University Archives & Special Collections, MG 74. (Patrick Hayes)

The Unashamed

On a Saturday night in 1931 a “non-existent organization” was born in Saskatoon. “The Unashamed” was a University of Saskatchewan faculty men’s group that met once a month to discuss new books and read plays.

For the purposes of obtaining a liquor license, the group used the name the Saskatoon Literary & Reading Club.

The significance “Unashamed” can be found in a speech given by J.A. Corry of the College of Law, citing the club President:

“Of what things must a member in good standing be unashamed? They were three. First, they must be unashamed of their virtues: a qualification which [the President] was proud to say all members satisfied with ease. Second, they must be unashamed of their vices. This rule had a historical explanation. It was by way of concession to the original charter members. Third and most exacting, they must be unashamed of their association with one another.”

Meetings were held at members’ houses, with an annual dinner called “kick backs” held at one of the downtown hotels. The choice of literature read by the “Unashamed” was extremely wide, ranging from classical Greek plays to modern mathematics.

A typical meeting would consist of a paper given by a member, excerpts read from books and at times plays read with club members taking the parts. Another activity was to take popular songs of the day and give them alternative lyrics.  Alcohol was often involved.

With the opening of the Faculty Club on campus in 1962, the need for the venue-hopping club became redundant. The last recorded meeting was in February 1964.

This image is of the first meeting of the group and can be found in the papers of John Spinks, who was the club’s long serving secretary. 

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