I especially like the understated, matter-of-fact testimonials that were all the rage in 1920s and 1930s catalogs. “I have found the product to be completely satisfactory in all respects. Sincerely, Geo. Smith, Xenia, O.”
Well, fraternal organizatons are not exactly dying out. But this stuff was used by a number of groups that have passed into obscurity.
Examples include The Tribe of Ben Hur, who as you might have guessed was an insurance company. The International Order of Odd Fellows (still on its last legs) and the once-important Grange and Improved Order of Red Men.
(The Red men had a cerremony that included a campfire. Their ceremonial rooms often had gas lamps on the floor to act as the campfire. )
Skelatons, skulls and coffins are still used in some Masonic reituals, but not as often as in the past.
Perhaps my favorite bit of this stuff (I cannot find it in the catalouge) is a bed of stakes made of foam rubber. A candiate was forced to walk across them. Sometime a bed of crushed ice was also used (after the candidate was exposed to a real bed of coals).
More importantly it was means for modern men to go through bonding rituals. Silly props for a serious purpose.
Oh yes, I’ve heard about these type of things - first time I’ve seen them, must have been hilarious…
As a Past President of one of the fraternal organizations that this catalog was aimed at, I would like to say that today’s initiations are done in a respectful manner. While hijinks were a staple of initiations in the past, today there is no hint of any jokes at the expense of the candidate.
If you are invited to join a fraternal organization, please look closely at what you’re being offered. Most of them involve themselves in charitable works. While we do have our social quarters, which do serve “adult beverages,” we are not simply a “bunch of old men who sit around the bar and drink heavily.”
In fact, the organization that I belong to gives scholarships to high school students. And the students selected do not need ANY affiliation with our order, no father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, etc. affiliation. We are the second largest granter of scholarships to high school students in the United States (the first is the Federal Government). Over 3.1 MILLION dollars has been budgeted on the national level this year, and that does not include the local level scholarships.
And our State organization last year raised over $2.7 million dollars to provide physical therapists for physically challenged children whose parents could not afford therapy. We employ the therapists, provide the transportation, and help numerous children every year.
Yes, our past was littered with crazy stunts and the like, but today’s organizations (for the most part) have evolved into mature, responsible, and respectable organizations. Please don’t judge us on what happened in our groups 50, 60 years ago, but on what we are now.
I can give my money, time & effort to charity far more efficiently than by funneling it through any fraternal organization.
Moreover, most fraternal organisations don’t allow single women to join. So, being a single male in search of a mate, this is a big drawback. Reminds me of a little kids’ treehouse, with a No Girls Allowed sign on the door.
The “entertainment” is aimed at the 60+ set.
The majority of the membership is older men. Not necessarily sprightly company.
I guess the Fountain Attachment and Goat Blat for the Fuzzy Wonder Goat made for better felching, especially when using the Electric Stirrup. That bit about trying to establish a relationship is a bit odd, though. Makes me think that men should never be left on their own without supervision.
To each his own. I was simply trying to explain that our organization, at least, did not condone the humiliation and embarrassment of new initiates. As far as funneling money through an organization, we have a foundation set up that only uses the interest of the fund, never touches the principal, and still manages to return more money to most lodges than each individual lodge puts into it. As one man, I can’t give $100,000. But 100,000 members giving $1.00 each can.
We do. It’s been that way for quite a while.
Guilty. A person 60 years old this year would enjoy music by The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Van Morrison, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Sedaka, Elton John, etc. The same type of music that I enjoy and my band plays. If you’re into rap or heavy metal don’t expect it to be played at one of these lodges.
I resemble that remark
See above post. I’m not trying to get everyone to join the lodge. Our organization is not for everyone. I realize that. Just don’t close your mind.
The only remark I would make is that I have made many new friends through my association with the Elks, and am assured of a friendly welcome when I travel anywhere in the United States, as there are over 2,000 lodges located throughout the country.