The Cosmos Club, incorporated in Washington, D.C. in 1878, is a private social club for women and men distinguished in science, literature, the arts, a learned profession or public service. The Club is noted for its camaraderie and atmosphere of warmth, dignity, and elegance. Members who enter the Clubhouse in search of congeniality or intellectual stimulation find both in full measure. Should they seek solitude, privacy is respected.
Individuals elected to Club membership come from a wide variety of professions; a common theme is a relation with scholarship, creative genius, or intellectual distinction. Among its members, over the years, have been three Presidents, two Vice Presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 36 Nobel Prize winners, 61 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 55 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Club offers an impressive array of intellectual and cultural programs for every member interest. Events range from large lunch or dinner lectures to intimate conversations for a dozen or fewer. There are also monthly musical concerts in the Warne Ballroom and literary conversations in the Library.
The Club’s social calendar is full and varied: weekly champagne brunches, monthly lobster dinners and prime rib buffets, seasonal dinner dances, and special holiday events. There are chess and bridge tournaments, wine tastings, dancing lessons, and walking tours. Members are kept informed of the activities of the Club through the monthly Cosmos Club Bulletin, the e-mailed weekly newsletter, and this website.
The Club’s collection of 9,500 volumes (most of which may be borrowed by members) and nearly 140 periodicals is housed in exquisite rooms that offer a quiet haven for reading and contemplating.
Members may entertain guests at the Club for meals and most Club programs, and may arrange for guests to use the overnight accommodations. Guests are expected to abide by the house rules.
A distinguishing feature of the Cosmos Club is the time and effort spent by members in arranging programs and activities and in assisting the Board of Management. About 20 standing and special committees are appointed each year, involving some 300 members. Committee service offers an opportunity to benefit the Club and fellow members.