Recently I got to thinking that it was about time for me to start looking into the society and fraternal organizations connected with my research. There ought to be some records there, no? Documents, photos? (Ah, yes, the eternal quest for documents and photos!)
So I went over the long, long list of organizations that M.H. Kulp, the foremost individual in my research, belonged to. As listed in Floyd’s biography of him:
…the Elks, the Eagles, the Red Men and the Masons, in the latter
associating with Shamokin Lodge, No. 255, F. & A.M.; Shamokin Chapter, No. 264, R.A.M.; Shamokin Commandery No. 77, K.T.; Philadelphia Consistory, thirty-second degree; and Rajah Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. He was one of the organizers of the Cresco Club of Shamokin, was a member of the Rosa Club [think they are referring to the Ross Club] of Williamsport, of the Manufacturers Club of Philadelphia, and Union League of Philadelphia.
Where to start?? Well, I began by consulting my local telephone directory to see if any of these Mason or Elk chapters are still around. Apparently not. The closest Elk lodge is in Mt. Carmel and the closest Masons are in Sunbury and Danville (!).
I thought about contacting the Mt. Carmel Elks anyway to see if they knew anything; according to another of Floyd’s biographies, MHK’s brother Gilbert was once an exalted ruler of some Elk chapter or other, so it seemed as if the Elks were a good place to start. However, I also thought I had better look into the Philadelphia organizations, as that’s a major city and their organizations might be more long-standing.
Sure enough, the Union League of Philadelphia is very long-standing. Their website explains that the League was founded in 1862 as a society supporting the policies of Abraham Lincoln. They have been around ever since and appear to be highly classy, to say the least! 🙂
The site said that those looking for further information on the League’s history should contact the director of the library and historical collections, which is what I did. I explained in my email that I was writing a biography of a legislator from Shamokin, Pennsylvania, who became a member of the League between 1894 and ’99. However, I received an automatic reply explaining that the director is currently away from his office, and for immediate service I should contact the librarian. I then forwarded my message to there, and this morning received a message from the librarian saying she was going to forward the message to the archivist…well, after that, I received a very quick reply from the said archivist, who seemed eager to assist. I explained to her exactly what I was looking for, and am currently awaiting a response. Hopefully, this may turn up something. I get the impression that the League keeps very detailed records, so there should be some info.
Also, readers may have noticed that the category and tag system here has changed. Actually, I’m still in the process of reorganizing it, so you’d best be using the search engine for a while! I’m afraid I shall never be a good taxonomist. 🙂