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Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Sphinx Club

The Sphinx Club was started in March of 1904 by a group of students who desired an organization which would afford an opportunity for the discussion of intellectual problems. A few seniors who had lingered to talk in the corridor of University Hall after a philosophy lecture enjoyed this intellectual fellowship so much that it occurred to Arthur Upham Pope ’04 that a club should be formed. With Harry W. Hastings ’04 and Moritz Braun ’04, he approached Dean Alexander Meiklejohn, who approved, as did President Faunce. The charter members of the club held their first meeting on March 31, 1904, with Faunce, Meiklejohn, and Professors Lindsay Todd Damon and Walter C. Bronson in attendance. Bronson “was introduced as the champion of intellectuality at Brown,” and spoke at length on different types of mental workers and methods. Professor Damon had arranged for the meeting to be held at the A. E. (Ann Eliza) Club on Weybosset Street, and from a play of words on that name the club at first called itself the “Analyzer Club.” The name did not suit all of the members, so on January 31, 1905, when the club was nearly a year old, it was given its new name, “The Sphinx.” Early members disliked the name, “Sphinx Club.” A ritual of initiation prepared by Professor Sharon Brown and first used on May 25, 1926, began, “The Sphinx invites you to hear her riddles,” and ended, “In the solving of her riddles may you find the Truth. Qui solvit solvitur.” At meetings of the Sphinx at the A. E. Club, or at local restaurants, or at fraternity houses, the members heard speakers and joined in discussions on such topics as social and political conditions in Russia, eugenics, prohibition, and athletics at Brown. When Arthur Upham Pope went to the University of California in 1911 as assistant professor of philosophy, he started a Sphinx Club on that campus. The Sphinx Club became inactive in 1976. When it was reactivated in 1984 by Bruce Donovan ’59, at that time Dean of Freshmen and Sophomores, the student members were the Meiklejohn Advisors, upperclass advisors to freshmen, and the faculty members were the Academic Advisors for Liberal Education.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.


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