The Clayonian Literary Society was charged with inviting notable persons of the day to speak at its meetings. George Long
Hutchings, a banker, was chairman of the Clayonian Society of Newark, New Jersey at least until 1871. Some of the club's speakers
included G. W. Curtis, Anna E. Dickinson, Bret Harte, and Frederick Douglass, among many other authors, musicians, actors,
abolitionists, and activists. The collection is comprised of "acceptance" as well as "rejection" letters of the luminaries
who were invited to address the literary society, as well as many signed receipts.
The Clayonian Literary Society was founded in Newark, New Jersey in 1861. It's mission was "the improvement, mental, social
and moral, of its members, especially the cultivation of the intellectual faculties, by Composition, Debate, and other literary
exercises" ("Constitution and by-laws", 1867). This was achieved through weekly meetings held from October 1st through July
1st, in which members presented essays, heard invited speakers, and held critical debates. George Long Hutchings, to whom
the bulk of the correspondence is addressed, was the chairman for a number of years of the Society. A New York banker who
later continued his career in East Orange, New Jersey, Hutchings was born in 1845 in London, England while his parents were
travelling en route from India where they had been serving as missionaries. Little else is known about Hutchings except that
which was provided in a brief New York Times obituary also included in the collection. Married three times, he had a son,
Dewitt Hutchings, who married Allis Miller and they lived in the Glenwood Hotel (later called the Mission Inn) in Riverside,
California. The inn had been founded by Allis's parents, Frank and Isabella Miller; several generations of Millers ran the
hotel until 1956 when the children of Allis and Dewitt Hutchings sold the inn shortly after their death. Jeanne Hutchings,
the widow of Allis and Dewitt's son, Frank, is the source of the collection.
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