On February 1, 1901, nine artists and one businessman founded the Society of Illustrators with the following credo: “The object of the Society shall be to promote generally the art of illustration and to hold exhibitions from time to time.” At a time when illustration was in its Golden Age, the first monthly dinners were attended by prominent artists including Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parish, N.C. Wyeth, Charles Dana Gibson, Frederic Remington, James Montgomery Flagg, Howard Chandler Christy, and special guests such as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie.
The Society of Illustrators is an organization of many layers, which provides illustrators a center to discuss, demonstrate, and exhibit their work; contributes to future artists and to the community at large; honors its preeminent practitioners; and takes a stand on legal and ethical issues affecting the profession. As it faces the challenges of a swiftly changing future, the Society will continue to “promote generally the art of illustration,” as its founders dictated.
The Society of Illustrators is located in the Upper East Side of New York City at 128 East 63rd Street in a graceful, five-story townhouse on a quiet residential block. Originally a carriage house built in 1875 for William P. Read, a personal secretary for financier J.P. Morgan, it is near many of New York’s famed cultural institutions, Central Park, and the glittering shops of Madison Avenue. Today, the building hosts not only many Society membership activities, but also lectures, drawing opportunities for professionals and students, art competitions, publications and gifts, beautiful and informative exhibitions, and more, all in service to the art of illustration.