Adventurers' Club of New York

The Adventurers' Club of New York was an adventure-oriented private men's club founded in New York City in 1912 by Arthur Sullivant Hoffman, editor of the popular pulp magazine Adventure.[1][2] There were 34 members at the first meeting. In its second year, "Sinclair Lewis, Hoffman's assistant, was elected secretary and served three years."[3] Monthly dinner meetings, and weekly luncheons, were the primary functions of the club.

According to club secretary, newspaperman Fred J. Splitstone, the club's "One inviolate rule is that no publicity is ever given to the meetings. It makes men freer to talk."[4] It also makes the club difficult to research. However, soon after making those comments, in 1926, the club began publishing a monthly newsletter, The Adventurer. It ran at least until 1960. Its content primarily concerned club business, e.g. changes in leadership, new members. It occasionally ran profiles—and obituaries—of members. The main content was typically a description of the previous monthly dinner meeting. The speakers were described along with a summation of their speeches.

A weekly CBS radio show, Gold Seal Associates, featuring members of the club describing the most exciting moment of their lives, was inaugurated on June 13, 1930. Major C. E. Russell was the inaugural speaker.[5]

The club was one of at least two such clubs in New York. The other club was the Ends of the Earth Club, which included Mark Twain as a member.

The club appears to have faded out in the 1970s.


Spin-off clubs were founded in Chicago, Los Angeles and Honolulu. The Adventurers' Club of Los Angeles remains active,[6] as does the Adventurers' Club of Honolulu (founded in 1954).[7]


In 1925, the club had 185 total members, of whom 140 were active.[8] The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee (1964) listed 195 active members and 68 associate members, for a total of 263.[9]

Among the members of the Adventurers' Club of New York were many prominent citizens, travelers, writers, artists and explorers, including the following.[10] Members who attended the first meeting on December 7, 1912, are indicated with "[O]," for original.[11]


Notable speakers before the club include the following:

  • 1939 April 20: Lowell Thomas. Popular journalist.
  • 1939 April 20: Arch Whitehouse. Prolific aviation fiction pulp writer.
  • 1939 April 20: Frank Buck.
  • 1939 May 18: Vilhjalmur Stefansson. Canadian Arctic explorer, President of the Explorers Club.
  • 1939 October 19: Harrison Forman. World traveler and author.
  • 1939 October 19: Lon Yancey. US Navy veteran and history-making aviator.
  • 1940 January 18: Alexander Kerensky. Key figure in the Russian Revolution.
  • 1940 February 15: Linton Wells. Foreign correspondent and pioneer broadcaster.
  • 1940 March 21: Sterling Hayden. Sailor and future film actor.
  • 1940 March 21: Harrison Forman.
  • 1940 March 21: Harold McCracken. Author and adventurer.
  • 1940 April 18: David Sarnoff. RCA executive.
  • 1941 February 20: Harrison Forman.
  • 1941 May 15: Lewis E. Lawes. Warden of Sing Sing.
  • 1942 February 19: Harry A. Franck. Prolific travel writer, "prince of vagabonds."
  • 1942 February 19: Charles B. Whitehead. American flyer in the RAF.
  • 1942 May 21: Robert Ripley. Ripley's Believe It or Not! cartoonist.
  • 1942 May 21: Jean Delacour. Bird expert of the Bronx Zoo.
  • 1962 May 16: Carl von Hoffman. Soldier, adventurer and author.


