George Putnam, a Unitarian minister, is related to the New England Transcendentalists by being a cofounder of the famous "Transcendental Club." On 8 September 1836, following Harvard University's bicentennial celebration, Putnam, Frederic Henry Hedge
, George Ripley
, and Ralph Waldo Emerson
met at Willard's Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts to discuss plans for a "symposium" of like-minded thinkers. Dissatisfied with the current state of Unitarianism, they discussed the "new ideas of the times" and proposed ways of introducing "deeper and broader views" into theology and philosophy. Although membership in the group was to be restricted to ordained clergymen, Emerson insisted that Amos Bronson Alcott
be allowed to join on the grounds that Alcott was "a God-made priest." Alcott did not make it to this initial gathering but actively and eagerly participated in subsequent meetings of the club.