Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Quarters Chosen by the Lawyers' Club

February 07, 1912, The New-York Tribune, "New Quarters Chosen by the Lawyers' Club,"

Page 14,

To Move Into United States Realty Company Building About July 1.


Seven Hundred Members Stand Ready to Give Assistance.

Governing Board Busy Since Equitable Blaze.

Undaunted by the loss of its fine library and beautiful rooms, the Lawyers' Club within a month since the Equitable Building fire that destroyed its home has selected its new domicile and arranged for its equipment. By July 1 the club hopes to move into the 20th and 21st floors of the United States Realty Company Building at No. 116 Broadway.

A meeting of the board of governors was held yesterday.

All the details for the new home have not yet been decided, but the top floor will contain the dining rooms, and the kitchen will be on the roof. The law library will be on the 20th floor. George T. "Wilson, secretary of the club, said last night:

"We expect to have a flne new home. The floors we have taken will be remodeled to suit our use, and while we can not reproduce some of the treasures we lost, we will have a club that in its equipment and membership will maintain the tradition and prestige of the club on the same high standard as before. Already over 700 of the members have signified their intention of continuing."

The governing body set to work immediately after the fire of January 9. All the books and records had been burned. They were at a loss. Eight downtown clubs and two law libraries were immediately put at the disposal of the members. The board of governors worked diligently holding meetings as often as practicable, and yesterday took the step indicated.

The members of the board are as before: William Allen Butler, president, George T. Wilson, secretary; R. A. C. Smith, Alton B. Parker, William B. Hornblower, Frederic R. Coudert, Ernest Hall, Job E. Hedges, George Austin Morrison and William Butler Duncan.

The 20,000-volume library destroyed in the fire was the pride of the club. This library was really the property of the Equitable Life Assurance Society. In 1887, when Henry B. Hyde proposed to extend the building over a block, in order to reflect the society's strength, it was said it could not be profitably maintained, that it would not be an income producer. The renting agent reported after the building was constructed that he could not let some of the floors because they had not good light.

"I'll tell you what we'll do," said Mr. Hyde: "we'll found a lawyers' club and an insurance club, and we'll let the floors to them. We'll put in libraries to tempt them, and we'll make an arrangement whereby the dues from the members can be paid to the society in lieu of rent."

The libraries were installed, the clubs were founded and the floors were let. The Insurance Club was not a success, and was soon merged with that of the lawyers.

Among the volumes destroyed were a complete set of textbooks for all branches of criminal and civil law, files of the law reports of all states since 1839 and law reports from Canadian courts and from those of some of the territories of Great Britain. In addition there were some very valuable old books, dating back in some Instances to 1200 A.D. There was an original file report of the great fire In London in 1510 which was of intense interest to the insurance world; one of the first treatises on insurance, dated 1510. and a set of Wofford's Insurance Encyclopaedia, of which few are in existence. There was a rare report of the affairs of the Old Widow and Orphan Fund, one of the first insurance societies founded in this country.

The furnishings of the Lawyers' Club and the law library were magnificent, both being show places in the building. From the library a corridor led to the smoking room. This corridor was lined with black-veined white marble, with bronze trimmings. In the club were three big dining room. One had a glass vault overhead. There was a dining room for women furnished in pink and white, with rich brocade on the walls.

Among the many fine decorations were several fine mural panels. One was by Edwin Howland Blashfield, and was painted several years ago, when the interior of the club was remodelled in part by George B. Post, the architect. The panel had as its central subject "Justice." On either side of her knelt two youthful figures proffering food.

No comments: