Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture
Inspired by the Ethical Culture Movement began by Columbia University professor Felix Addler in the late 19th century, the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture was established in 1906. The society's headquarters is located in this neo-Jacobean style mansion designed by William B. Tubby. The historic building was constructed for the family of William J. Childs in 1900. Childs was an investor who helped to create the holding company that marketed the Bon Ami brand of cleaning powder--a product that once dominated the market and is still sold in stores. The society acquired its current headquarters in 1938. Although there are not regular public tours, the Society welcomes visitors.
Backstory and Context
Adler's organization was dedicated to the study of social justice and establishing new institutions to achieve a more just and ethical society. In some ways, the new organization resembled the more traditional faith-based organizations, but Adler focused more on ethical behavior rather than faith in a single religious creed. Developing his talents for written and oral communication, Adler continued to publish and lecture and would later be appointed as chair of political and social ethics at Columbia University
Addler became a leading national figure in several reform movements. For example, he was the chairman of the National Child Labor Committee and one of the founding members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture was established in response to a growing interest in Addler's ideas. Today, it presents itself as a liberal and educational fellowship of individuals and families who come together to pursue personal growth and social progress.
"Our Founder." New York Society for Ethical Culture. Accessed Web, 6/9/17. http://www.nysec.org/felixadler.