A TALL Tale
The first tall club was founded in Los Angeles, California in May, 1938. An article in the Los Angeles Times by Kae Sumner (later Kae Einfeldt) entitled “Six foot three (what will it be?)” attracted nine like-minded people to the first party at Kae’s home.
The group established a club that was first called the “Longfellow’s Club”. The name was later changed to the California Tip Toppers Club, with a goal of providing a social outlet for tall people. Letters arrived from all over the U.S. and Europe following a June 24, 1940 Life magazine article. A Ripley’s “Believe It Or Not” panel noted that Kae was painting Snow White’s short friends for the Disney Co. when she wrote the Times article.
A campaign to encourage manufacturers to make large sized clothing, shoes, and bedding was surprisingly successful. Mattress, Inc. of Los Angeles put an ad in the local paper: “Here it is, Tip Toppers… You Asked For It! The King Sized Mattress!”
World War II intervened, and most of the male members entered the service, but the women remained active hosting USO events and other war-related activities. In 1947, the first Tall Club Convention was held in Los Angeles. Fourteen US clubs and one Canadian club organized as the American affiliation of Tall Clubs in 1948. When the affiliation incorporated in 1967, the name was changed to Tall Clubs International.
TCI has held an annual convention each year since the first one in 1947. During a convention, club delegates elect an Executive Board to run the organization. The President and staff coordinate and promote TCI, and provide a communication channel for clubs to air ideas. Regular reports go to all TCI member clubs by mail and over the Internet, and individual clubs send their newsletters to each other as well.
Tall Club of New York City
The first Tall Club in New York City was formed in 1942. With a severe shortage of tall men due to the war effort, two women - Gladys Brody and Ruth Kapner, took the example of the Tip Toppers club (see above).
The club was called the New York Stratoliners. This club remained active well into the 1970’s, and was one of the original clubs in The American Association of Tall Clubs, which would later become Tall Clubs International when several Canadian clubs joined. The Stratoliners were followed by the New York Skyliners, which was not affiliated wih TCI. It was not successful, and members wanted the global contacts TCI afforded.
The current club was founded in 1992 by Julie Wagner (6′ 0″) and Ann Watt (5′ 11″), and has several members of the original Stratoliners and Skyliners clubs.
The Tall Club of New York City joined Tall Clubs International in 1993. The club was started with a classified ad, to which twelve people responded. The club now has over 480 people on its mailing list, and is growing steadily.