Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Franklin's 2nd Long Stay in Philadelphia Topic 646: Topic 234 : Topic 646 : Blog 4327 : Blog 4318 :
In 1754 Franklin took a noteworthy carriage trip to the Albany Conference, accompanied by fellow delegates Isaac Norris and Proprietor John Penn. He composed the first political cartoon "Join or Die" for that purpose. Notes for the trip on the blank pages of "Poor Richards Almanac", now at Rosenbach Museum. The other delegates rejected the plan, but he never wavered. Blog 4318 : Topic 270 :

New Topic 13 2020-09-10 15:40:19 Franklin Inn Club : Topic 13 :
Hidden in a back street near the theaters, this little club is the center of the city's literary circle. It enjoys above-average food in surroundings suggesting Samuel Johnson's club in London.

Particular Sights to See:Center City
Taxi drivers tell tourists that Center City is a "shining city on a hill". During the Industrial Era, the city almost urbanized out to the county line, and then retreated. Right now, the urban center is surrounded by a semi-deserted ring of former factories.

Literary Philadelphia
Literary

Philadelphia Reflections (6)
New topic 2017-02-06 21:23:28 description

New topic 601: TITLE 601:Benjamin Franklin's Genealogy: Volume:
DESCRIPTION: 4316,4317, 1244,5371

The Franklin Inn

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Founded by S. Weir Mitchell as a literary society, this little club hidden on Camac Street has been the center of Philadelphia's literary life. {bottom quote}

Camac Street is a little alley running parallel to 12th and 13th Streetsin their day the little houses there have had some pretty colorful occupants. The three blocks between Walnut and Pine Streets became known as the "street of clubs", although during Prohibition they had related activities, and before that housed other adventuresome occupations. In a sense, this section of Camac Street is in the heart of the theater district, with the Forrest and Walnut Theaters around the corner on Walnut Street, and several other theaters plus the Academy of Music nearby on Broad Street. On the corner of Camac and Locust was once the Princeton Club, once an elegant French Restaurant, and just across Locust Street from it was once the Celebrity Club. The Celebrity club was once owned by the famous dancer Lillian Reis, about whom much has been written in a circumspect tone, because she successfully sued the Saturday Evening Post for a million dollars for defaming her good name.

{The Franklin Inn}
The Franklin Inn

Camac between Locust and Walnut is paved with wooden blocks instead of cobblestones because horses' hooves make less noise that way. The unpleasant fact of this usage is that horses tend to wet down the street, and in hot weather you know they have been there. Along this section of such a narrow street, where you can hardly notice it until you are right in front, is the Franklin Inn. The famous architect William Washburn has inspected the basement and bearing walls, and reports that the present Inn building is really a collection of several -- no more than six -- buildings. Inside, it looks like an 18th Century coffee house; most members would be pleased to hear the remark that it looks like Dr. Samuel Johnson's famous conversational club in London. The walls are covered with pictures of famous former members, a great many of the cartoon caricatures by other members. There are also hundreds or even thousands of books in glass bookcases. This is a literary society, over a century old, and its membership committee used to require a prospective member to offer one of his books for inspection, and now merely urges donations of books by the author-members. Since almost any Philadelphia writer of any stature was a member of this club, its library represents a collection of just about everything Philadelphia produced during the 20th Century. Ross & Perry, Publishers has brought out a book containing the entire catalog produced by David Holmes, bound. So there.

The club has daily lunch, with argument, at long tables, and two weekly round table discussions with an invited speaker. Once a month there is an evening speaker at a club dinner, with the rule that the speaker must be a member of the club. Once a year, on Benjamin Franklin's birthday, the club holds an annual meeting and formal dinner. At that dinner, the custom has been for members to give toasts to three people, all doctors if you include Dr. Franklin, Dr.S.Weir Mitchell the founder, and Dr. J. William White who dedicated a champaign dinner in his will -- at least until the money ran out.

Some sample toasts follow, and then some allusions which apply to the club or its members. There are several major turning-points in our history a newcomer might not expect. For example, the admission of women to what had formerly been an all-male assembly. The movement of the College of Physicians from next door, when Andrew Carnegie (S.Weir Mitchell's patient) made the College a gift for new quarters. When the Progressive Movement made an appearance. And other matters of importance to the members, like the composition of the Philadelphia Story by member Luther Long on our premises, and the story of what became Pucchini's opera, Madam Butterfly. Newcomers will have to know these stories, in case they run into some old-timers.

Originally published: Thursday, June 10, 1993; most-recently modified: Monday, January 18, 2021

I typed in Franklin Inn Club and you came up 1st!
Posted by: Elizabeth Weiland Abrams   |   Jan 10, 2012 3:37 PM

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