Salmagundi Club Photograph Collection
Language of Materials
The Salmagundi Club Photograph Collection contains photographs of dinners held by the club between 1898 and 1943, including dinners sponsored by Samuel T. Shaw and the club's annual "Get Together Dinner".
The Salmagundi Club was formed as the New York Sketch Club in 1871 by a group of artists and art patrons; it changed its name in tribute to the 19th century book of tales and miscellany published by Washington Irving. The club held its meetings and events in rented rooms at 14 West 12th Street from 1895 until 1917, when the club purchased its own brownstone at 47 Fifth Avenue.
Samuel T. Shaw (1861-1945) was the proprietor of the Grant Union Hotel, which was located on the southeast corner of 42nd Street and Park Avenue, across from Grand Central Terminal, from 1874 until 1914. An art collector and patron of living artists, Shaw hung the hotel walls with his personal collection of works by American painters. He was closely associated with the Salmagundi Club, the Society of American Artists, and the National Academy of Design, and awarded cash prizes for the best picture at the annual exhibitions held by those institutions.
Shaw gave the "Shaw Prize" at the Salmagundi Club exhibits for fifty years, and would sponsor an annual dinner party of the artists in competition for that year's award. A commercial photographer was engaged to make a panoramic group portrait of the jovial and formally dressed painters at their dinner table. At the center of each photograph appear two easily identifiable men: the award-winning artist from the previous year (bedecked with a laurel head wreath), and their great patron, the bearded, white-haired (and usually unjacketed) Samuel T. Shaw, often sitting beneath the Club's portrait of Shaw by Wayman Adams.
Photographs have been arranged into five series based on date:
- Series I: Turn of the Century
- Series II: The Teens
- Series III: The Twenties
- Series IV: The Thirties
- Series V: The Forties
Scope and Content Note
The Salmagundi Club Photograph Collection contains photographs of dinners held at the club between 1898 and 1943. There is also one satirical illustrated diploma issued to Samuel T. Shaw in 1899. The collection is divided into five series that reflect the decades covered by the material; thereunder the photographs are arranged chronologically. Many of the dinners represented were those sponsored by Samuel T. Shaw, but the collection also includes other Club group meals, such as their "Get Together Dinner" held each fall, which celebrated the return of the artists to New York from their summer painting colonies at the mountains and seashores.
Commercial photographers in the collection include New York firms George W. Lawrence Company; Cawood, Inc.; Krohn & Kollatz; Schlesinger Studio; Standard Flashlight Company, Inc.; and Century Flashlight Photographers, Inc.
Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit www.nyhistory.org/library/visit.
Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.
Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.
Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions
This collection should be cited as Salmagundi Club Photograph Collection, PR 182, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.
Location of Materials
Twenty-five of the photographs were the gift of the Estate of Samuel T. Shaw, November 7, 1946; other additions were made to form the collection.