. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Photographs. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Posters. New York (State). New York. 20th century.
Scrapbooks. New York (State). New York. 20th century.

Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street, New York, N.Y. 10022-1098.

Collection Inventory

[Note: The Stowaways was a very informal organization and this informality seems to be reflected in the records. It is unclear if the lack of official minutes and financial reports for most years reflects gaps in a record sequence or if the scanty records which do exist, most created by Wilbur Macey Stone, reflect Stone’s attempt to conduct the organization along more formal lines.]

I. Correspondence

Box 2 Correspondence (including ephemera), 1909-1923 [collected and some created by Wilbur Macey Stone, who served the organization variously as secretary and Treasurer during some of these years]

II. Ephemera (announcements, invitations, menus, etc., created by Stowaways) [Correspondence etc. found in these files has been retained there.]
Box 4 Undated 1907-1919
Box 4 1907-1919
Box 5 1920-1922 (includes folder on the “Color Organ”)
Box 6 1923-1926
Box 7 1927-1928
Box 8 Luncheon cards, 1934; 1936

III. Oversize Ephemera
Box 9 Undated (4 folders)
Box 10 1912-1928 (no material dated 1913 or 1926)
Box 11 Stowaway’s luncheon board, 1936 June 8 (6 signatures)
Box 11 Ephemera, 1908-1914 (pasted to 35 x 50 cm. boards; 53 items)

IV. Financial Records

Box 7 Fifth Avenue Bank. Bank book, 1915 May 17-1920 October 8

Box 2 Accounts, 1920/1921 (Wilbur Macey Stone)

V. Log Books and Records of Dinner and Luncheon Meetings
[Records of dinner and luncheon meetings, 1907-1917. These yearly records serve as unofficial minutes as each contains a very short account of major topics discussed.]
Box 1 Log Books, 1917-1921[signatures of attendees at luncheon and dinner meetings, often embellished with sketches of members; some menus included]
1921 November 26-1922 September 13
1922-1923 (disbound)
1927-1928 (disbound)

Box 1 VI. Membership List (1912)

VII. Minutes

Box 2 House Committee Minutes, 1921(Wilbur Macey Stone)

VIII. Miscellaneous

Box 7 Account of the founding and early days of the Stowaways. MS. Author unidentified. 6 p. (Photocopy only)

Box 1 Chalk drawing of unidentified person (mounted on board). Unsigned, undated.
(16 x 21 cm.)

Box 11 Drawing of a sailing ship (black and white reproduction). Signed A.S.C. Pasted to board (image area: 23 x 30 cm.)

Box 11 Drawing by Edward Caswell of Stowaways event, 1926 October 23. Stowaways around a
hand press (Photogravure reproduction)

Box 11 Gomme and Carl Purlington Rollins and others (4 copies)

IX. Photographs

Box 11 Rooftree Inn [garden restaurant favored by Stowaways at 5 West 28th Street] (signed “Mooney”; 25 x 35 cm.)

Box 11 Photographs from unidentified exhibition. 3 photographs from different angles (image area: 25 x 33 cm.)

Box 11 Six men gathered around a chessboard outdoors, undated (image area: 15 x 25 cm.)

Box 7 Tiffany Foundation outing [at estate of Louis Comfort Tiffany at Oyster Bay,
New York], 9 June 1923 (7 snapshots)

Box 11 Two men in chef’s costume at outdoor bar at a Stowaways outing, undated (25 x 34 cm.)

Box 7 Stowaways at upstate home of William Edwin Rudgem 28 May 1921 (7 snapshots)

Box 11 Stowaways at Burton Emmett’s farm, Nyack, N.Y., 3 October 1923 (hand-colored
Photograph; 17 x 24 cm.)

Box 7 7 snapshots

Box 7 Miscellaneous views (14 items)

X. Publications

Box 7 Stowaways Magazine
September 1917 (4 copies)
January 1919 (1 copy)
February 9, 1919 (mimeographed; 2 copies)
February 28, 1919 (broadside; 38 copies)
September 24, 1919 (9 copies)
January 26, 19920 (paste-up copy)

Box 2 Stowaways Magazine. “Pirated Edition,” 1920 (Vol. NIT/No Nudity) (paste-up)

Box 1 Stowaways Weekly News, 1923 [mock publication consisting of pasted-down items about Stowaways and their activities from other publications]

Box 7 Post-Appeal, 1932 Sept. 20 (1 copy)

XI. Scrapbooks

Box 1 Scrapbooks of letters and postcards sent by Private Milton Mooshy to W. L. Harden and Harden’s Replies (1918-1919); created while Mooshy was serving in the U. S. Army in France.
Box 3 Scrapbooks created by Charles Dexter Allen [include lists of members; Christmas cards received; also menus, invitations, announcements, etc. Allen was “Skipper” or president of the club in 1917]
Fall 1921 to early 1922

Some Additional Notes on the Stowaways

Joseph W. Bowles, founder of the Stowaways, had been editor of the magazine Modern Art in the Midwest when he first met Bruce Rogers in the 1890s. When the magazine passed to new ownership, Bowles was transferred to Boston, and there he soon found a congenial circle of book people. A few years later he came to New York, where he worked for the Forest Press and later for the Printing House of William Edwin Rudge. Finding it much harder to meet like-minded people in New York, in the fall of 1907 Bowles invited eight men whom he thought would enjoy knowing each other to have dinner at Café Boulevard (Second Avenue and 10th Street). The group included Charles Dexter Allen, Wilbur Macey Stone and Frederic W. Goudy. Bowles proposed a dining club and asked the eight present to invite congenial colleagues and friends oriented towards the graphic arts. At its height the Stowaways comprised about 65 members and met five or six times a month, sometimes holding mid-weekly and Saturday lunches at designated restaurants. Some members were also book and print collectors.

The group was first conceived as a dining club, but within a few years some of the Stowaways’ announcements described it as “an organization of art workers and art lovers.” The club never had a formal clubhouse but made use of such venues as the Advertising Club at 47 West 25th Street (ca. 1919) and the Art Center on East 56th Street (1920s). The club met at many restaurants over the years, and as such its announcements form an informal directory of eating places from Harlem to the Lower East Side. Two favorites, the scene of weekly Wednesday and Saturday lunches, were Oscar and Billy’s at 58 West 36th Street and the Rooftree Inn at 5 West 28th Street. The latter had an outdoor garden ornamented with classical columns and statuary taken from buildings which had been demolished. Although the restaurant was demolished in the late 1920s, the collection includes a photograph of its outdoor garden.

The Saturday lunches were discontinued in the years after World War I, and one announcement about this notes that many Stowaways members now owned automobiles and lived in or spent weekends in the suburbs and the country. One positive result of this phenomenon was a number of Stowaways excursions to members’ country homes.

Since these records appear incomplete, there is no documentation about the dissolution of the Stowaways. The Typophiles, a New York City organization of those active in or devoted to the graphic arts, was formed in 1932. Some of its early members were also members of the Stowaways. Since 1935 the Typophiles has carried on a distinguished publishing program through its Typophile Chapbooks. Like the Stowaways, it also sponsors luncheons and outings, though on a reduced scale from the frequent get-togethers that characterized the Stowaways at their peak.
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