Once again, we're calling on our readers to help us out. Most of the time, we're pretty good at identifying even the most challenging items in our collection, but sometimes we're just plain stumped. That's the case with the postcard shown here. So, we're asking our readers whether they might have any leads - or, even better, outright identification - on what group the three women shown on this real photo postcard are affiliated with.
Here's the visual evidence (for a better look, click on the image above and a larger version will open in another window):
All the women are wearing fezzes. The fez on the woman in the center reads "Tadmore 77."
All three are holding banners in their laps. The banner on the left is different from the other two and appears to have the letters P and B as part of an intricate circle surrounding the number 77. The other two banners are identical to each other - on the banner held by the woman in the center, one can read the word "Picnic" as well a possible date - 191?. The last number in the date is obscured by the stick that the banner is attached to.
All three women are also wearing ribbons which may commemorate the event that they are attending. Unfortunately, the text of the ribbons can't be read, even under magnification.
The final visual clue is the pendant hanging around the neck of the woman seated in the middle. The pendant appears to be in the shape of a keystone, a symbol traditionally, though by no means exclusively, associated with the Royal Arch in Freemasonry - but also, of course, associated with Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State, so the keystone might be related to where this photo was taken and this postcard most likely comes from Pennsylvania (see next paragraph).
Another lead appears on the reverse of the card, which includes the stamp of the photographer presumably responsible for this real photo postcard. It reads "W.D. Rishel, Photo, 319 N. 9th St. Reading, PA."
Here's what we're thinking so far, based on the evidence: These women were possibly at an annual picnic, somewhere in the Reading, Pennsylvania area, sometime in the nineteen teens. But what group were they with? Were these women members of an auxiliary Masonic group? A sorority? A woman's club? A coed fraternal group?
If you have a lead, no matter how slim, please let us know. We'll give credit where it's due if someone helps us identify what group these women belonged to.
[Three women wearing fezzes, sitting on bench, for “Tadmore 77” event], 1910-1919
Real photo postcard
Museum purchase, 1994/079