Report Shows Clubs in 13 Pennsylvania Communities Still Bar Jews

Thirty-six major downtown and country clubs in 13 Pennsylvania communities currently bar Jews from membership, the Pennsylvania-Delaware advisory council of the American Jewish Committee said today in a preliminary report. The council called restrictive practices by social clubs “the most pervasive and institutionalized form of anti-Semitism in Pennsylvania,” but said the situation was improving steadily.

The AJ Committee chapter said it was withholding the names of discriminatory social clubs with the exception of the Hamilton Club, of Lancaster, which attracted national attention in 1955 when Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt refused to attend a reception at the club because it barred Jews and Negroes as members. The chapter said all efforts to change the club’s policy had failed.

The chapter said five clubs in five cities invited Jews to become members for the first time recently, and “Jews have joined and are taking part in the activities of these clubs already.” In addition, the chapter reported, a number of Jews have been proposed for membership in a major Philadelphia club. The report added that a number of civic groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other cities have informed the chapter that they will not hold meetings at biased clubs. Among these, the report stated, were the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Housing Association.

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