In 1914 a group of ladies, all of whom happened to be trained in the arts and design, gathered weekly for tea in the East 84th Street “little white house” of Gertrude Gheen Robinson to sew and aid in the war efforts of the Red Cross. Their mutual interest in the decorative arts and in the emerging decorating profession led them to form a club, which they named simply The Decorators Club.
The group’s aims were straightforward: to promote high standards of education for the profession, to establish rules of ethical and professional practice, and to maintain a spirit of friendly support among those who must work competitively. These aims set forth at the club’s founding have guided its members for the past century.
Through the decades the club has participated in many “firsts” in the interior design profession. It was the first organization to hold public decorating clinics in 1927, to display model rooms (which were hailed by the press) at The Grand Central Galleries in 1929, and to develop standard business contracts in 1931. The club was also the first design group to be invited to tour the People’s Republic of China in 1977 before it opened to the western world.
From its earliest years the club has been committed to design education. In 1926 an apprenticeship committee was formed to aid and encourage interior design students in New York City. In 1960 the club established a scholarship program that has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to students at area CIDA-accredited design schools, and that continues today.
The scholarship programs are funded by the club’s events, including a popular semi-annual lecture series focusing on design topics, member travel tours, and other public events. The lecture series and public events receive additional generous support from corporate sponsors, industry publications, and the dedicated following of friends and colleagues in the design industry.
Additionally, the club has made a long-term contribution to restoration projects in the New York City area. Members were instrumental in saving the Old Merchant’s House from being demolished in the 1960s, following which, they assisted in efforts to preserve the house’s interior spaces and to secure a New York City Landmarks designation for the interiors in 1981. The club also donated funds to Edith Wharton's The Mount in the early 2000's to reproduce the original window hangings in Wharton's boudoir.
Today, as The Decorators Club embarks on its second century, membership has expanded to include not only women interior designers, but also architects, art historians, educators, editors, stylists, and experts in related design fields. All are committed to the original goals of the club’s founders and to making positive contributions to design education and the design community. http://www.thedecoratorsclub.org/
"Never look back, except for an occasional glance. Look ahead and plan for the future. Success is not built on past laurels, but rather on a continuous activity. Keep busy searching out new ideas and, experimentally, keep ahead of the times, or at least up with them."