A Nation of Joiners: Ritual, Regalia and the History of Fraternalism in America

fraternal org emblem

Presented by Dennis Carr

Saturday, February 13
10:30 a.m.
A ZOOM program presented in partnership with the Central Library

From the early nineteenth through the twentieth century the symbols and emblems of secret societies and benefit organizations appear on monuments in Mount Hope Cemetery. By the 1920s, half of the entire population of the United States belonged to at least one secret order or fraternal benefit society. Although their practices and ceremonies can appear silly today, these organizations played a vital role in the culture of their time in providing social “safety net” benefits, pre-digital age networking and powerful lobbying efforts for their members. This program explores the evidence left by these groups in Mount Hope Cemetery and across American culture. 

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