PILGRIMS SOCIETY 1902 Menu card for inaugural dinner, signed by Lord Kelvin and others.
Menu printed in colours, with portraits of patrons, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, for the first dinner given by the Pilgrims Society at the Carlton Hotel, London, Friday August 8th 1902. Signed in pencil on the verso by 16 members and guests, including William Thompson 1st Baron KELVIN (1824-1907), British physicist and engineer; General Joseph WHEELER (1836-1906) American Confederate general and co-founder of the Pilgrims; Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh ROBERTS, V.C. (1832-1914) British soldier and first President of the Pilgrims Society; Henry WHITE (1850-1927) a leading American diplomat and the American signer of the Treaty of Versailles; Hedworth LAMBTON (1856-1929) British naval officer, remembered for his part in the siege of Ladysmith; Sir Edward George CLARKE (1841-1931) British lawyer who defended Oscar Wilde and represented the plaintiff in the "Baccarat Case"; Joseph Hodges CHOATE (1832-1917) American lawyer and diplomat, Ambassador to Britain and American representative at the Hague Peace Conference; Arthur Fitzgerald, Lord KINNAIRD (1847-1923) British banker, founding director of Barclays Bank and noted footballer who took part in a record nine FA cup finals; Henry Billings BROWN (1836-1913) American lawyer remembered for giving the judgment in Plessy v Ferguson; Charles DARLING (1849-1936) British judge who dismissed the appeals of Dr Crippen and Roger Casement; Henry Clay EVANS (1843-1921) American industrialist, politician and diplomat; Charles William BERESFORD (1846-1919) British Admiral of the Fleet and politician; etc.
8 x 6 inches. In fine condition.
The Pilgrims Society is an elite British-American organisation which was founded in 1902 to foster and promote good relations between the two countries. Although it exists on both sides of the Atlantic as a mere dining club for its members, it has been described as one of the world's most powerful, secretive and influential organisations and has been a rich ground for conspiracy theorists. Past members of the Society have included Henry Kissinger, Margaret Thatcher, Walter Kronkite and many of the greatest names in politics, banking, industry and the arts and sciences. Material relating to the Pilgrims Society is scarce and this menu from the very first dinner in 1902 is particularly rare. This menu was signed for Miss Charlotte R. Haldeman and is inscribed to her at the head in the hand of Lord Roberts. Miss Haldeman was the daughter of Donald C. Haldeman of Philadelphia and she later married the British naval officer, Victor Marryat (a relative of the British novelist Capt. Frederick Marryat.