Granby men were early members of Monday Evening Club of Hartford

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James Lee Loomis

James Lee Loomis and William Mills Maltbie were not only giants of Hartford’s business community—Loomis was president of Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company and William Maltbie was the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court—but they also led various organizations in Granby. The pair were life-long friends, and both were included in the 1937 edition of Who’s Who in America.

Loomis and Maltbie were members of the Monday Evening Club of Hartford, a literary club whose membership of state leaders met to discuss essays written by its members. One of its founders was Horace Bushnell (Bushnell Park) and it brought together 20 prominent civic leaders twice a month from December to June.

Hartford was not the only city to have a literary club; there were others in Boston, New York and in Pittsfield. The Hartford club started in 1869, and according to author and member Francis Goodwin, the group had 87 members by 1970. Members included Connecticut governors, U.S senators, college presidents, professors, CEOs, clergymen, firm partners, newspaper editors and noted authors such as Mark Twain.

On these Mondays at 7, one member hosted the gathering at his home and another member would present his essay to the group, after which it would be discussed. After discussion, at 10 p.m., the group would have dinner and the night would be over by 10:30. Before everyone left, another member was chosen to write the essay for the next meeting.

William Mills Maltbie Photos courtesy of the Salmon Brook Historical Society

Most of the essays James Lee Loomis presented were related to insurance, including Foolish Ways of Wealth and Power, Corporate Aid to Education, and So You’re Retired. Loomis wrote 12 essays for the group. He put some of his essays as well as speeches he gave at Connecticut Mutual in a book, Notes of a New Englander. Loomis was a member of the Monday Evening Club for 35 years and he presented his last paper in 1970, the year before he died at age 92.

William Maltbie presented five essays in his 22 years as a member of the club, mostly about judicial matters such as: Personal Elements in Judicial Decisions, The Function of Courts in Democracy, and The Common Law. In 1960, Maltbie retired from the club and the next year he would die at age 81.

Granby was well represented from 1936 to 1970 by two of its prominent citizens. The Monday Evening Club in Hartford still exists and now has 15 members.

To learn more about the Monday Evening Club, or James Lee Loomis and William Maltbie, join the Salmon Brook Historical Society by calling 860-653-9713 or visiting