# From To President[16]
1 1912 1917 Henry Collins Walsh
2 1918 1918 Robert Welles Ritchie
3 1919 1925 William E. Aughinbaugh
4 1926 1927 Wesley H. Wallace
5 1928 1928 Norman Schwarzkopf
6 1929 1930 George W. B. Witten
7 1930 1930 Fred J. Willock
8 1930 1930 George W. B. Witten
9 1931 1931 Wyndham Phinny
10 1932 1932 C. E. Russell
11 1933 1933 John J. Lyons[17]
12 1934 1935 Tex O'Rourke
13 1936 1937 Raymond C. Schindler
14 1939 1939 Henry M. Kalvin
15 1940 1940 Lewis N. Cotlow
16 1941 1942 Charles R. Haffenden
17 1943 1944 John McElraevy, Jr.
18 1945 1945 James B. Pond
19 1946 1946 Charles R. Haffenden
20 1947 1947 Raymond C. Schindler
21 1948 1948 Harry Bruno
22 1949 1949 Harry C. M. Reed
23 1950 1950 Arthur M. Menken
24 1951 1951 G. Theon Wright
25 1952 1952 Norris L. Bowen
26 1952 1952 Russell B. Aitken
27 1953 1953 Paulus P. Powell
28 1954 1954 Edward L. Bill
29 1955 1955 G. Theon Wright
30 1956 1956 John S. Davis, Jr.
31 1957 1957 Raymond E. Buck
32 1958 1958 Bernt Balchen
33 1959 1959 Patrick B. Fay
34 1960 1960 Ansel E. Talbert
35 1961 1961 A. Fred Nielson
36 1962 1962 Carl von Hoffman
37 Frederick Houk Law (Emeritus)

Award winners

The club also awarded medals and honors. Recipients include:

Gold Medal

Bronze Medal

Life Membership


Call to Adventure

In 1935, Robert Spiers Benjamin edited an anthology Call to Adventure. Contributors were:[22]

The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee

In 1964, the club published The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee 1912–1962: A History of the Adventurers Club of New York.[23]

See also

  • Explorers Club, an extant club of about the same age, also founded in New York, with a scientific mission.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Arthur Hoffman, Editor, Teacher" (obituary). The New York Times, March 15, 1966.
  3. ^ "The Adventurers' Club." The Adventurer, January 1937. A history of the club. The Adventurer periodically printed an updated history of the club. Most of this information rolled over into The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee.
  4. ^ "The Adventurers." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 5, 1925.
  5. ^ "Exciting Adventure New Series' Basis." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 1, 1930.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Adventurers' Club of Honolulu current newsletter, March 2017.
  8. ^ "The Adventurers." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 5, 1925.
  9. ^ The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee, 1964. New York: The Adventurers' Club, Inc., 1965, 145-154.
  10. ^ Names were obtained from The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee, selected issues of The Adventurer, and newspaper articles. Some individuals were members for decades, while others joined the club but participated little. Activity frequently depended on the member's proximity to New York City.
  11. ^ "Hardy Spirits Organize." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 8, 1912.
  12. ^ "The Adventurers." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 5, 1925.
  13. ^ "Wits Used By Adventurer to Get Into Prison." Bellingham Herald, February 4, 1914.
  14. ^ A. E. Dingle. Letter dated December 1, 1936, in The Adventurer, December 1936.
  15. ^ "Boro Associations Hold Social Events." The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 18, 1926. This was the "10th annual dinner." The anniversary may refer to the incorporation of the club, since the founding was in 1912.
  16. ^ The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee, 1964. New York: The Adventurers' Club, Inc., 1965, 139.
  17. ^ Probably the NY politician John J. Lyons.
  18. ^ Death in the Silent Places, by Peter Hathaway Capstick.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Solo Raft Voyage Cited for Honors." Omaha World Herald, October 28, 1954.
  22. ^ Call to Adventure. 1935
  23. ^ Adventurers Club of New York. (1965). The Adventurers' Golden Jubilee, 1964: A history of The Adventurers' Club of New York. New York: The Club
Adventure (magazine)

Adventure was an American pulp magazine that was first published in November 1910 by

the Ridgway company, an offshoot of the Butterick Publishing Company. Adventure went on to become one of the most profitable and critically acclaimed of all the American pulp magazines. The magazine had 881 issues. The magazine's first editor was Trumbull White, he was succeeded in 1912 by Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (1876–1966), who would edit the magazine until 1927.

Albert Payson Terhune

Albert Payson Terhune (December 21, 1872 – February 18, 1942) was an American author, dog breeder, and journalist. He was popular for his novels relating the adventures of his beloved collies and as a breeder of collies at his Sunnybank Kennels, the lines of which still exist in today's Rough Collies.

Arthur Sullivant Hoffman

Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (September 28, 1876 – March 15, 1966) was an American magazine editor. Hoffman is

best known for editing the acclaimed pulp magazine Adventure

from 1912–1927,

as well as playing a role in the creation of the American Legion.

