The Cosmos Club

The Cosmos Club organized in 1878 for "the advancement of its members in the fields of science, literature and art and their mutual benefit of social intercourse." The majority of members in the late 19th century worked in the scientific bureaus of the federal government, including the Smithsonian Secretary S.P. Langeley, Assistant Secretary G. Brown Goode, and Official Photographer Thomas W. Smillie.

The club's central located in the Dolley Madison house on Lafayette Square near the White House provided the perfect setting for the 1896 Washington Salon. Many of the Camera Club members belonged to the Cosmos Club, making it the logical choice for such an important cultural event in the capital city.

The Dolley Madison house
The Dolley Madison house, home to Washington's Cosmos Club until the early 1940s. Courtesy Washingtoniana Collection, Martin Luther King Memorial Library, D.C. Public Library

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