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Historic Mysterious Fraternal Organizations

Photos of fraternal organizations and their members since photography was first used over 150 years ago. Read more >>

Do you use Facebook or Linked In? Both are current of examples of ways of networking - but fraternal organizations are the time-tested way to network. Without the internet, a fraternal order allowed you to meet people - usually men - of like mind, character, and purpose and to often advance your status in life.

Examples of a few of the fraternal organizations of the past that still exist today, despite the internet:

The Knights of Columbus, founded in 1882. You must be a male Catholic in good standing and must vow to “defend your country, your family and your faith.”

The Junior Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1920, is comprised of men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 and is a leadership and civic organization for young people.

The Kiwanis was founded in 1915 and just about anyone can join. Originally, their motto was "We build" but in 2005 the motto "Serving the Children of the World" was chosen.

The Rotary Club was founded in 1905. Membership is by invitation only and you must be 18. The Club is proud of "being an organization of business and community leaders who strive to make a difference in the world."

The Loyal Order of Moose was founded in 1888 and membership is by invitation only. Prospective members must profess a belief in a supreme being. The Order donates about $75 million each year to serve at-risk youth and the elderly, as well as other charities.

The Independent Order of Oddfellows was founded in the 1700's. Men or women can join but he or she must believe in a supreme being and be “faithful to their country.” Their three links stand for friendship, love, and truth. The Order spends about $775 million annually on relief projects worldwide.

The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was founded in 1868. Members must be U.S. citizens and believe in God. Both men and women are eligible and membership is by invitation only. Elks donate mainly to student scholarships and veterans.

The Freemasons was founded around 1717 in London - the oldest written records - but scholars say that the order may even date back to the stonemasons' guilds of the Middle Ages. Fourteen U.S. Presidents were known to be Masons, as well as many of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Prospective members must believe in a supreme being, be a man of good repute, be able to support himself and his family, and live a moral and ethical life. It is estimated that Freemasons donate approximately $2 million per day to charitable causes.

