LGA Historical Society

The Long and Noble History of the
League of Gentlemen Adventurers

For many years, the League of Gentlemen Adventures has existed as a small, private fraternal organization, dedicated to helping its members enjoy and appreciate the pleasures of the world.  Though it has never held formal meetings, elected officers, or collected dues, the League has provided its Gents an informal forum for telling stories of their adventures (a number of which have actually proven to be true), swapping advice, and arguing vehemently about topics of little significance.

Until recently, League “membership” was extended by Gentlemen to their friends, family, and traveling companions, and a league “meeting” was whenever two or more Gents gathered to raise a glass and tell a story.  The easiest way to join the League of Gentlemen Adventurers was to drink with a member; fortified with liquid good will, a Gentleman Adventurer will almost invariable invite his companion to be a part of the League.  And the process for initiation is likewise lax.  All the initiate must do is raise a glass, and say the official League Toast, “Quam bene vivas refert, non quam diu.”  Consequently, many League members are not aware they are such; by the morning they have forgotten their solemn initiation ceremony, having only vague recollections of drinking into the wee hours with a mysterious raconteur.  If you’ve ever tipped a glass with a stranger in Havana, or on the streets of Pamplona, or in the Heart of Darkness in Phnom Penh, you may already be a member in good standing of the League of Gentlemen Adventurers.

This website and podcast are produced by a group of Gentlemen Adventurers in San Diego, California.  The original members of this San Diego Chapter (as we have begun calling ourselves) are Gregory Bass and Lee Dunteman, who were invited to join the League by a gentleman they became friends with via their regular Monday night gathering at a bar in El Cajon, California, in the late 1990s.  The man was a World War II veteran who lived alone in El Cajon, CA, whom Lee and Greg referred to affectionately as “Cap’n John.”  He told them of his experiences in the war with Colonel Randy’s Flying Circus (the 319th Bombardment Group based in Sardinia) and of his post-war life during which he rode freight trains, worked as a cowboy and part-time musician near Bakersfield, and taught natural science at the American University in Cairo.  Cap’n John also told Lee and Greg stories of previous members of the League of Gentlemen Adventurers, which he insisted had been in existence for centuries; he told stories (many that are almost certainly apocryphal) about well-known adventurers such as Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemmingway, and F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, as well as a host of lesser-known adventurers like L. Farley Falernum, Harvey Wangenstein, Wilhelm “Chic” Manshing and many more.

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