Lady Odd Fellows on Parade

RebekahsWe’re back with another parade picture photographed by John B. Capewell of Westville, NJ. These ladies are of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and are known as the Rebekahs.

I have a few of Capewell’s negatives of a parade which I assume are all from the same day and event. It looks as if the parade was in honor of the men returning from the War to End All Wars or World War I as we know it today. I gathered the JPEG files and sent them to the amazing Jerseyman who has helped me more than once with his vast knowledge of the history of the Garden State. He responded:

These images are fabulous! All of the photographs are of various organizations associated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), a fraternal organization. The local lodge of IOOF in Westville, which met at the Union Fire Company’s hall on Broadway, was the Crown Point Lodge no. 268. The Mount Olivet Lodge no. 68 is the local lodge for the Rebekahs, an arm of the IOOF for young ladies in their teenage years. It is apparent that a close relationship existed between the Westville IOOF lodge and the fire company. If you look at the last two images below, the horse-drawn float is actually one of the ladder wagons from the fire company.

Mt-Olivet-Lodge-detAlthough these ladies look a little older than young ladies in their teenage years, it’s interesting to know that these women were part of a fraternal order. In fact the Odd Fellowship became the first fraternity in the US to include both men and women when it adopted the “Beautiful Rebekah Degree” on September 20, 1851. Read about the Rebekahs HERE.

Below is the entire glass negative by John B Capewell:


About The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

The Capewell Glass Negative Collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my Dad who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.

At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!

Last Week: I Love a Parade

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