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August 09, 2011

Comments

Aimee Newell

Hello Barth: Thanks so much for the comment. Both of the green "Caliphs of Bagdad" fezzes that we have date to the early 1900s, so I don't think they are associated with this new novel. The donors each had their fez for many years before giving it to the Museum - and those gifts were back in 2009. I am leaning toward the idea that this was a "one-off" group - and I think it met in Pennsylvania. We had another recent acquisition related to this mystery - look for my blog post later this summer. Thanks again for the suggestion - and for reading our blog! Aimee Newell, Director of Collections

Barth Richards

I note with interest that a novel entitled _The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia_, by Mary Helen Stefaniak, was published in September 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/The-Cailiffs-Baghdad-Georgia-Novel/dp/0393341135/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339002534&sr=8-1). There is even a website, _The Baghdad Bazaar Bulletin_ (http://www.baghdadbazaarga.com/home) that purports to be the official organ of the fictional unincorporated town in the book, Baghdad, Georgia, ("formerly Threestep, Georgia"). The site's link for "the history of Baghdad, Georgia" takes you to a page on Stefaniak's website with reviews of the novel.

Could your fezzes be promotional items connected with the book? The notion that there is only one chapter of this "order" would also seem to fit the "eccentric Southerners" theme of the book. I myself have several fezzes from real Southern fraternal orders that are apparently one-off clubs.

I do note that the fezzes use the spelling "Bagdad" and that the book and website use the older spelling "Baghdad," but perhaps this was an oversight on the part of the fez maker or even an intentional bit of obfuscation.

I haven't read the book, but if it mentions such a fraternal order, I think that would be pretty convincing evidence.

Aimee Newell

Hi Carol: Thanks so much for sharing your discovery. I will definitely look into this! We appreciate your interest in our blog. Aimee Newell, Director of Collections

Carol Sue Gibbs

I came across an article from a Matagorda County, Texas newspape that was about a severe storm. This quote caught my attention. "Prince Bundy’s tent and fixtures were blown away and he came to town the next morning giving the alarm of distress, “Oh Ye Princes,” and Caliphs Allan McNabb and Irvin Rugeley promptly went to his rescue." Being curious, I Googled the phrase and was taken to a site for the Princes of Bagdad at http://www.stichtingargus.nl/vrijmetselarij/r/bagdad_r.html At the bottom of the page there is a "Home" link which led to a Fraternal Organization page http://www.stichtingargus.nl/vrijmetselarij/frame_en.html The only organization listed with the name Bagdad in the title is the Ancient Mystic Order of the Bagmen of Bagdad. Maybe some of this will help

Aimee E. Newell

Hello: Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. Both fezzes are "Camel #1," as you put it, and you make an excellent point about assessing that fact as evidence. Neither one has a maker's label, unfortunately. The embroidery on both does seem to be machine-embroidered, but it could have been done in a less-than-commercial setting, as you also suggest. Perhaps someone else will chime in with an other clue or the solution to this mystery! Thanks again for reading the blog and providing such a great comment! Aimee Newell, Director of Collections

Tyler Anderson

Is there a maker's label inside? That might be a lead at least into the area of the country that these fezzes come from.

Also, are both fezzes that have been donated from Camel #1 ? (i.e., is there evidence (however thin) in hand that this organization had more than one constituted body?)

My immediate thought looking at this piece is that it was hand made by someone, either an individual or a haberdashery, that it comes from a source that did not commonly make fezzes. If I'm not mistaken, the crown appears to be a separate panel that has been sewn onto the conical sides. It also lacks the standard stem at the top. Based on those observations, I feel that you can safely rule out an origin with one of the larger, national fraternal groups: Shrine, Odd Fellows appendants, Pythians, etc all would all be using regalia companies with standardized, stock, contiguous fezzes made of a single body of felt. It is pretty unlikely that a group attached with any of those larger bodies would have gone with something more...errr...provincial?

This also makes dating the piece far more difficult. Looks like it lacks a leather sweat band, and there are no circular-patterned perforations in the crown. But if it was hand made by someone, it wouldn't necessarily have any of those standard tell-tales.

I'm guessing that you are looking for a stand-alone fraternal group, making the possibility of a maker's label or mark all the more central to the investigation!

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