A Brief History of the Harvard Travellers Club
(Excerpt from the History of the Harvard Travellers Club, published in 1933)
"Thirty years ago, Harvard's eminent geographer, Professor William Morris Davis, in association with Copley Amory, Roland B. Dixon, James H. Kidder, and the late Archibald Cary Coolidge, invited Harvard men and others in this vicinity, who might be interested in ‘promoting intelligent travel and exploration’ to meet together on November 15, 1902, in the assembly room of the Harvard Union at Cambridge, to consider the formation of a Harvard Travellers Club. Thirty men responded to the call.”
The Golden Age of geographical exploration is now past and unlikely to be repeated - on this planet at least - but the spirit behind the founding of the Club remains intact. Today, our members still commit themselves to an intelligent travel and continue to be curious about other scenes and locales and other ways of life. Certainly unchanged is our enjoyment in learning of one another's travels.
In the present, as in the past, the Club's membership - currently somewhat less than 200 men and women - includes many travellers of note and ability. The breadth of experience in all corners of the earth, below and on the seas and in the air is very wide indeed.
Certainly no less impressive is the long list of those who have, as members or guests, related their journeys and researches at over 850 Club meetings spanning 115 years. The accomplishments of many can truly be described as legendary: The polar explorers Peary, Shackleton, Stefansson, Nordenskjold, Greeley, Bartlett, Gould, MacMillan, Wilkins, Crockett, Goodale and Vaughan . . . the mountaineers Mallory, Smythe, Harrer, Odell, Shipton, Bishop, Unsoeld, Moore, Carter, Bates, Breashears, Houston and Washburn . . . Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu . . . the great central Asian explorers Sir Francis Younghusband, Sven Hedin, Owen Lattimore and Roy Chapman Andrews . . . the Persian scholar Sir Percy Sykes . . . Bertram Thomas, the first European to cross the fabled Rub' al-Khali . . . Alan Villiers, sailor and writer . . . Sir Harry Johnston, African explorer and writer . . . President Theodore Roosevelt.
Club members have explored the far corners of the Earth and as a result of their discoveries a number of geographic features have been named after them. Here is a (probably incomplete) list
Geographic Features Named for Members