University Park Reviewers Club Records
The University Park Reviewers Club was founded in 1914 as a literary club. It's members had connections to the University of Denver, many being employees or faculty spouses. The members reviewed books on a wide variety of subjects, and kept minutes of all their meetings.
- University Park Reviewers Club (Denver, Colo.) (Organization)
Biographical / Historical
The exact origin of the University Park Reviewers Club is unclear. There are indications that it began in 1913 when Miss Elizabeth McNeal, a librarian at the University of Denver, gathered with like-minded friends, both men and women, to discuss books. Another possibility is that the mother of Mrs. Elsie Haines actually started a literary society around 1900. Whichever version is true, the Reviewers had a sporadic start and the first documents from the group begin in 1918.
The Reviewers met twice monthly in the evening. Sometimes there were open meetings, with general discussions, and there were also instances of semi-open meetings when the members were allowed to bring guests. The usual format was that one member would give a review of a book that person had recently read. The meetings began at 8:00 and sometimes ran past 10:00 in the evening, so the reviews were quite detailed. The minutes contain a condensation of the reviews and contain interesting insights into the opinions of the members. A wide variety of books were reviewed, from political and treatises to plays and poetry. In 1933 it was suggested that classics be reviewed instead of current books, but that idea did not gain support.
The group had a constitution and by-laws. The original constitution was apparently written in 1917, but the first copy that exists is of the 1924 version. Meeting times and how the reviewers rotated caused revisions over the years. Minutes of all the meetings were meticulously kept. The people involved and the material chosen for review reflect the society of the community around the University of Denver.
1 Linear Feet (2 Letter document boxes)
Scope and Contents
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Description rules