Clubs

  • The Trap Door Spiders | A Gentlemen's Club and Arguing Society

     

    The Trap Door Spiders are a literary male-only eating, drinking, and arguing society in New York City, with a membership historically composed of notable science fiction personalities. The name is a reference to the exclusive habits of the trapdoor spider, which when it enters its burrow pulls the hatch shut behind it

    The Trap Door Spiders were established by author Fletcher Pratt in 1944, in response to the June 7, 1943 marriage of his friend Dr. John D. Clark to operatic soprano Mildred Baldwin. The new Mrs. Clark was unpopular with her husband's friends. Pratt reasoned that the club would give them an excuse to spend time with him without her. Over the course of its existence the Trap Door Spiders has counted among its members numerous professional men, many of them writers and editors active in the science fiction genre, along with some prominent fans such as Dr. Clark.

    The get-togethers of the Trap Door Spiders followed a set format, which remained consistent through the years; a meal, to which a guest would be invited by one of the members to be grilled by the others and form the focus of conversation for the evening. The grilling was traditionally begun by the host for the evening enquiring of the guest "How do you justify your existence?" or some variation, such as "Why do you exist?" Jack Coggins remembers that an editor for Reader's Digest went home from a meeting in tears after a brutally personal grilling. As of 1976, the club met roughly one Friday a month, eight or nine times a year, and maintained a membership of thirteen, among whom the privilege of hosting the meetings rotated. The host of a given meeting selected the restaurant, wine, and menu for the evening, and had the option of inviting one or two guests he believed might prove interesting to the other members.

    Wikipedia