Byron Khun de Prorok

"Count" Byron Khun de Prorok (1896–1954, born in Philadelphia as Francis Byron Kuhn) was a Hungarian-American amateur archaeologist, anthropologist, and author of four heroic travelogues. He has come to be regarded as the original tomb raider, or grave robber, one "loved by audiences and held in contempt by the scientific community".Count Byron De Prorok was educated at the University of Geneva. He worked on the excavations at Carthage from 1920 to 1925 and held the Archaeological Institute of America's prestigious Norton Lectureship in 1922–1923.During the later 1920s and early 1930s, Prorok undertook a series of expeditions in Africa of dubious scientific value, pursuing ancient legends and eventually came to believe he had found evidence that proved Atlantis lay in North Africa, the true location of the fabled Biblical land of Ophir and what he supposed were the ruins of an ancient temple where Alexander the Great "became a god". In addition to these tremendous 'discoveries' he also claimed to be a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Royal Archaeological Institute and The Royal Geographical Society.

His numerous critics say that this "count" Byron de Prorok was neither a real count nor an archaeologist, was expelled from The Royal Geographical Society (allegedly in 1932), who had "a vivid imagination" and "was given to gross exaggeration". He was, however, an active member of the Adventurers' Club of New York.

Regardless of his archaeological faults, De Prorok was a pioneer in using motion pictures, which he did first in 1920. However, none of his films survive.His published works include Digging for Lost African Gods (1926), Mysterious Sahara: The Land of Gold, of Sand and of Ruin (1929), Dead Men Do Tell Tales (1933) and In Quest of Lost Worlds (1935).

Captain Dingle

Aylward Edward "A.E." Dingle was a sailor and writer. He was born in Oxford, England, in 1874. He died in Cornwall in 1947.

Carl von Hoffman

Karl von Hoffman (St. Petersburg, Russia, c. 1889 – New York, New York, USA, 8 July 1982) was a soldier, adventurer, author, and photographer of German ancestry. He was a descendant of Melchior Hoffman; journalist Nicholas von Hoffman is his son.

At the age of 17, von Hoffman—then a military cadet—disobeyed his mother's wishes and joined the Russian army during the Russo-Japanese War. For actions during the war he was awarded the Order of St. Anna. He participated in World War I, serving in the Russian army, and then under Admiral Kolchak on the White Russian side in the Russian Civil War. Von Hoffman is said by some sources to have been on the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition in 1913; however, Theodore Roosevelt does not mention him in his memoir of the expedition, but footage proving von Hoffman's presence can be found here.

Von Hoffman was an explorer who once led a safari from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo—a walk that took him three years and was the basis of his two books, Jungle Gods (New York, H. Holt and Company [c1929]) and Jerry on Safari: A 7,000 Mile Journey from Cairo to the Cape (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1936). Von Hoffman's photographs of the Mexican Revolution and of Theodore Roosevelt were celebrated; his photographs of Roosevelt and Pancho Villa were exhibited in 2002 at the Martin & Osa Johnson Safari

Museum. He was the cinematographer for films including The Life of General Villa, (1914,), featuring Pancho Villa himself. The movie was produced by D. W. Griffith. Von Hoffman often said his knowledge of the use of machine guns was one of the things Griffiths offered Villa to gain his participation in the movie. (In 2003, the filming of the documentary about Villa was turned into a TV movie, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Larry Gelbart with the minor role of von Hoffman played by Julian Sedgwick.) Von Hoffman was also cinematographer of The Marriage Bond (1916) directed by Lawrence Marston. He was a member of the Explorers Club. He was also an Honorary Life Member and past president (1962) of the Adventurers' Club of New York.

E. H. Calvert

Elisha Helm Calvert (June 27, 1863 – October 5, 1941) was an American film actor and director. He appeared in more than 170 films, as well as directing a further 60 titles.

Eddie Eagan

Edward Patrick Francis Eagan (April 26, 1897 – June 14, 1967) was an American sportsman who is notable as being the only person to win a gold medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games in different events. Eagan won his summer gold in boxing and his winter gold in four-man bobsled. Finally, Eagan is one of the few athletes who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

Ends of the Earth Club

The Ends of the Earth Club was a group of artists and explorers founded in 1903. Its members included Mark Twain, General John Pershing, Admiral Robert Peary, Gutzon Borglum (the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore), Herbert Adams Gibbons (a Princeton professor and journalist), and more than 100 other prominent businessmen and academics located, primarily, in the northeastern United States.

