The Cosmopolitan Club was founded in June 1928 by a group of spirited, independent women who, not being native Philadelphians, called themselves The Foreign Devils. In short order they purchased the 1616 Latimer Street lot, hired prominent architect Edmund Gilchrist and the very fashionable interior designer Jules Bouy, completed design and construction of the beloved Art Deco Clubhouse, and opened it in September 1930.
Thirty-nine of the Club's past and present members have been named Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania. Thirteen have won the Gimbel Award, and countless have been honored for their accomplishments in their professional, academic and volunteer endeavors.
The Clubhouse is highly regarded in academic circles as an outstanding example of Art Deco architecture, and it inhabits one of the loveliest small streets in Center City Philadelphia. It was designed by prestigious Philadelphia architect Edmund Gilchrist and completed in 1930. The four-story brick exterior with its canopied double-door entrance welcomes members and visitors into a gem-like interior where the work of Jules Bouy, the leading New York Art Deco designer of the time, has been carefully maintained. Particularly noteworthy are the custom-designed inlaid Steinway & Sons concert grand piano that was donated by Mary Louis Curtis Bok, the bronze mantelpieces, and many of the wall sconces, all original to the building. Later additions to the furnishings include an exotic wood desk, cupboard and credenza designed by G. Holmes Perkins, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Fine Arts and hand-crafted by noted furniture maker Thomas Moser.
The Lobby leads to a beautiful multi-level Salon, suitable for programs and social events. The ambience is complemented by revolving exhibitions of art, both on the walls and in the vitrines. The Club’s dining room overlooks a magnificent private garden, and its decorative motifs, including the red lacquered chairs designed for the building by preeminent interior designer Jules Bouy, carry out the Art Deco scheme. Additional public spaces include an intimate library and two committee rooms. There are restrooms throughout the building with the lower level housing lounges with cloakrooms for both women and men.