Did you know that fraternal organizations are known to have existed as far back as ancient Greece and Rome? These historic societies may have been religious or secular - or they may have consisted of tradesmen - and were comprised of men, women, or both. In the United States alone, there are hundreds of fraternal organizations: Fraternal organizations include college fraternities, the Freemasons, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Elks, the Knights of Columbus, the Fraternal Order of Police, and many more. Browse the historic photos of some members of fraternal organizations from the past century below. << Read less
A photo of the Lodge room, Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts.
African American man wearing fraternal order collar and apron] / A.C. Golsh, 411 Main St., opp. Pico House, Los Angeles, Cal. Photograph shows a full length portrait of an African American man wearing a fraternal order collar and apron. His collar is embroidered with a three links symbol on the left and stars on each side, he holds a sword in his left hand.
A 1908 photo of a man wearing Mason hat, seated, embracing a woman.
A photo of an unidentified man, about 60 years of age, in Masonic regalia, three-quarter length portrait, three-quarters to the left, seated at table with tablecloth]
People in this photo:
New York, New York. Saturday night gathering of the members of the Venetia Giulia fraternity, an International Workers' Order section made up of Italians from the southern section of Austria. Singing the songs of their native country
I love to love a Mason, 'cause a Mason never tells Caricature of secret aspects of Freemasonry, showing attractive woman hugging man in dirty workclothes holding trowel; facial features (leprechaun beard, short-stemmed clay pipe, missing front teeth) are stereotypical caricature of Irishman.
Elizabeth Aldworth was the first recorded woman to be initiated into Freemasonry. Masons of Cork plaque: In Pious Memory of The Honorable ELIZABETH ALDWORTH, Wife of RICHARD ALDWORTH, Of Newmarket Court, Co. Cork, Esq., Daughter of ARTHUR, FIRST VISCOUNT DONERAILE. Her Remains Lie Close to This Spot. Born 1695, Died 1775. Initiated into Masonry in Lodge No. 44, at Doneraile Court In this County, A.D. 1712
People in this photo:
Elizabeth Aldworth
1695 - 1775
A photo of Grand Prior Alfred L. Michaud. Picture taken before his last flight to Italy for Templar business
People in this photo:
A scouting family, left to right, Ora Lillian (Dunn) Boyce, Beatrice, Lillian and Francis Boyce.
People in this photo:
Ora Lillian (Dunn) Boyce
Jul 25, 1889 - May 3, 1960
Memphis, TN, United States
A photo of Francis Boyce, Eagle Scout
People in this photo:
Francis Poe Boyce
Nov 8, 1909 - May 11, 1988
Memphis, TN
A photo of Francis Poe Boyce, Eagle Scout.
People in this photo:
Francis Poe Boyce
Nov 8, 1909 - May 11, 1988
Memphis, TN
A photo of James R. Baskin at Philmont Scout Ranch when James was 16.Top row, Second from right
People in this photo:
James R. Baskin
Born: Jul 2, 1962
A photo of Vernon A Weekes
People in this photo:
Vernon A Weekes
Mar 23, 1920 - Feb 28, 1997
Roosevelt, NY
This statue of a Native American Indian still stands today [2018 ] , on the Old Redmen Hall Building in Kewanee Illinois . The Redmen were a Fraternal Organization that had a chapter in Kewanee early 1900's.
A photo of a weird Cabinet Card - Kewanee Illinois. No idea what this man is dressed up for. Maybe some kind of organization perhaps ? Fascinating .
A photo of possibly a GAR Reunion in Wheeling, West Virginia.
People in this photo:
George Miphandallas Rush
Nov 1, 1844 - Mar 22, 1924
John Baptist Inman was elected National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic at Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1925. The Grand Army of the Republic (or G.A.R.), was a veteran's organization for former members of the Union Army during the Civil War.
People in this photo:
John Baptist Inman
1848 - 1929
A photo of Leonard B. Chapman, member of the Moose. This photo of me was taken about 2015. Wearing my Fellowship jacket/tie, second degree of the Loyal Order of Moose. Under the Fellow patch, is the Past Legion President medal. Received the Fellowship degree in 2003.
People in this photo:
A photo of a portrait of Joseph Smith, Founder of Mormonism and a Freemason. Many of the symbols of Freemasonry are a part of the Mormon religion.
People in this photo:
Joseph Smith
Dec 23, 1805 - Jun 27, 1844
A photo of an early group of Co-Masons, founded in England in 1908 (inspired by France). In the first years, all Grand Masters were men but in 1912, women became the Grand Master. By the 1930's, only women were members of this group.
A photo of Annie Besant in her Co-Mason regalia. She also fought for women's rights and was a Theosophist.
People in this photo:
Annie Besant
1847 - 1933
Masons, Connersville,Indiana 1960's. Elmhurst Warren Lodge.
The back of the photo says Boy Scout band, Okemah, Okla. The license plate on the car is 1917. It was probably taken on the day of a parade, maybe 4th of July?
A photo of Alice Dorothy Caroff (in the center of this photograph, standing) with the Lion's club.
People in this photo:
Alice Dorothy (Eureka) Caroff
Aug 12, 1919 - Apr 2, 2010
Sidman, PA
A photo of Anthony Braunger Knighted into the Holy Order of the Jerusalem Sepulcher under the direction of Pope Pius XII where he became a Knight Commander. 1950
People in this photo:
A photo of Peter Westfalius, who came to USA like a lot of european young men ,when he was a teen. He settled in San Francisco, and was a captain and did shipping until he started his own business. He was born in Sweden .His father was a big shipping man in Sweden. He was a member of various organizations. He had oyster business in San Francisco Bay area and in Conn. Somehow he is related to George Bruns, in a way we have not figured out , yet!
People in this photo:
A photo of Cordelia Powell Odenheimer, my great great grand aunt . She was President General United Daughters of the Confederacy
People in this photo:
A photo of Edward Peter Aune
People in this photo:
Edward Peter Aune
May 11, 1914 - Oct 26, 2004
salinas, ca, us
A photo of J. H. Walker
People in this photo:
A photo of members of the Italian Catholic Federation (officers), Los Angeles. Included in this photo: Angie Publico, Tony Vidor, Emil Mutino, Julius Ciaffa, Mike Bruccaleri, John Davis, Mary Davis, Louis Insalato, Trini Serrano, Connie Puleri, John J. Cacioppo, Catherine Cacioppo, and Ann Graczyk.
People in this photo:
A photo of Andrew Jacobs in his Knights of Pythias vest.
People in this photo:
Andrew Jacobs
Nov 7, 1891 - Dec 1, 1953
A photo of Julian Skelton (1923 - 1984) during his Presidency of the Rome Shrine Club
People in this photo:
Julian Skelton
Jan 14, 1923 - Oct 13, 1984
Rome, GA, United States
A photo of Helen Monzell Potter Birdsong is my Great Grandmother. She is the 3rd woman from the left. A very big part of the REBEKAH, many family members have been odd fellows and Rebekah.
People in this photo:
Helen Monzell (Potter) Birdsong
May 28, 1910 - Nov 14, 1996
A photo of the officers of Strasburg, Virginia American Legion - Earl Robinson on back row on end
People in this photo:
This is a mystery photo of a possible Weekes man found with family photos belonging to Helen Weekes Campbell, originally of Lynn, Mass. It was mounted in glass with what appears to be Masonic logos and sash on the reverse. Would love to ID.
Jrena Fromberg Shapiro, my grandmother, who was the 2d National President (1934-42) of the Mizrachi Women's Organization
People in this photo:
Jrena (Fromberg) Shapiro
Oct 11, 1887 - around Jun 21, 1947
Masons (in Indiana in 1965) get together for a picture - my grandfather John Walker is in the back 3rd from left
People in this photo:
Johnny Walker
Born: 1913
A photo of Arnold A Baton in his Elks jacket
People in this photo:
Arnold A Baton
Dec 18, 1920 - May 31, 1984
Central Village, CT
A photo of Curtis Herald Shaw - Meeting of the Masonic Lodge
People in this photo:
Curtis Herald Shaw
Oct 13, 1915 - Sep 23, 2004
Al was husband to my great aunt, Lila Fay O'Daniel. He was a Grand Master of his Mason's Lodge (? Oceanside, CA.).
People in this photo:
A photo of George Vickers in the Regalia of Knight of Royal Antideluvian Order of Buffaloes. (Not Masonic)
People in this photo:
Betty Maddux being installed as the President of the American Legion Junior Auxillary in 1940. Betty is the short girl in the back row, center of the photo.
People in this photo:
A photo of Wallace Minniefield in Masonic dress.
People in this photo:
Wallace Minniefield
May 19, 1932 - Aug 11, 2011
Staten Island, NY
This pin belonged to my great grandfather who died in New Jersey in 1927. Can anyone tell me what Fraternity or Group this pin represents? I have searched with much frustration.
People in this photo:
Denise Tober in the center. Gamma Phi Beta sorority 1973, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
People in this photo:
Denise Tober
Mar 30, 1951 - Sep 20, 2008
A photo of Clora Gaddis, a member of the Century Club.
People in this photo:
Clora B. (Anderson) Gaddis
around Aug 3, 1905 - around Oct 18, 2009
Bel Air, MD
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