Venerating Brother Nobody
Hero Worship in American Fraternalism in the Nineteenth Century and Early Twentieth Century
Keywords:Fraternalism, heroes, construction, worship
Many American fraternal orders mythologized a founding father, whether or not he actually merited that distinction. These men were generally credited with great personal achievement, though the claims made on their behalf often fail to stand up to close examination. Their heroic stature was very much constructed by the rank-and-file of the respective fraternal orders for whom these iconic founders, even when they were still alive, were useful instruments to foster a particular image of their fraternal projects and the values they wanted to cherish. This practice could have unintended and undesirable consequences. Several of these ‘canonized’ fraternalists did not hesitate to make use of the veneration that was heaped upon them to foster their personal interests or that of their families. This did not necessarily go unnoticed by part of the membership but the need to present ‘desirable roles for group members’ through the manufacturing of a heroic ‘icon’ usually proved stronger than critical appreciations.
Anonymous. The Unequalled Collection of Engraved Portraits of the Presidents of the United States belonging to Hon. James T. Mitchell. Philadelphia, PA: M.H. Power, 1907.
Boorstin, Daniel. The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. New York: Vintage Books, (1962) 1992.
Casper, Scott E. Constructing American Lives: Biography and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
Cooley, John C. Rathbone Genealogy. A Complete History of the Rathbone Family, Dating from 1574 to Date. Syracuse, NY: Courier Job Print, 1898.
Cross, Ira B. A History of the Labor Movement in California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1935.
Cubitt, Geoffrey. ‘Introduction: Heroic Reputations and Exemplary Lives’, in Heroic Reputations and Exemplary Lives, eds Geoffrey Cubitt and Allen Warren. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000, 1–26.
Falk, Peter H. (ed.). Who was Who in American Art, 1564–1975. Madison, WI: Sound View Press, 1999.
Harwood, William S. ‘Secret Societies in America’. North American Review 164 (May 1897): 617–24.
Inglis, Fred. A Short History of Celebrity. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/9781400834396
Johnston, Harry H. The Scot’s Abroad the Nicht and Other Banquet Poems. Tacoma, WA: Neil & Co., 1913.
Kaufman, Jason. For the Common Good? American Civic Life and the Golden Age of Fraternity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Kennedy, William D. Pythian History. Chicago, IL: Pythian Publishing Company, 1904.
Klapp, Orrin E. ‘The Creation of Popular Heroes’. American Journal of Sociology 59.2 (1948): 135–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/220292
—‘Hero Worship in America’. American Sociological Review 14.1 (1949): 53–62. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2086446
—‘The Folk Hero’. Journal of American Folklore 60.1 (1949): 17–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/536852
—‘Heroes, Villains and Fools as Agents of Social Control’. American Sociological Review 19.1 (1954): 56–62. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/2088173
—Heroes, Villains, and Fools: The Changing American Character. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1962.
Morgan, David. Visual Piety: A History and Theory of Popular Religious Images. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998.
Neely Jr., Mark E., Harold Holzer and Gabor S. Boritt, Prints of the Lost Cause: The Confederate Image. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1987.
Powers John E., and Deborah D. Powers, Texas Painters, Sculptors and Graphic Artists: A Biographical Dictionary of Artists in Texas before 1942. Austin, TX: Woodmont Books, 2006.
Reps, John W. Views and Viewmakers of Urban America: Lithographs of Towns and Cities in the United States and Canada, Notes on the Artists and Publishers, and a Union Catalog of their Work, 1825–1925. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1984.
Ridgely, James L. History of American Odd Fellowship: The First Decade. Baltimore, MD: Ridgely, 1878.
Samuels, Peggy, and Harold Samuels. The Illustrated Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists of the American West. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.
Saxton, Alexander. The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1971.
Scharf, John T. History of Baltimore City and County. Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Company, 1971.
Schlesinger, Arthur M. ‘Biography of a Nation of Joiners’. American Historical Review, 50.1 (1944): 1–25. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1843565
Shutter, Marion D. (ed.). History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest. Chicago and Minneapolis: S.J. Clarke Publishing, 1923.
Stevens, Albert C. (ed.). Cyclopaedia of Fraternities. New York: Hamilton, 1899.
Stott, Annette. Pioneer Cemeteries: Sculpture Gardens of the Old West. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.
Tyssens, Jeffrey. ‘”Father Upchurch”: A Founding Myth and a Founder’s Cult in American Fraternalism’. Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, 3.1 (2012): 33–59.
Upchurch, John Jordan. The Life, Labors and Travels of Father J. J. Upchurch, Founder of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. Written by Himself. To Which are Added Poems & Eulogies by Prominent Members of the Order, ed. Sam Booth. San Francisco, CA: A. T. Dewey, 1887.
Van Valkenburg, John. The Knight of Pythias Complete Manual and Text-Book. Canton, OH: Memento Publishing Co., 1886.
Vovelle, Michel. Histoires figurales: Des monstres médiévaux à Wonderwoman. Paris: Uscher, 1989.
Walker, William H. Odd Fellowship in America and in Texas. Austin, TX: Von Boeckmann Jones & Co., 1911.
Watkins, Albert. History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations to the Present Time with Portraits, Maps and Tables. Lincoln, NE: Western Publishing and Engraving Company, 1913.
Webb, Hugh G. A History of the Knights of Pythias and Its Branches and Auxiliary. Anaheim, CA: Uniform Rank Co-operative Association, 1910.
Wilson, William C. Poems of Two Worlds. Kansas City, KS: H.T. Wright, 1893.
Wynne-Davies, Marion (ed.). Dictionary of English Literature. London: Bloomsbury, 1997.