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Madison Club Cancels Rejection of Jewish Applications for Membership

November 30, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The Madison Club board of directors has reversed an earlier decision and voted to invite a Jewish State Supreme Court Justice and a Jewish attorney to join after a storm of protest over the original decision rejecting the applications.

The board acted after more than 200 of the club’s 600 members signed a protest petition and Fred H. Harrington, president of the University of Wisconsin, resigned from the club. The board held a special meeting at which it liberalized club by-laws on admission procedures. It then invited Justice Myron Gordon and Attorney Gordon Sinykin to join.

The board said, in a statement, that it had acted to amend “the by-laws so as to provide that any candidate may be admitted by five affirmative votes of the nine directors. In addition, the club, by appropriate action, moved that Justice Myron Gordon and Gordon Sinykin are welcome to join the club if they care to.”

Two of the board members initially voted against admission for the two men, leading to charges of bias in the club and to the resignation of Mr. Harrington. The rejection was widely believed to have been on the basis of the fact that they were Jews. Their applications originally had been submitted at the urging of Collins Ferris, president of the Madison Bank and Trust Company, who, along with other Madison Club members, wanted to dispel long-standing reports that the club barred Jews.

A number of groups in Madison responded to the original rejection by canceling meetings at the Madison Club. The Madison City Council passed a resolution declaring its intent to deny city license privileges, including liquor licenses, to organizations guilty of discriminating on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry.

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