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Photographs175 of 5065Old stereo viewer. Late 1800’s tin type of a men’s swim team
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    Posted 11 months ago

    (1 item)

    My Grandfather is in this photo. I have been trying to find out what this group is. I have struck out. Can you help? I do know he was a Mason, but there no Freemason insignia’s in this photo.

    Lisa Watkins

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. dav2no1 dav2no1, 11 months ago
      Just a guess but there's a skull on the table and they're in some crazy costumes. So maybe Odd Fellows?
    2. flashlarue flashlarue, 11 months ago
      5 axes on the floor and 1 axe on the table. Only group I know to use an axe as a symbol is Woodsmen Of the World, WOW. But I have never seen them in robes.
    3. RichmondLori RichmondLori, 11 months ago
      the one group known for the robes ....well lets just say I don't see any flames or crosses....but I am no expert..
    4. RichmondLori RichmondLori, 11 months ago
      Please don't take my comment in the wrong way. I meant nothing bad or suggestive. ! Can't delete - but if I could I would. (Late night comments should be edited). Lori
    5. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 months ago
      Don't think they are selling Girl Scout cookies ! LOL
    6. Law, 11 months ago
      Lori, no offense taken. That was the second thing I looked into. ????
    7. Law, 11 months ago
      Thanks, tried the odd fellows, don’t think it is that, or scouts. Lol
    8. neat.old.stuff neat.old.stuff, 11 months ago
      Wow, don't think I love it, but sure makes me curious what it's all about. Very interesting.
    9. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 months ago
      Early group of Hare Krishnars ?
    10. Alfred1o1 Alfred1o1, 11 months ago
      looks like..... The Shepherd's Crook: From the Star to the Cross organization...??
    11. Alfred1o1 Alfred1o1, 11 months ago
      shiners doing degree work...? they dress up for it ....something to see....
    12. keramikos, 11 months ago
      Hi, Law. :-)

      I think it could well be Odd Fellows. The shepherd's crook was indeed one of their symbols:


      The crook, as the “staff of the shepherd,” is associated with the Odd Fellows Encampment Degrees. These degrees have rituals that tell stories of a shepherd’s life. The curved head is used to reach after and draw a member back to safety as part of the ritual. The members recognize the crook as a symbol of watchful care, which they are expected to exhibit toward other members, family, friends, and their community.


      And they did have various costumes (see third image at this Worthpoint listing for a 1943 edition of the C.E. Ward Company catalog of IOOF regalia):


      Here is an April 1943 C E Ward Company Catalog of Odd Fellow Costumes, Collars and Supplies . In 1891 Clyde E. Ward and his brother in law, Ed Stilson, paid four New London gentlemen $138 for their lodge rosette business. Shortly after this they received an order from the Odd Fellows Lodge for 600 bullion collars and the Ward-Stilson Company was on its way. Mr. Ward had a gentleman from Columbus come up and show the two women on a treadle sewing machine how to do the bullion work since this was all new to them. They later added caps, robes, swords and other lodge paraphernalia.

    13. keramikos, 11 months ago
      Whoops, I forgot to address the axes:


      In many lodges it is customary to collect donations for the needy and distressed on the Warden’s axe, which has painted on the side presented for the donation the expressive Heart in Hand –Grosh’s Manual p.104

    14. Law, 11 months ago
      Keramikos... Thank you. I think I have been too hung up on the robes. After the links you sent, I think you are onto something.
    15. dav2no1 dav2no1, 11 months ago
      What's with the guy on the far right, thats not in costume?
    16. keramikos, 11 months ago
      Law, You're welcome. :-)

      I too was hung up on the robes, and because of it felt dubious about them being Odd Fellows until I tripped on various editions of that catalog. I like the one at Worthpoint because it's unambiguously dated, and as such is a pretty good match for that U.S. flag with forty-eight stars in the background of the picture.

      Here is some background on Odd Fellows and human bones:
    17. keramikos, 11 months ago
      dav2no1, I noticed him, too. Maybe his costume was at the cleaners. };-)
    18. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 months ago
      Maybe their parole officer. LOL
    19. keramikos, 11 months ago
      If you look closely at the skull, it appears not to be real. Apparently, IOOF was well-known for using real human skeletons, but some states have laws against that kind of use, so that may be the reason for the fake.

      Here's more on IOOF and skeletons:

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