Home > Visitors > History


Felix Adler1851 Felix Adler born in Alzey, Germany.

1876 On May 15 at 8:00 p.m. in Standard Hall at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway in New York City, Felix Adler delivers an address launching the Ethical Culture movement.

1883 A group St. Louisians approach Felix Adler about organizing a fellowship for Ethical Culture in their city.

Walter Sheldon1886 Walter Sheldon (at just 28 years old) delivers three lectures marking the foundation of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, ten years to the month after the movement began.

1888 The Society opens free reading rooms for wage earners in downtown St. Louis, establishes a a kindergarten directed by the Society's Ladies Philanthropic Club, and creates the Domestic Economy School to teach homemaking skills that will help working-class women be more self-reliant.

1891 Walter Sheldon founds the Greek Ethics Club, a women's group committed to the study of Greek and world literature.

Wedding of Hermann Schwarz and Louise Rheinlander1899 The St. Louis Society performs its first wedding ceremony, uniting Hermann Schwarz and Louise Rheinlander on April 16.

1901 The St. Louis Society organizes the Colored People's Self-Improvement Federation, which organized an annual course of lectures for blacks.

1904 The St. Louis Society during the 1904 World's Fair.

1906 Walter Sheldon travels to Japan.

1907 Walter Sheldon dies of heart disease. Anna Sheldon takes on interim duties as Leader.

1909 Anna Sheldon, in memory of her late husband, offers a challenge grant to the Society to build a permanent new meeting house for the Society.

1910 Percival Chubb and Anna Sheldon marry, having both become widowed in 1905 and 1907, respectively.

1911 Percival Chubb is selected Leader.

Sheldon Memorial1912 The Sheldon Memorial opens as the Society's first permanent meeting house.

1913 Chubb revives the Greek Ethics Club, which had been languishing since Sheldon's death, as the Contemporary Literature Circle.

1916 Chubb organizes an anti-war demonstration at the St. Louis City Hall. Chubb also calls the local St. Louis papers "superficial and sensational." Journalists took issue with his remarks, but attendance at Chubb's Platform addresses increased considerably.

1917 The Society hosts a rally by the National League to Enforce Peace. Simultaneously, the Society contributes to relief efforts, encourages the purchase of liberty bonds, and otherwise patriotically supports American involvement in the World War I.

See our meeting places.