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:

 (top)  "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." 

(bottom)  "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.

The curators' 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.




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