The Pilgrims Society and Public Diplomacy, 1895-1945

Stephen Bowman

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Labelled by an Irish-American newspaper in 1906 as a ‘nondescript aggregation of degenerate Americans, Britishers and Jews’, the Pilgrims Society has long excited the imaginations of conspiracy theorists. Founded in London in 1902, this upper-class dining club acted to bring Britain and the US closer together in political, diplomatic and cultural terms. This book is the story of how this elite network – which included iconic figures such as J.P Morgan and Andrew Carnegie – attempted to influence the Anglo-American relationship in the days before it became ‘special.’ The book explains that the Pilgrims did this by means of public diplomacy, a concept more commonly used by historians to refer to Cold War-era state-sponsored publicity activities. As this book makes clear, however, it was only through the earlier work of semi-official organisations like the Pilgrims Society – who operated within a state-private nexus – that greater governmental involvement in public diplomacy was legitimised.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages242
ISBN (Print)9781474417815, 9781474452151
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Series in Anglo-American Relations
PublisherEdinburgh University Press


  • associational culture
  • transnationalism
  • Anglo-American relations
  • Pilgrims Society
  • public diplomacy
  • internationalism
  • propaganda
  • 28ref2021


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