Horace Cleveland’s Friends: Five of Clubs

Trivia to delight and amaze.

Can you name two Minneapolis parks named for members of the “Five of Clubs,” an informal sort of book club?

The “Five of Clubs” met informally at the suburban Boston home of Horace W. S. Cleveland’s brother, Henry, in the early 1840s. Horace lived with his older brother for a time and sat in on those “club” gatherings.

Answer: Sumner Field and Longfellow Field.

Sumner Field was named for Sumner Place, the street in north Minneapolis on which the park was built in 1911. Sumner Place was named for U. S. Senator Charles Sumner, famous for his opposition to slavery and for ensuring the rights of freed slaves during Reconstruction. Before he was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, he was an attorney in Boston — and a member of the “Five of Clubs.”

Longfellow statue in a field near Longfellow Garden upstream from Minnehaha Falls, 2011. (Ursula Murray Husted, flickr.com)

Longfellow Field was named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet and professor of literature at Harvard in the 1840s and also a member of the “Five of Clubs.” In 1855, Longfellow published his epic poem “Song of Hiawatha,” which made Minnehaha Falls famous around the world. Longfellow never visited Minnehaha Falls and the book was written 17 years before Horace Cleveland first saw the Falls.

Imagine Horace Cleveland’s astonishment if he would have been told that 110 years after his death he would be more respected in his field than Longfellow is in his.

The other members of the “Five of Clubs” were Cornelius C. Felton, professor and future president of Harvard University, and George Stillman Hillard, Sumner’s law partner and author and publisher.

A reminder: Minneapolis should have a park along the Mississippi River gorge named for Horace Cleveland.

For much, much more on Horace Cleveland, click on his name in the tag cloud at right. For the whole story of Horace Cleveland and Minneapolis parks read City of Parks.

Just curious. Any future Sumners or Longfellows or Clevelands in your book club?

David C. Smith 

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