London: Temple Chambers Victoria Embankment, 1891. Large lithographed letterhead prospectus and signed certificate of honorary membership in what turned out to be a swindle-- a "literary organization" founded in 1882 whose printed list of members includes such important names as the Earl of Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria (prior to becoming the first Governor General of Australia), and Sidney F. Hoffnung Esq. Secretary Hawaian (sic) Legation.
The association's goals were ostensibly to promote an international pen pal club based on literary interests, and to encourage literary talent through members' contributions to a monthly magazine. In fact, the organization, run by Angus MacLean was a swindle which conned people into becoming honorary members paying subscription fees, in part by listing well known people as members without their knowledge.
The swindle was exposed in 'Truth', a British periodical founded by the diplomat and Liberal politician Henry Labouchere and edited by Horace Voules. The journal was noted for its investigative journalism and exposure of many different kinds of frauds. 'Truth' published reports of Angus Maclean's scam and his fraudulent use of celebrity names, as a result of which the Early of Hopetoun wrote and demanded his name be removed from all Association pieces.
Text printed in blue with gilt borders, is made out in period manuscript to a "D. Conta, 9 Hill Street, Newport, Mon.", Registered Number 3995, with an embossed circular stamp at the bottom and signed by Alfred Nutting, Member of the Council and [illegible] Chief Secy & Treasurer. Top and bottom edge trimmed into margin. 11 x14" Very good condition. Item #23750