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Some of the best American folk art objects are represented in the ceremonial regalia of the Odd Fellows fraternal organization. This ca 1870 - 80 snake staff is an unusual example due to the graphic Adam & Eve reference contained in its large, apple-shaped finial. The snake, itself, is an exceptional feat of carving, with a small, metal tongue. The gold-painted surface is dry and attractive.

Similar to the Masons in some respects, the Odd Fellows are one of the few secret fraternal groups that were operating in the 18th century and still exist today. The organization formed in England sometime during the 18th century and was introduced to the U.S. in New York in 1806. Though the exact date of origin is uncertain, the earliest surviving meeting minutes (from a chapter in London) date to 1730.

The original purpose of the Odd Fellows relates to a time before there was a welfare state, socialized healthcare programs, or trade unions. The aim was (and still is) to provide assistance to its members along these lines when they need it. The name "Odd Fellows" has long been a source of curiosity and speculation. Though forgotten by the organization itself, one reasonable theory is that it referred to those persons employed in "odd" trades, as there were organizations for most of the major trades.
Inventory Number: fcs-117


Jeff R. Bridgman American Antiques, llc
Contact   Jeff Bridgman Phone: (717) 502-1281
Period: 19th Century (1801-1900)
Date: 1870-1880
Condition: Repair to clean breaks. No new wood or paint.
Measurements: 4" x 69.5" x 4"
Inventory Other Inventory by this Dealer
Price: $2,750
E-mail: Inquire
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