The Family (club)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search
Entrance to 545 Powell, San Francisco, showing a design etched in glass: a large bird and its four babies in a nest, surrounded by a buckled belt that reads "The Family · · Keep Young · ·"

The Family is a private club in San Francisco, California, formed in 1901 by newspapermen who left the Bohemian Club. The club maintains a clubhouse in the city as well as rural property 35 miles to the south in Woodside.

An exclusive, invitation only, all-male club, it calls new members "Babies", regular members "Children" and the club president "Father". The club rules forbid the use of its facilities or services for the purposes of trade or business. Furthermore, each member must certify that he will not deduct any part of club payments as business expenses for federal or state income tax purposes. The Family sponsors charity projects such as a hospital in Guatemala.[1]

History[edit]

The Bohemian Club was formed by and for journalists, and included a number who worked for the San Francisco Examiner and other papers owned by William Randolph Hearst. In 1901, Ambrose Bierce wrote a poem that seemed to predict or even call for President William McKinley's death by an assassin's bullet, and the Hearst chain ran the piece. When McKinley was assassinated shortly thereafter, opponents of Hearst created a furor over the poem's publication, ending Hearst's ambitions for the US presidency and causing the Hearst newsmen to resign from the Bohemian Club in protest over the Bohemian Club's banning of Hearst newspapers from the premises. A group of 14 reporters, editors, and other resigned members formed their own club and called it "The Family".[2]

Early public activities by the club included the sponsoring of a horse race called the "Family Club Handicap" held in Oakland in 1904. A racehorse named "Fossil" took first place, receiving a silver cup from the Family as well as US$1,000 from the California Jockey Club.[3]

The Family clubhouse was originally located at 228 Post Street, but the building was lost two days after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in the subsequent calamitous fire, though not before serving as temporary rest station and meal place for earthquake victims such as the bereft Conreid Metropolitan Opera Company.[4] The club rebuilt at the corner of Powell and Bush Streets, and still conducts meetings at this site two blocks from the peak of Nob Hill.

The Family's clubhouse has served as a venue for musical events such as an annual benefit for San Francisco Sinfonietta[5] as well as black-tie dinner lectures by various experts and personages such as Stanlee Gatti speaking to benefit horticultural programs[6] and Charles M. Schulz appearing to promote the Cartoon Art Museum.[7]

The Family Farm[edit]

The Family conducts annual social events among the redwood and oak trees and open meadows at its rural property on the San Francisco peninsula. The Family Farm entrance is at 1400 Portola Road in Woodside.

In 1909, Family club members decided upon the Woodside location for their rural getaways. While summering there in 1912, club members of a variety of religious backgrounds including Judaism, Protestantism and Catholicism pooled their resources to build a Catholic church in nearby Portola Valley: Our Lady of the Wayside Church. Architect member James R. Miller assigned the design of the church to a promising young draftsman at his firm, Timothy L. Pflueger. This was Pflueger's first architectural commission, and was the start of his interaction with the Family. Pflueger would soon join the Family to become a member in good standing.[2]

An annual "Flight Play", as well as a number of other stage and musical performances, are written and performed by club members. Plays aren't published or performed beyond the privacy of the club, and all original written materials are the sole property of the Club.[8] One handwritten musical score, Thine Enemy, composed by Meredith Willson for the 1937 Flight Play 20 years before The Music Man was staged on Broadway, will be donated by The Family to a museum in the composer's birthplace, Mason City, Iowa.[9] Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco were guests of Timothy Pflueger's at the Farm in 1930. The two leftist Mexican muralists argued forcefully with one another about art during one visit.[10]

Famous members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ SFGate. The Chosen Few: S.F.'s exclusive clubs carry on traditions of fellowship, culture – and discrimination. Adair Lara. July 18, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c Poletti, Therese; Tom Paiva (2008). Art Deco San Francisco: The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-56898-756-0. 
  3. ^ New York Times. December 11, 1904. Fossil Won Family Club Handicap.
  4. ^ Calisphere. University of California. Ernest Goerlitz. Story of the San Francisco earthquake and conflagration as far as it affected the Conreid Metropolitan Opera Company April 18th, 19th and 20th, 1906.
  5. ^ SF Sinfonietta. Events calendar
  6. ^ SFGate. Benefits: Elton John to rock first Bridge School gala. Catherine Bigelow. October 22, 2006.
  7. ^ Animation World Network. Chow Down With Charles M. Schulz. July 12, 1996.
  8. ^ American Association for the Advancement of Science, Pacific Coast Committee (1915). Nature and Science on the Pacific Coast. P. Elder. p. 258. 
  9. ^ Globe Gazette, February 17, 2007. John Skipper, " 'The Family' plans to bring original Willson score home." Retrieved on August 15, 2009.
  10. ^ a b Smithsonian. Archives of American Art. Research Collections, Oral History Interviews. John Emmett Gerrity interview, 1965 Jan. 20
  11. ^ a b c San Francisco Genealogy. The Family Club. 1905 Officers and Members
  12. ^ Rootsweb Genealogy. Ancestry. Colbert Coldwell
  13. ^ Berkeley Alumni. California magazine, March/April 2007. Sather Gate. Keeping in Touch. 1940.
  14. ^ ArchitectDB. Clarence Mayhew
  15. ^ Timothy Pflueger letters. Undated, received from Diego Rivera.
  16. ^ "Sterling a poet? Read wife's charges in divorce plea." San Francisco Call, December 16, 1913. Part 2, page 9.
  17. ^ Calisphere. University of California. Dinner by H. Van Boenen Torchiana, Commissioner from Netherlands