Historical Stories

How the Elks Began

It All Began With the Jolly Corks. Starting as as a group of actors and entertainers bent on having fun AND avoiding a New York Excise tax in 1867 (Sundays were the ‘dry’ day), this convivial group called themselves the Jolly Corks (for a clever trick with corks they performed on the uninitiated to win rounds of drinks). That same year as membership grew, some members saw the vision to become more helpful in the community. Alas, two feuding factions split the group over different philosophies. Fortunately, the latter faction moved forward with their new ideals and in February of 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was chartered–and with a great new spirit and direction, began to help Veterans, Scouting, Scholarships and more–wherever Charity, Justice and Brotherly Love were needed!

Pioneering baseball exec served as GER

Every Grand Exalted Ruler has a list of accomplishments, but only one can claim to be the father of baseball’s World Series. August “Garry” Herrmann, the GER in 1910-11, was president of the Cincinnati Reds and served as chairman of baseball’s National Commission from 1903 to 1920.

The Social Side of the Grand Lodge Convention (1936)

An article from the Elks Magazine describing the 1936 Grand Lodge Convention in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lodge #99 Newsletter, April, 1929

Newsletter of the Los Angeles Elks - April, 1929. (PDF format)

My Membership Card in the Elks, by Robert Barrett

An inspiring article titled "My Membership Card in the Elks," by Robert Barrett, chairman of the Good of the Order Committee, from the January, 1932 Elks Magazine.

An Authentic History of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (1910)

The first Elks History book by Charles Ellis, published in 1910. (PDF format, 63MB)

Charles Vivian Biography

A Charles Vivian biography, written by his widow.

Does Anyone Listen?

The ideals of the Elks by Brother Tom Williams of Raleigh Elks Lodge.

A Brief History of the Origins of the Order of Elks

The object of this brief History is to set forth the real facts of the Origin of the Order of ELKS.

The History of the Order of Elks

A reprinted story from the Massachusetts State Newspaper in the fall of 2003.

The Elks Uncorked

December 1980 | Volume 32, Issue 1

Past GERs

Photo gallery of every former GER going back to 1871.

Elks 11 O'clock Toasts

Where did the 11 O'clock toast come from? Here's the history of the toast as well as an archive of other Elks toasts.

Traditions and History of BPOE

The youth-oriented, charitable, and community service programs of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks are all-encompassing.


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