On November 15, 1890 a club organized at the home of Edward W. Chapin, and its first members were names responsible for Holyoke’s early social, political, and economic prosperity: Pearsons, Boothe, Welwood, Hawes, Cushing, Skinner, Reed, Whiting, Chapin, Hubbard, Loomis, Esleeck, Lawrence, Judd, and Cowan. Known simply as “The Club,” this group primarily focused on literary endeavors, reading and writing poems and essays which examined human spirit and resolve.
From 1890 to 1902, James Cowan was acting secretary for The Club, keeping a detailed journal of the agenda, minutes, and current events that affected their meetings. Cowan was also the private assistant to William Whiting later in his life, after having a successful career as an author, a journalist for the Republican, and a manager at the Milton Bradley Company. His records fulfilled administrative tasks, but also provided a personal window into the minds of the great industrialists and entrepreneurs in Holyoke’s past.
In addition to Cowan’s and subsequent secretary's journals, The Club Collection consists of letters, programs, schedules, photographs, speeches and essays, and historical sketches of the organization and its members.
The Holyoke Public Library would like to thank Wayne Gass and Dick Towne for their donation of this collection.