The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes
Since it’s been weeks (again!) since Ragtag’s Typogrammoricon! has tumbled from our antique 1906 American Type Founders “American Line Type Book”, and since we’ve hit a point in the pages that’s a bit booooring (trust us on this), we’ve dived into later pages - again - to present you with just two of some very particular pages devoted to men’s fraternal organizations/lodges.*
Since this kind of group was quite common in the U.S. throughout its first centuries, and they were still very active at the turn of the century, frequently forming the basis for much of the social activity of small town U.S.A., it would have behooved the jobbing printer to get a few of these to have handy for whenever he printed a related article or announcement.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows - or Odd Fellows for short - is an American offshoot of a British organization formed in the 18th century for fellowship & charitable acts - which at the time was apparently considered somewhat odd. Their emblem includes three links, which represent friendship, love & truth.
Most of the Odd Fellow type offered is emblem/logo or regalia-related, and while interesting, not of very much use now to the average graphic designer. We’ve therefore cleaned-up one of the beehives, which is one of the images representing the originally all-female auxiliary order of the Oddfellows, the Daughters of Rebekah, and which symbolizes industry and united effort. We offer it for your high-resolution use. We love bees.
The Knights of Pythias was another fraternal & benevolent order, founded in 1864 to “promote friendship among men, and alleviate suffering”. They take their name from the Greek legend of the friendship of Damon and Pythias. Their motto is Friendship, Charity, Benevolence and their sister order was called, aptly enough, the Pythian Sisters. Their emblems primarily consist of imagery of knighthood and armor - originally each inductee was required to buy a ceremonial sword for use in lodge rituals - but their Uniformed Rank, which adopted military terminology for its organization, also called themselves the Army of the Lily and used the calla lily as an emblem - we present the bud and full flower cleaned-up and at print resolution for your enjoyment.
There’s a couple of emblems thrown in at the bottom of this page from the Order of Heptasophs (The Seven Wise Men), founded in 1852, I’m not sure why exactly, which eventually floundered due to schism — and there’s one from the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, founded in 1852 to help Jewish immigrants to the U.S.; their initial clubs later became the foundation of the Jewish Community Center system. A Young Women’s Hebrew Association was later founded in 1888.
Finally: my maternal grandfather was a Mason, and he apparently took his membership and responsibilities very seriously; he was some grand poobah and had all the badges, honors and responsibilities of his office. Not that I really know what these were.
He was also an Odd Fellow, and while I heard it mentioned less often, it appears, at least in his small-town community, it was taken a bit less seriously - see the picture of he & his Odd Fellow lodge as they pose in lovely female attire. They do look a bit odd, except the guy in the upper right, who looks very much at at home in his pretty dress. My grandpa is the one in the front, second from the right - a redhead - on whom I’ve placed a red “x”. He does not shine as a woman.
There are no other photos of my male relatives in drag. That I know of.
*(We would present you with more typebits related to women’s lodges, but apparently the few that existed did not warrant a much of a look-in from the World O’ Metal Type. Maybe at some point later point in the book I will find some pieces devoted to the Order of the Eastern Star, which was all-female at the time - the wives of those belonging to the Masons.)
(This type book - from 1906 - is in the public domain; it is scanned from our own hardcopy.)