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In the autumn of 1946, Trinity College’s Arts and Letters Club became the umbrella organization that coordinated the coeducational recreational activities of several of the College's academic departments. Academic staff and students participated in meetings held by various groups loosely affiliated with a specific faculty. These included meetings of those in the community who were interested in Fine Art, Music, Literature or Philosophy as well as other arts endeavours.
The meetings of the Philosophy discussion group were spearheaded by Dr George Edison and were from the beginning very popular. Because of this unexpected popularity, Edison encouraged students to form a Philosophical Society. Thus began the Brett Club in September 1946, named after George Sidney Brett, Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a professor active in the Trinity community from 1919 until his death. He died suddenly at his home on 27 October 1944, remembered fondly by many students still attending the College.
Once formed, however, attendance in the Brett Club seemed to decline almost immediately, possibly because of the requirement that the Club was "restricted to those students genuinely interested in Philosophy" (Review, August 1947). The Brett Club failed to form a Constitution in the 1940s. It became known by the college community at large as "a certain species of cult to which new participants are admitted only upon invitation" (Review, Summer 1949).
The Arts and Letters Club included philosophical discussions that were more accessible. During the 1967-1968 academic session, the Brett Club revived through the efforts of its new President, Derek Allen (BA 1968, Head of Arts 1967-1968 and a Rhodes Scholar). It survived in a variety of forms over the intervening years, holding open and closed meetings about sophisticated philosophical questions and concepts.
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Trinity College Archives