Mrs. Jenkins’ art class, Holmes Hall, c. 1905

Mrs. Jenkins’ art class, Holmes Hall, c. 1905

A Brief History

In the fall of 1905 Hannah Tempest Jenkins was hired as the first resident art instructor at Pomona College. Before then, an instructor from the Los Angeles School of Art and Design traveled to Claremont once a week to teach art. Jenkins and Lucretia Brackett, wife of Professor Frank Brackett, founded “The Rembrandt Club of Pomona College and Claremont” that December. The purpose of the club was “the study of art and the fostering of the interests of the Art Department of Pomona College.”

Ruth Eddy became the club’s first President, and many illustrious, dedicated, and fun-loving women have presided over the club since then. (Download Past Presidents.) Students, faculty, spouses, and, beginning in 1907, townspeople as well, made up the membership. Lectures were given in a small classroom in Holmes Hall.

The club approved its first Constitution in 1905. (Download the current Constitution, which is the original plus amendments.)

Rembrandt Hall, built 1914, enlarged 1937.

Rembrandt Hall, built 1914, enlarged 1937.

Other fundraising highlights through the years included the “Tour of Homes,” when the club became Claremont’s first organization to sponsor such an event. On one tour, local artists opened their homes, and on another, college presidents opened theirs. Other events were the “Festival of Trees,” written up in Sunset Magazine, a Champagne Reception for the opening of Thatcher Music Building, and special showings of “art films” at the former Village Theater.

In 2006, the Club celebrated its 100th Birthday with a gala luncheon. Former president and long-time member Perdita Sheirich wrote a stirring Toast for the occasion, which we continue to use each year at our May luncheon. (Download the Toast.)

For more than 35 years we have purchased a large evergreen tree for the historic Seaver house, decorated it, and held a festive gala dinner to celebrate the tree and the holidays. The following day, coffee, tea, and our famous syllabub are served along with other baked goodies for our annual holiday fundraiser. Members bring baked and savory goods and handcrafted items for the public to purchase, while their children enjoy their own party with activities and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Other current activities of the Rembrandt Club include lectures given in Lyman Hall, Thatcher Music Building with speakers from all fields of art. Following the lectures tea and refreshments are served in Seaver House across the street. Trips to galleries, museums and other venues are planned throughout the academic year, including our Fantastic Bus Trips.

In addition to supporting the interests of the Art Department and the Art History Department the Rembrandt Club contributes to special requests from the Pomona College Museum of Art. Most rewarding of all is our Summer Research Grant, given to one or two Pomona College art students each year for research and travels to complete their senior thesis. These grants began as a memorial in 1937 and have continued each year.

More than a century after its founding, the Rembrandt Club continues to be loyal to its original purpose.