The group's honorary president was the British adventurer and writer, Rudyard Kipling. During the first three decades of the twentieth century, the group held an annual dinner at the Savoy Hotel in New York, where its members would meet and exchange stories about foreign travel and politics.The members of the group generally favored Anglo American colonization of the non-European world. Mark Twain recalled an evening at the club in a dictation recorded on March 7, 1906. During the evening, the chairman of the dinner, General James L. Wilson, proudly told the group that they were "all members of the Anglo-Saxon race." Wilson further commented, "And when the Anglo-Saxon wants something, he takes it." Twain said that Wilson's comment meant that Englishmen and Americans were "thieves, highwaymen, and pirates – and proud of it."The club was one of at least two such clubs in New York. The other club was the Adventurers' Club of New York.

George Edmund Holt

George Edmund Holt (February 15, 1881 in Moline, Illinois – October 16, 1950 in San Diego, California) was an American journalist. In Morocco, he covered the defeat and abdication of Sultan Abd-el-Aziz for the Associated Press. He also met Raisuli. He was appointed Consul-General for the United States in Morocco.He also wrote short stories for magazines such as Collier's. and contributed both fiction and non-fiction to AdventureHe resided in San Diego from 1922 until his death.

Harold G. Hoffman

Harold Giles Hoffman (February 7, 1896 – June 4, 1954) was an American politician of the Republican Party who served as the 41st Governor of New Jersey from 1935 to 1938. He also served two terms representing New Jersey's 3rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives, from 1927 to 1931.

James L. Clark

James L. Clark (18 November 1883 in Providence, Rhode Island – 1969), was a distinguished American explorer, sculptor and scientist.

Following his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design and his training at the Gorham Silver Company, he worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. In 1908, he spent time studying wildlife in Wyoming, and then traveled to Africa with Arthur Radclyffe Dugmore to take photographs for Collier's Weekly. On this trip Clark produced the "first film to record African wildlife." He brought back specimens for hunters like Theodore Roosevelt and for American museums. He returned regularly to Africa and also traveled to Asia to collect zoological specimens. Clark was a member of the National Sculpture Society, the New York Zoological Society, and the American Geographical Society.

John Alexander Douglas McCurdy

John Alexander Douglas McCurdy (August 2, 1886 – June 25, 1961) was a Canadian aviation pioneer and the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1947 to 1952.

John McCloy (Medal of Honor)

Lieutenant Commander John McCloy, USN (January 3, 1876 – May 24, 1945) was an officer in the United States Navy who was one of only 19 individuals to receive the Medal of Honor twice. He received his first Medal of Honor for action in the Boxer Rebellion in June 1900. His second Medal of Honor came in 1915 for action in Vera Cruz, Mexico in April 1914.

McClelland Barclay

McClelland Barclay (1891 – 18 July 1943) was an American illustrator. By the age of 21, Barclay's work had been published in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal, and Cosmopolitan. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Naval Reserve in 1938 and following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor he went on active duty. At the time of his death, in 1943, he was a Lt. Commander.

Norman Schwarzkopf Sr.

Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf (; August 28, 1895 – November 25, 1958) was the first superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. He is best known for his involvement in the Lindbergh kidnapping case. He was the father of General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., the commander of all Coalition forces for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.

Thomas Scott Baldwin

Thomas Scott Baldwin (June 30, 1854 – May 17, 1923) was a pioneer balloonist and U.S. Army major during World War I. He was the first American to descend from a balloon by parachute.

William Henry Jackson

William Henry Jackson (April 4, 1843 – June 30, 1942) was an American painter, Civil War veteran, geological survey photographer and an explorer famous for his images of the American West. He was a great-great nephew of Samuel Wilson, the progenitor of America's national symbol Uncle Sam.

William Willis (sailor)

William Willis (September 8, 1893 – July 1968) was an American sailor and writer who is famous due to his solo rafting expeditions across oceans.

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