Regular readers of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library blog may remember my previous post about the mystery of the green Caliphs of Bagdad fez (read it here and see one of the fezzes below). I couldn't find any information about the group's history or location. But, recently, another clue came my way. A friend of the Museum called my attention to the membership card (pictured at left), which was offered for sale on ebay. Imagine my surprise and delight to see that it seems to have a direct relationship to the same group as the two green fezzes now in our collection! I was very excited to be able to add the card to our Archives collection.
I still have many questions about the Caliphs of Bagdad, but I'm pretty firmly convinced that the group was active in Pennsylvania in the early to mid-1920s. Both of the fezzes donated to the Museum came from Pennsylvania and this card originated from Court No. 1 in New Castle, Pennsylvania. I find it intriguing that the Caliphs may have been open to both men and women. The card is for a James A. McKnight, but the "Chief M.C." at the bottom was a Judy Sypher.
What do you think? Does this jog anyone's memory about the Caliphs of Bagdad? Did you know James McKnight or Judy Sypher? Have you seen any other documents or objects associated with this group? Leave us a comment below.
Membership Card, 1910-1950, unidentified maker, Pennsylvania, gift of Ron and Judy McKnight, 2012.
Fez, early 1900s, gift of Stanley A. McCollough, 2009.022. Photograph by David Bohl.