On October 16, 1852, six men met to organize a community of congenial interests. They called their group a “Gesellschaft” and hoped that by enlisting thirty or forty friends and acquaintances they would be able to organize the second social club in New York. The first and only one of record at that time was the Union Club.
The six founders envisioned a fraternity bound together by mutual social interests, the chief of which at that time were song recitals and declamatory contests. The Harmonie Club, true to its original name really devoted itself to communal singing and group forensics.
Now, over one hundred and sixty years later, our membership can look backward at our quaint and modest beginnings and wonder about the simple social diversions that brought and held the founders together. We’ve come a long way: German descent no longer is a requirement for membership or employment. The basement bowling alley is but a faint memory, as are: bedrooms on the upper floors, overseas jaunts to St. Moritz, Candlelight Suppers on Sunday nights, waiters in white gloves carrying hot bread and relish trays, and golf tournaments.
Unchanged is the dining room designed by Stanford White, as well as other impressive Club facilities. We still follow the longstanding tradition of inviting prominent individuals from the worlds of politics, religion, sports, law, science, business and the arts to speak at events at the Club.
Among the more noticeable changes is a lessened formality in dress code, wonderful new facilities (including a state of the art physical fitness center), and the opening of membership to women.
We reflect upon the efforts of past members with pride and affection. Just as they planned for those who would follow them, we too labor to leave our descendants a vital and relevant entity, a community founded and grown in harmony.
Today we are proud of our diverse membership, very active in all the traditional activities of Harmonie. While some of the atmosphere may be more casual in keeping with the times, the enjoyment of the original interest of Harmonie continues on.