Ku Klux Klan material from Maine, New York
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
As in many states in the United States, the Ku Klux Klan's popularity in New York increased dramatically during the 1920s; although "with the exceptions of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, very little Klan activity [was] reported in the northeastern states," (McVeigh, page 13). In fact, the Klan's activity was discouraged by New York's State Assembly via the "Walker Law [which] denied the Klan the right of the mask, the mails, a role in politics, and the secrecy of its membership lists," (Chalmers, page 255). Despite this, the Klan's center in upstate New York was in Binghamton, roughly 15 miles from Maine, New York, and was led by Major E.D. Smith, the King Kleagle for New York.
According to Chalmers, "in almost every state, the Klan was a champion of the 'noble experiment' of Prohibition, and in areas, such as New Jersey and upstate New York, this was its greatest rallying cry," (Chalmers, page 114). The Klan in New York also exhibited anti-Catholic sentiment, and devoted resources and rhetoric against Al Smith, the Catholic presidential candidate in 1928. Their records show that they were also explicitly racist. On May 30, 1927, the Klan in New York planned to march in the Memorial Day parade in Jamaica, New York; however the Knights of Columbus and the Boy Scouts withdrew from the parade in protest. New York Police encouraged the Klan to withdraw, but they refused. They marched to "Onward Christian Soldiers" and claimed that they were "clubbed and vilified by the police," (Official Document #9, Box 1, Folder 8). By 1930, the popularity and the influence of the Ku Klux Klan had diminished significantly in New York, as well in the United States more generally.
The Maine, New York, chapter of the Ku Klux Klan appears to have been guided by Charles B. Lewis, whose titles included "Imperial Representative" and "State Director Reclamation and Extension," and who operated out of Syracuse New York. The papers in this collection were probably kept by Fred Ingalls, the Kligrapp (or secretary). Ingalls (1892-1969) worked as a machinist for the IBM Corporation in Maine, New York. Other leaders in Klan No. 13 in Maine, New York, were Lawrence Pitcher (E.C. [probably Exalted Cyclops], or chief officer of the Klan) and Lester Hills (Klabee, or treasurer).
Chalmers, David M. Hooded Americanism: The First Century of the Ku Klux Klan, 1865-1965. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 19565.
McVeigh, Rory. The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan: Right-Wing Movements and National Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.
This collection contains bulletins, newsletters, and correspondence relating to the "Realm of New York," specific records of the Maine, New York, chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, and Pro-Klan literature relating to the Ku Klux Klan, generally.
The bulk of the material in the collection appears to have been issued by Charles B. Lewis, the "Imperial Representative" and the "State Director Reclamation and Extension," and who operated out of Syracuse New York. He issued a number of state-wide newsletters including "American Crusaders of the State of New York," with S.R. Frampton and "Fiery Summons." He also issued bulletins relating to Klan Haven in Mannsville, New York (a Klan-owned home for full or half-orphaned children of Klansmen to receive a "Protestant, Christian home" and education; lectures; qualifications required for K-Duo degree; the "alien foreign press;" and Prohibition laws. The "Official documents" were structured similarly to the bulletins and generally provided "news and interest," event information, administrative information required for members (codes, application information, and due notices), rejections of applicants, and "banishments." These official documents also appear to outline Klan policy for the general membership and discuss at large anti-Catholic sentiment, especially in regards to Al Smith, presidential candidate in 1928; the Memorial Day Parade in Jamaica, New York (held on May 30, 1927); political parties and leaders; a response to a questions about the Klan "selling hate;" interracial marriage; secrecy; and the value and needs of Klan Haven. There is a document sent from Major E.D. Smith, the King Kleagle of the Realm of New York, warning local chapters of banished members.
The papers in this collection were probably kept by Fred Ingalls the Kligrapp (or secretary) of the Maine, New York, chapter. Ingalls (1892-1969) worked as a machinist for the IBM Corporation in Maine, New York. The papers directly related to Klan No. 13 in Maine, New York are largely financial and include a mostly empty cash book, a receipt for the chapter's Klan Seal, a bond, and a partially completed Kligrapp's Quarterly Report. There are also membership applications (one blank and one completed), a blank petition form, and a transfer form (completed).
The collection also contains a few Pro-Klan publications including a brochure ("Ku Klux Klan Exposed by a Klansman"), manuscript ("Tolerance," almost certainly a response to a Chicago-based magazine Tolerance issued by the National Unity League, which published Klan membership lists), and publications ("Ideals of the Ku Klux Klan" and "Outline of Principles and Teachings," by the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, Incorporated).
Sold by Book Mark, 2017.
- Secret societies
- Race relations
- Ethnic relations
- White supremacy movements -- Religious aspects
- White supremacy movements
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 December 6
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.