1855-1856 THE SATURDAY CLUB IS BORN ALSO THE MAGAZINE OR ATLANTIC CLUB
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook Unless the deed go with it.
THOUGH the haze of remoteness and of failing memories had, even before the end of the last century, begun to obscure the origin of the Saturday Club, and also because of a misapprehension by outsiders very natural because of its personnel, it is still possible to discover through the dimness two threads between which this group of remarkable men oscillated for a time as a centre of crystallization. One was friendship and good-fellowship pure and simple. The other was literary, and involved responsibilities, namely, a new magazine. In each, as moving spirit, there was an active, well-bred, sociable man, eager for this notable companionship and with executive skill ready to manage the details of the festive meetings.
Two clubs actually resulted, and nearly at the same time. Of this, conclusive documentary evidence exists, some of which will be here given and some referred to. The membership of these clubs was, at first, largely identical. The merely friendly group soon became elective; somewhat later took the name the Saturday Club, increased much in size, in time was incorporated, and still flourishes, a pleasant, utterly informal company of men more or less eminent, dining, or rather having a long lunch, together on the last Saturday of each month, except July, August, and September. The other club, designed to interest the best authors in launching a really good magazine, might have been at first properly called the Magazine Club, but not until 1857 did it give birth, as will be told in detail, to the Atlantic Monthly, and, after that, the frequent