On November 19, 1930, a group of sixteen men who shared an interest in books, fine printing and the book arts were called together by Frank K. Walter and Arnett W. Leslie to form a book club.

After five years of being called The Unnamed Book Club, the name Ampersand was adopted at the suggestion of Christopher Morley. The name indicates, in the words of Emerson G. Wulling, a charter member of the Club, "the miscellaneous components of the group and its literary and typographical amity."

On February 2, 1979, the members of The Ampersand Club voted to expand their activities and to form a non-profit corporation so that the organization could grow in size and in the scope of its offerings to the community.