A benevolent fraternal society, organized in the City of New York,
February 16, 1868, as the outgrowth of a social club known as the Jolly
Corks, composed principally of members of the theatrical profession. Its
first regular organization was New York Lodge No. 1. The Grand Lodge of the
Order was incorporated March 10, 1871, as chapter 19 of the laws of that
session,  and the past officers of New York Lodge No. 1 were made the first
members of the Grand Lodge under the act of corporation.  The power to form
subordinate lodges was given to the Grand Lodge on March 12, 1871. Charters
were issued to New York No. 1 and Philadelphia No. 2. The third lodge was
incorporated April 18, 1876, in San Francisco, and subsequently lodges were
formed in Chicago, Cinncinnati, Sacramento,  Baltimore, Louisville, Saint
Louis, Boston, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Providence, Washington, Denver,
Cleveland, in the order named and other cities. During the thirty-five years
of its existence New York Lodge No. 1 alone has dispensed $175,000 in direct
charity, having in addition to assisting its own members, been a liberal
contributor to the relief of suffering in national calamities like the
Chicago and Boston fires, and the Johnstown flood. The Order itself has
since its institution dispensed nearly two millions in the same cause.
Lodges at the present time number 816, and subordinate lodges have been
established in Skaguay and Juneau in Alaska, Honolulu and Hilo in the
Hawaiian Islands, and Manila in the Philippines. Membership in the Order can
be acquired only by white male citizens of the United States of the age of
21 and upward, of good moral character; only one lodge can be instituted in
any one city, and such city must have a population of at least five
thousand, and each lodge is given complete jurisdiction over all residents
within said corporation.
   One of the unique features of the Order, and one which attracts the
attention of the outside world more than anything else to its internal
organization, is the annual memorial service for the dead of the Order, held
by every lodge on the first Sunday in December of each year. This is termed
the Sacred Session of the Order. The similar term "lodge of sorrow" is
applied only to funerals. The membership at the present time is upward of
150,000, and it owns property and cash to the extent of about four million
dollars. The Elks-Antler, claiming to have the largest circulation of any
fraternal paper in the world, is published monthly by the Order. 

The abovementioned articles in its exact word by word entirety is taken from: Source: The New International Encyclopaedia Copyright: 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905 Publisher: Dodd, Mead and company--New York Volumes: Total of 21 volumes RETURN to SOCIETY Main RETURN to BROOKLYN MAIN