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- Eclectic Reading Club
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The Eclectic Reading Club was formed in December 1880 in Saint John, New Brunswick, for the mutual improvement of the members in reading and their knowledge of general literature. The first slate of officers were president, Dr. LeBaron Botsford; vice-presidents, Mrs. George Matthew and Miss Murray; secretary, Arthur Tippett and assistant secretary, Sarah Millidge.
Members could nominate individuals for membership in the Eclectic Reading Club which was granted by a two-thirds vote. New members were required to be ready at any meeting after the first attendance to read when called upon. The annual subscription fee was initially 25 cents which, by the 1950s, rose to $1.00. Any member absent for 3 consecutive meetings without reasonable excuse was subject to termination of membership.
Meetings were held in members' homes. Readings at meetings were not to exceed 20 minutes unless a unanimous vote allowed an extra 10 minutes. Refreshments at meetings were limited to coffee and cake or other light refreshments. Members were permitted to bring a guest to meetings. Membership could not exceed 50 excluding the executive committee and honourary members.
In the early years, the books to be read were chosen by a selection committee, but in later years that role was taken over by the executive committee. Plays were also presented occasionally. In 1897, the club put on a performance of "As You Like It". In 1955, Philip Golding's 3 act play "The Adventuress" with a cast of 8, was staged at the Brandy Point Playhouse by Mary Kean with setting and lighting by Ted Campbell.
It is believed the Eclectic Book Club is still in existence.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of minute books, committee books, and ephemera. There are 6 minute books covering the period 1880-1953 which contain lists of members. The two committee books cover the periods December 1890-1908 and May 1909-1956. Both sets of record books include lists of the titles of books selected to be read and the names of readers.
There are also printed and typed programmes covering the years 1896-1959, including programmes of plays and a printed booklet "An Evening on Edward Fitzgerald" (a translator and poet) with a biography. One of the programmes is written on a piece of birchbark which has been embellished with gold ink.
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