The Explorers Club is an American-based international multidisciplinary professional society with the goal of promoting scientific exploration and field study. The club was founded in New York City in 1904, and has served as a meeting point for explorers and scientists worldwide.
In 1904, a group of men active in exploration met at the request of noted journalist, historian, and explorer Henry Collins Walsh, to form an organization to unite explorers in the bonds of good fellowship and to promote the work of exploration by every means in its power. Joining Walsh were Adolphus Greely, Donaldson Smith, Carl Lumholtz, Marshall Saville, Frederick Dellenbaugh, and David Brainard. After several further informal meetings, The Explorers Club was incorporated on October 25, 1905. Women were first admitted in 1981, with a class including Sylvia Earle and Kathryn Sullivan. Famous honorary members have included Theodore Roosevelt, John Glenn, Jim Fowler, Walter Cronkite, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Edmund Hillary, Buzz Aldrin and Albert I, Prince of Monaco.
The Explorers Club has 32 chapters in the United States and around the world, which serve as local contact points for explorers, scientists, and students. Many chapters hold monthly dinners, lectures and seminars, award field-research grants to students, publish newsletters and organize expeditions, field trips and educational events.
The Explorers Club is renowned for Five "Famous Firsts" accomplished by its members, including:
The Explorers Club held its first regular meeting at its original headquarters in the Studio Building at 23 West 67th Street in New York City. The club finished construction on its next headquarters at 544 Cathedral Parkway in 1928 and there the club continued to expand its extensive collection of artifacts, trophies and books on exploration. In 1965, spurred by Lowell Thomas, the club purchased its current headquarters on the Upper East Side, a six-story Jacobean revival mansion on East 70th Street, where it houses the James B. Ford Exploration Library, the Sir Edmund Hillary Map Room and a collection of artifacts from more than a century of exploration. The building was previously the home of Stephen C. Clark. Certain designated rooms of the Club are open to the general public.
In the 1920s, the club began to invite both explorers returning from the field and visiting scientists to relate their experiences and findings. By the 1930s these informal gatherings developed into academic lectures and illustrated talks. The club continues to provide weekly lectures and programs, which are often open to the public at its headquarters. In November 1921, The Explorers Club published the first edition of The Explorers Journal to share news from the field, remarks from headquarters, recent acquisitions, obituaries, and book reviews. The Explorers Journal is still published quarterly, with articles and photography from Explorers Club members in the field.
To obtain permission to carry the flag, a club member must show that an expedition holds the promise of scientific results. Once approved, the flag must be exhibited at every suitable opportunity on the expedition, and must be returned to the club along with a written record of the expedition -- the Flag Report. The club's research collections is the repository for these unique reports, including the original "Flag Book" -- a bound journal of hand-written reports, vintage prints, clippings and assorted records submitted by the explorers who first carried The Explorers Club flag on expeditions.
Today there are 202 numbered flags. These include flags carried on such expeditions as:
The Explorers Club Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Club, is awarded for extraordinary contributions directly in the field of exploration, scientific research, or to the welfare of humanity. Past recipients include:
Beyond The Explorers Club Medal, the club also presents, among others, The Lowell Thomas Award, The Sweeney Medal, a Citation of Merit, The Buzz Aldrin Space Exploration Award and The Tenzing Norgay Award.
The club also awards a range of grants for field science and exploration, including The Youth Activity Fund Grant, The Exploration Fund Grant, and the Scott Pearlman Field Awards for Science and Exploration, and the Presidents Award for Exploration and Technology.
Presidents of the Explorers Club are elected by a vote of the Board of Directors after the Annual Meeting. Men and women may offer their name for consideration.
|4||1912||1913||David Legge Brainard|
|8||1922||1925||George Gustav Heye|
|10||1928||1930||George Gustav Heye|
|11||1931||1934||Roy Chapman Andrews|
|12||1935||1937||Walter W. Granger|
|19||1953||1954||Edward Weyer, Jr.|
|26||1971||1973||Hobart Van Dressen|
|28||1975||1976||E. Lovell Becker|
|31||1981||1985||George V.B. Cochran|
It is a fact that in 1940... he [Hubbard] was duly elected a member of the august Explorer's Club in New York... In explaining the circumstances of Hubbard's election to the club, Mr. Randol [Ward Randol, the club's executive director] told me in no uncertain terms that he personally knew the members who had sponsored Hubbard and certainly does not hesitate to vouch for their integrity and judgment... In 1940 Hubbard made his first expedition as a member of the Explorer's Club, and was granted the club flag to carry on his voyage, a distinct honor given only when a member's application and description of an intended expedition has been given the severest scrutiny... Hubbard's expedition that year was to Alaska, under the title of the Alaskan-Radio Expedition. In the years since, Hubbard has made two more voyages flying the Explorer's Club flag, one in 1961, an Oceanographic-Archeological Expedition, and one in 1966, the Hubbard Geological Survey Expedition.
On 19 February 1940 L. Ron Hubbard is elected a member of the prestigious Explorers Club. Concurrently he plans an Alaskan expedition, and on 27 July 1940 his Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition embarks from Seattle. His vessel is the 32-foot ketch Magician, and she sails under Explorers Club flag number 105.
In 1940 Hubbard carried the club flag on his first official expedition, sailing a vest-pocket yacht from Washington to Alaska.
Explorers Club flags are iconic, coveted awards for serious expeditions...One went to sea with Hubbard for most of the 1960s...the same flag as the astronauts aboard Apollo 8, which in 1968 became the first manned mission to orbit the moon."