Historic: Mensa founding

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Historic: Mensa founding Gender: N/A
born on 1 October 1946
Place London, England, 51n30, 0w10
Timezone GDT h1e (is daylight saving time)
Data source
Date w/o time
Rodden Rating X
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 07°40' s_mo.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif


Mensa is an international organization for people with IQs that test in the top 2% of the population. The IQ test that have evolved through academia may not be the best method of measurement, but they are the only method that we have of measurement at this time.

Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, 49, bearded, thick-set and prosperously dressed, met Lancelot Ware, a mature student returning to Oxford after a wartime interruption, on a train in 1946. They began a conversation and exchanged cards. They were aware of "High IQ Clubs" at several British universities. On 3/11/1946, Ware gave Berrill one such test, and they decided to form such a club themselves. The word 'Mensa' comes from the Latin meaning of 'Round Table," implying equality among members.

Berrill had the first piece of Mensa literature printed on October 1, 1946, which is generally considered the date of founding. The first president was Professor Sir Cyril Burt, who felt that a broadcast of his had sowed the seed of the idea in Berrill's mind, and contemporaries testify that Berrill affirmed this view. The second Mensa president was Buckminster Fuller, followed by Victor Serebriakoff.

In 1947 there were 33 members in Mensa and the first formal meeting was held on December 6th in a private room at the Jill-On-The-Green restaurant in Soho, London. This was a Saturday dinner meeting. The time may be speculated to be 7:00 PM.

American Mensa was formed in the U.S. by 1960 with 22 members. The founding meeting was held in the home of Peter A. Sturgeon in Brooklyn on 9/30/1960. Margot Seitelman was engaged as Executive Director in November 1961.

By 1997, Mensa had 94,000 members in more than 100 countries, with Victor Serebriakoff contributing his 42nd year of service and his 9th decade on what Bucky Fuller called "planet Earth."

From the 1995 Central Alabama Mensa Handbook, Lewis Sanford, Editor, "Being smart is like being rich or pretty. You are partially responsible for some parts of it, but not for all of it."

Source Notes

LMR quotes the Mensa Bulletin Jan/Feb 1994, the Bulletin in 7/1990 and the Bulletin in 12/1997


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