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The AthenaeumMore Than Just Another London Club$
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Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300246773

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300246773.001.0001

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A roomful of Owls

A roomful of Owls

(p.213) 9 A roomful of Owls
The Athenaeum

Michael Wheeler

Yale University Press

This chapter explores how the Athenians' reputation for 'reserve and dignity' was sustained throughout the 1920s and 1930s, when a particular breed of highly educated and deeply serious members played leading roles in club life. Political decisions on national reconstruction were often based upon reports from advisory groups of the kind that had been needed during the war, and again many members of the club served as expert advisors in a wide range of fields. Athenians had always valued the opportunity to meet fellow members with different interests and from a wide variety of professions, and the freer spirits among them now enjoyed engaging with a generation of writers and artists who specialised in satire and caricature. Although the traditions of the club were still fiercely defended in the inter-war years, this was a period of innovation, with the ending of the ballot and the introduction of bedrooms for members, monthly Talk Dinners, and an annexe where ladies could be entertained. Change, or rather adaptation was under way, both inside and outside the Athenæum.

Keywords:   Athenæum, Athenians, club life, national reconstruction, advisory groups, innovation

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