Supreme Emblem Club of the United States of America

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The Supreme Emblem Club of the United States of America is the unofficial female auxiliary of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.[1]

History[edit]

The order was organized during World War I by a group of female relatives of the Elks who met to wrap bandages to send to wounded soldiers overseas.[2] The group eventually decided turn their circle into a regular club and were incorporated in the State of Rhode Island, "charted" on April 27, 1926 and "filed in the office of the Secretary of State" the following May 3. During the first year nine affiliates, known as Emblem Clubs, were formed in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.[3]

The original articles of incorporation stated that the Emblem Clubs' goals were to "unite under one head, all existing and future Clubs commonly known as Elks' Ladies clubs, Committees or groups...promote sociability among members of Elks', share community welfare work...assist with social affairs...[and] promote better understanding and further the ideals and purposes for which each organization was established." religious and political subjects were banned from discussion at Club meetings.[4]

Organization[edit]

Local units are called Emblem Clubs and state groups, like in the BPOE, are called "State Associations". In 1979 there were 500 local Clubs and 11 State Associations. The national structure is called the "Supreme Emblem Club". In 1979 the group did not appear to have a headquarters per se, but was run by a Supreme Executive Secretary in Rutherford, New Jersey.[5] Today there were 16 State Associations (though three have jurisdiction over more than one state the California Hawaii Nevada State Association, the Ohio/West Virginia State Association and the Wisconsin-Illinois-Indiana-Michigan State Association).[6]

Membership[edit]

Membership is open to the wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, stepdaughters and widows of members of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. In 1979 there were 40,000 members, the same as a decade previously.[7] There were 41,000 members in 1989.[8]

Ritual[edit]

The ritual of the Emblem Club was not considered secret, but neither was it really public. It was written by a member of the Elks and included a nondenominational prayer and a salute to the American flag.[9]

Philanthropy and activities[edit]

The Emblem Club has adopted a formal program to support Americanism, and sets aside one week in June each year as "Americanism week". Prompted by the 1964 Alaska earthquake, the Emblem Club created a national disaster fund. The Club also sponsors scholarships and supports the Elks National Home in Bedford, Virginia[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alan Axelrod International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 p.77
  2. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press p.109
  3. ^ History of Emblem
  4. ^ Schmidt p.109
  5. ^ Schmidt p.110
  6. ^ State Association’s of The Supreme Emblem Club of the United States of America
  7. ^ Schmidt p.110
  8. ^ Axelrod p.77
  9. ^ Schmidt p.110
  10. ^ Schmidt p.109

External links[edit]