The Query Club had its first meeting September 26, 1885 at Dr. W.E. Ward’s residence in Nashville, Tennessee. The club was founded by Olympe Trabue, who assembled a group of her friends to explore intellectual and popular topics of the day. In the early days meetings were held each week in a small room downtown in the Vendome Theater on 7th Avenue North. The present membership of the club meet the first Tuesday of the month for dinner and a paper given on a topic chosen for the year and followed by a stated “Query” related to the topic. Among the subjects for discussion by the club have been:
The Art of Engraving and Kindred Arts (1885 –86)
British Lady Intellectuals of the 20th Century (1974-75)
Remarkable Achievements of American Women (1975-76)
Unsolved Mysteries (1957-58)
The South in Contemporary Literature (1936 –37)
Several well-established Query Club traditions include the wearing of a gold and diamond question mark pin by the chairman of the club (1891) and the sending of a box of candy by the fiance or newly wed husband of a Query Club member (1897). The Query Club year ends each June with a picnic. The Query Club celebrated its Diamond Jubilee in 1960 with a clever series of skits illustrating each 25 year period of Query Club life. In 1985 the 100th year anniversary of the Query Club was celebrated at the historic house Fairvue, home of Ellen Wemyss, daughter of a charter member of the club.
Scope and Content Note
“I’m not certain, but it seems to me that there may be some connections between the Fugitives and the Query Club; and if that’s so, we ought to do something about it, before it’s too late.”
----Ann McClearan Houk
This collection is comprised of a member roster, a short history, and 15 audio cassettes of programs and remembrances of the Fugitives and Agrarians at Vanderbilt by Query Club members during the 1993-94 year.