Knights of Birmingham
Seen below are
three hilarious programs announcing the 1908-1909-1910 degrees of a little
known American fraternal group that existed solely for the fun and
entertainment of its members. The group was headquartered in Rochester,
New Hampshire and called itself "The Knights of Birmingham".
These Knights hosted an annual banquet/event to initiate their candidates in
what they called the "P-S" degree. These programs were illustrated by a
cartoonist and the side degrees for the evening were performed by a cast
called "The Birmingham Circus Staff". The side degrees they performed
used Paraphernalia and Costumes from the
DeMoulin Bros. & Co. catalog, i.e. goat riding trikes, traitor judgment
stands, drinking the goats blood, etc. These side degrees added to the
"degree of laughter" early Lodge Brethren engaged in when initiating new
members! Their 1909 program states that they were celebrating their 25th
anniversary (1884-1909). Whatever became of this group and their total
membership numbers is still a mystery!
The 1908 Program
Click on the picture above to view
a more readable image.
This outrageously funny menu for
the evening was printed on the back of the program.
The 1909 Program
The 1909 Program Envelope dtd
March 15. 1909
The 1910 Program
The inserts in
the center of the above program read:
"Important Notice: Knights of Birmingham do not
get sick nor grow old, but the sometimes get 'tired' (except Peter).
Therefore autos will leave Central Square every ten minutes, from 6 to 7:30
p.m., for their accommodations."
"A Genuine Simpson Clambake with all the fixings,
will be served from 6 to 7:30. It is needless for us to dwell upon the
possibilities of a Simpson clambake. His reputation as a caterer is too
well known to need further praise from us. Suffice it to say he has
promised to do his BEST. That means success with a great big S."
An important note in the above
program is that they worked 6 candidates and obligated 95 in 1909.
favorite on this page is the warning: "The
Morning After the Night Before" There may be a man sitting on your lawn
in the morning whose eyes are blackened, and whose left arm is in a sling,
with his hair full of dirt, one end of his shirt collar flying loose, and his
coat ripped up the back, do not let your wife be frightened -- it may be you.