Torch Club of Delaware records

Biographical and Historical Notes

The International Association of Torch Clubs, established in 1924, is a non-profit organization comprised of local Torch Clubs located throughout the United States and Canada. The Torch Club of Delaware was founded six years later in 1930.

The International Association of Torch Clubs organizes annual Torch Conventions, as well as provides support and guidance for regional Torch Conventions and the formation of new local clubs. It also publishes a quarterly magazine, The Torch , which highlights papers presented at local meetings. The local Torch Clubs provide a setting where "respected persons practicing recognized professions enjoy the cultural interchange of knowledge." Each member is responsible for annual dues, which offset the cost of the monthly meetings and other operation costs. Each local club has a monthly dinner meeting, including the presentation of a paper by a member or guest, followed by a discussion of the topic.

On June 16, 1930, thirty men in the Wilmington area formed the Torch Club of Delaware. The first officers of the Club were also elected at this meeting, and their professions reflect the intended diversity of the Torch Club: President, Dr. Walter Hullihen, President of the University of Delaware; Vice President Dr. Charles Candee, Minister, Westminster Presbyterian Church; Secretary Dr. W.O. La Motta, Ophthalmologist; and Treasurer Elwyn Evans, Vice President, Wilmington Trust Company. From the beginning, existing members elected or invited new members to join. The Torch Club of Delaware began admitting women in 1975, even though the International Association of Torch Clubs had changed their policies relating to gender in 1972. A simple change in the local club's by-laws from "only professional men" to "only professional persons" thereafter allowed for the admission of women into the Delaware Torch Club. The Torch Club of Delaware remains in existence, holding monthly dinner meetings at the University of Delaware.


International Association of Torch Clubs, Inc. official website,, viewed on February 20, 2006.

All other information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

The records of the Torch Club of Delaware were a gift of Dr. James McNeely and comprise over 3.3 linear feet of administrative documents, financial records, monthly meeting minutes, annual reports, correspondence, and newspaper clippings, spanning the dates 1930 to 2016.

The collection is divided into three series. Series I. consists of miscellaneous administrative materials, information on the International Association of Torch Clubs, as well as the original charter and by-laws of the Torch Club of Delaware. This series also includes financial records covering bulk dates, copies of the quarterly magazine, The Torch, and a series of price lists for potential venues for monthly dinner meetings.

The second series consists of the Torch Club of Delaware records from 1930 to 1993. The arrangement of this series is chronological and includes administrative documents, correspondence, financial records, monthly and annual reports, and newspaper clippings. This organization reflects the original arrangement of the collection at the time of its receipt at the University of Delaware Library. Some overlapping dates remain, and records for the year 1988 are missing.

The third series comprises brochures, mailers, programs, and other materials from annual Torch Conventions held in various locations nationally, as well as newsletters from non-Delaware Torch chapters. The series is arranged chronologically.

The Torch Club of Delaware records provide researchers access to the intellectual and social history of Delaware from 1930 to 2016. The diversity of materials in the Torch Club records offers a well-rounded view of the social, intellectual, and financial changes the club underwent throughout the years represented in the collection.