The 822 Club

 

The 822 Club was founded in room 822 of the Kansas City Club in about 1927. Its main purpose was probably to provide its members an opportunity to evade the prohibition laws in congenial surroundings. Tom Evans, a Kansas City businessman and club member, frequently invited Truman to the 822 Club, beginning probably in the 1930s, to participate in a daily poker game. Truman was given honorary life memberships in both the Kansas City Club and the 822 Club shortly after he became President. The club had an average of about 35 members in the 1950s and 1960s. Most members were businessmen; a few were lawyers and public officials. Among the members in 1955 were H. Roe Bartle, Harry Darby, W. N. Deramus, H. J. Massman, and Roy Roberts.

The character of the club is revealed in a handout that was given to members in 1954: "There is a deduction made from the poker chips issued which is known as Felix. This [is used] to cover the cost of the cards used in the game, and the drink mixtures, cigars, cigarettes and gum for the players who participate in the poker game…. There is a small private dining room which may be used by the members by making reservations…. Each member has been furnished with a key to the club which unlocks all locks." Most of the members of the 822 Club were Republicans. When a club member congratulated Truman on winning the election in November 1948, Truman responded, "How's 822? Suppose most of 'em are pretty quiet now." (Truman to W.N. Deramus, November 24, 1948. Truman Papers.)

The 822 Club apparently meant quite a lot to Truman. He invited club members to come to the Truman Library on April 9, 1957 for a tour of the almost completed building, and he invited them to a dinner held in the Library's research room on April 18, 1959.

The 822 Club was located on the eighth floor of the Kansas City Club, which sits at the northwest corner of 13th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

 

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