The records of the Baltimore Naturalists Field Club indicate that Dr. Henry Newell Martin first proposed "the desirability of forming a Field Club for the Study of Natural History of the region around Baltimore" in April 1880. The original framework was to include a President, a Secretary and Chairs of Sections who were to organize the weekly excursions and report on these in the fields of Botany, Vertebrates (Land), Invertebrates (Land), Aquatic and Marine Life, and Physical Geography and Geology. Each section was to offer a report on an excursion or related topic at each monthly meeting; the summaries of these reports were longer or shorter depending on the Secretary. This basic set up altered a number of times between 1880 and 1928 in terms of the number and titles of section chairs and whether undergraduates could take part in the proceedings; by 1928 the mass of membership was undergraduate. In 1895 "the question of admitting ladies as members of the club was brought up . . . It was thought best not to decide the question until some lady should actually apply for membership"; it was not until 1925 that any woman's name appears in the records, when Miss Yetta Levy applied.
After the meeting of April 4, 1910, the Club lapsed into inactivity for nearly ten years. When it was reorganized in December 1919, the emphasis had shifted away from the more scholarly approach of the original members' papers to more of a field trip orientation, with particular concentration on the work of the Homewood bird sanctuary, especially feeding, banding, and observing the species in the Baltimore area. The newer incarnation of the Club was also very fond of taking photographs of their expeditions, several of which are preserved in the minutes.