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Numerous Sport Clubs in New York Are Closed to Jews and Negroes

July 14, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A pattern of exclusion by most private sports clubs in the New York metropolitan area of Jewish and Negro members, on the basis of unwritten rather than written regulations, emerged today from a spot survey by the New York Times of club membership policies.

The survey found that, like the West Side Tennis Club which barred Nobel Prize winner Ralph J. Bunche and his son because they are Negroes, there were no clubs with specific religious or racial bans in their constitutions or by-laws. The bans are applied through membership selection procedures which begin with the requirement that applicants must be proposed by members. Generally, only a few negative votes–in some clubs, only one–need be cast to blackball an applicant.

None of the clubs queried in the survey had Negro members. Some had a few Jewish members. The Pine Hollow Country Club at Oyster Bay in distant Suffolk county on Long Island was described by manager William Chadwicke as "non- sectarian " He added that about 90 percent of the members were Jewish and that no members were Negroes.

One club manager, who asked not to be identified, said his club had some Jewish members but that they were members of families which had converted to Christianity. Leslie White, manager of the Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, said there were no Negro or Jewish members but added that "it so happens that none have been proposed." Oliver Rodgers, president of the Meadow Club in Southampton, L. I. , said there were no Negro members but declined to say whether there were any Jewish members.

The New York Athletic Club, frequently in the news for its tight bars against Jews and Negroes, proved to be the most difficult club from which to get information. Julien J. Soubiran, former president, referred the matter to the club office. At the club a spokesman said the matter could be discussed only by Jerome F. Healy, Jr. , secretary. Mr. Healy said he did not have the authority to answer such questions and that only "the top man, " the president, Joseph J Lordi, could supply the information. Mr. Lordi was unavailable.

Other clubs which reported, usually reluctantly, that they had neither Jewish nor Negro members, included the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N. Y. ; The Orange Lawn Tennis Club in South Orange, N. Y. and The Meadowbrook Club in Jericho, L. I. Martin Barry, general manager of the Westchester County Club in Rye, N. Y. , said there were Jewish but no Negro members.

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