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Abracadabra Club of Washington, D.C. Records

Identifier: 062

Scope and Contents

The records consist of meeting minutes, attendance records, financial records, correspondence, clippings, pamphlets, photographs and yearbooks, all related to the activities of the Abracadabra Club and its members. The collection also contains two gavels and a block used to call meetings to order. The records reflect the intellectual interests of the members of the Club and cover a wide variety of topics spanning over a century of time.


  • Creation: 1893-1999


Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Twelve members of the Metropolitan Presbyterian Church established the Abracadabra Club in 1893 as a literary society for Washington, D.C.. The original name of the club was “The Fortnightly Club of Capitol Hill.” After two years, the members discovered that another club already had the same name, so in 1894 they changed it to “Abracadabra.” The purpose of the Abracadabra Club was to provide its membership with an outlet of discussion for its scholarly, political and personal interests.

From its inception, the membership was limited to thirty members with an equal number of men and women. For most of the Club’s existence, the membership stayed at or below 50. Over the years, however, membership began to decline and in 2003 the Abracadabra Club disbanded. Membership included “doctors, lawyers, scholastics, scientists, travelers and gardeners,” among others.


8 Linear feet

18 Boxes


Series 1: Meeting Minutes, 1893-1996 (3 linear feet)
This series consists of the meeting minutes and related records of the Abracadabra Club. The records are contained in five (5) bound volumes and three (3) 5.0” legal size archival storage boxes of loose materials. It includes transcriptions of speeches, minutes, attendance records, correspondence, pamphlets, membership lists (1893-1937), clippings and treasurer’s reports. Meeting Minutes for 1982-1984 are missing. There are also indices to these records in the series. Correspondence and speeches related to bound materials are also in this series.

Series 2: Yearbooks, 1896-1989 (3 linear feet)
This series consists of the yearbooks published by the Abracadabra Club and distributed at the annual meeting each year. They are housed in eight (8) archival storage boxes in chronological order. The yearbooks contain information stating the Officers and membership of the club. They also list the date of each meeting, the names of the hosts/hostesses, speakers, and the titles of their talks. Some yearbooks contain copies of the Club’s Constitution and list the names of past Presidents and memorials to members who have passed away. Yearbooks for 1935-1936 are missing.

Series 3: Photographs, 1966-1995, No Date (.5 linear feet)
This series contains photographs of various events held by the Abracadabra Club and the members attending the events. All of the photographs are in color.

Series 4: Biographical Files, 1907-1999 (.5 linear feet)
This series consists of items related to the specific members of the Abracadabra Club. The materials are primarily newspaper clippings and obituary notices. Notable figures include Dr. Charles G. Abbot, past club President and former Head of the Smithsonian Institution.

Series 5: Financial Records, 1940-1996 (.5 linear feet)
This series consists of the financial records generated by the Abracadabra Club. They include receipt books and treasurer’s records. They are housed in one small archival storage shoebox.

Series 6: Ephemera, 1934-1986, No Date (.5 linear feet)
This series consists of two gavels and a block housed in one flat storage box, holiday greetings, publications, directions to meetings, sheet music and various other ephemera.

Custodial History

The records of the Abracadabra Club of Washington, D.C. were donated in 2003 by Thomas H. Bramel, last President of the Club.

Processing Information

Standard archival processing procedures were applied to the collection at the time of processing.

Abracadabra Club of Washington, DC
An inventory of Abracadabra Club of Washington, DC at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by DC Public Library.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001