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The Completely Fictitious and Utterly Made-up History of LCRW

The LCRW is the popular name of a writing society founded in 1811 at the Institute of Ebenezer Allan at the 100-Acre Tract. The group formally named the "L.C.R.W. Society", was founded on November 11, 1811, by Chaumonot and Fremin. The society maintains relationships with City Club and the Society of Thurlow Weed.

The L.C.R.W. Society is the first recorded writer's society in the United States of America west of the Alleghanies. Late in the 20th century, the Education section of The New York Sun profiled America's oldest writer's clubs, including a letter (now housed in the archives held at Ashbery Library) which William Fitzhugh wrote to William Morgan, mentioning Fitzhugh's membership of the L.C.R.W. [ The initials of the LCRW may have once stood for the Latin phrase, "Literary, Clava, Rhetorum, Waranti" The members of the original group met regularly for discussion and fellowship, especially at the Farmer's Tavern and Inn. The group became publicly known for its critique of the writing style of Washington Irving. Who wrote, "[w]hen I was a resident of the western part of this state, there existed a society called the L.C.R.W. Society, confined to the number of six writers only, of which I was a member, which had useful input into my growth as an author."

James Fenimore Cooper, a little-known scribbler of stories who in 1813 sought but was refused admission to the L.C.R.W. Society later established the Hoodoo Corner Club. Seating arrangements for the meetings were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted.

The members of the  L.C.R.W. Society suspended the activities of the group in early 1814, probably as a result of the British burning of Buffalo and the capture of Fort Niagara. Restarting in late 1815, the group's first speaker was scheduled for a meeting in the early 1860s. One Samuel Clemens did not attend owing to his being AWOL from a military unit and needing to be a judge at the Jumping Frog Contest of Calaveras County.

Famous members or visitors include one Issur Danielovitch Demsky, who stopped by after a shift at a local steel mill in the 1930s. Lena Goldman and her sister joined in the late 1880s. Both sisters stood squarely against the formation of any rules or schedule of events preferring to, "let history determine its course. It is you who are a little more liberal. I'm not responsible for the sessions." The daughter of Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read joined in 1872 but did not attend due to her being arrested. She refused to pay the fine claiming, "I need the money for annual dues to the L.C.R.W. Society." The writer's society was so well known at the time, the authorities declined to take further action. The group helped her create her middle initial of B.

Francis Church was a member and got his first critique of "Yes, Ethelgardia, there is a Santa Claus." Members suggested he change the named protagonist to Virginia. George Baldwin Selden was briefly a member but was unable to attend meetings for lack of a ride to the western part of town. George Whipple (also known as George the Grocer) wrote short stories about the delayed satisfaction of grasping for a while but then left the group to write commercial ads and to dabble in intestinal medicine. He would later be awarded a notable prize.

Meanwhile, members William Hincher and Peter Gruber wrote non-fiction works on Crotalus Sistrurus. Their famous work was published by John Mastick. Ephraim Webster wrote about the Miami native-American tribe and its language while an L.C.R.W. Society member. While Morley Turpin spent years researching his biographical work at LCRW. Today we have 30 members throughout Monroe County NY, published in multiple genres, with authors hitting the NY Times bestseller lists.






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