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Ohio Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Wood County (Ohio) Chapter - MS 731 mf

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

Introduction

The Wood County Ku Klux Klan records consist of membership and dues records, register of officers, Klan constitution, reports, and miscellaneous printed items, covering the period from 1921 to 1942.

The collection was donated to the Center for Archival Collections by Anthony Deiuliis on March 11, 1975. Due to restrictions that the collection be closed to researchers until at least June 1982, processing of the collection did not occur immediately after donation. Researchers are now welcome to use the collection at the Center for Archival Collections, but some copying restrictions apply. The collection was originally processed by Paul D. Yon and a preliminary inventory prepared; that register was revised in October 1996 by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts.

Agency History

The Klan in Wood County seems to have been active from the early 1920's, although the material in this collection only documents memberships from 1924. Articles in the Perrysburg Journal (Dec. 23, 1923) and in the Bowling Green Daily Sentinel-Tribune (Oct. 5, 1923) indicate active Klan projects which would show a well established organization at the time. The records in this collection also show that growth in the Wood County Klan was successful enough for a separate Perrysburg Klan (no.200) to be founded, with many Wood County members transferring there.

Without supporting minutes or other proceedings, the activities of the local Klan are hard to track directly. The membership levels in the early years of the 1920's do show a growing and vibrant chapter, but by 1941 the Kligrapp (Secretary) reports show a membership of only 12 by the last quarter of the year.

From an article in Timeline (March/April 1994) John Marszalek wrote, "World War I and its aftermath had loosed a flood of fear and prejudice...emphasized the patriotism and morality of anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish, and anti-black themes....Americans were joiners; Americans were patriotic; Americans were disturbed by rapid social changes. Many felt helpless before the waves of European Catholic and Jewish immigrants, the black migrants seeking opportuity outside the rural South, and alleged invasion of Bolsheviks and assorted other radicals of the postwar Big Red Scare who seemed to menace all the nation's values."

In this context, the material found in this small collection is representative of the typical citizens who through prejudice or ignorance or misguided patriotism became part of the Klan movement in Wood County.

Scope and Content

This collection of records relating to the Ku Klux Klan in Wood County is a good resource relating directly to the membership of the local organization, but much weaker when it comes to documenting the actual activities of the group.

The strength of the various membership records is the depiction of the cross-section of the population that participated. The records provide information about individual's occupations, residence, and occasionally age and description which can be helpful in understanding the demographic of the group. With the exception of the membership records and cards, the only other major document in the grouping that relates specifically to the Wood County Klan is a typed copy of an Oath of Allegiance ceremony, which closely follows a printed version also in the collection.

The small grouping of printed material with the collection is more representative of the national Klan than of the local unit. Of interest in the various series are the three different constitutions (the Kloran), pamphlets and leaflets which attempt to explain Klan philosophies, and recruit new members, especially in appeals related to the rise of fascism, communism, and the Nazi movements on the eve of World War II, and the various forms and cards related to the secret nature of meetings where introductions from established members would be expected to gain admittance. One item of interest is the form sheets for the ordering of Klan robes, with the caution in the instructions that all measurements should be taken while wearing a coat.

In Wood County, where there wasn't a large Black, Jewish, or immigrant population, the appeal of membership was directed much more toward the quasi-patriotic appeal prevalent in the post-World War I period. In this vein, the documented activities of the Klan locally included presenting flags and Bibles to schools. While the other philosophic elements were still present, they didn't have the popular appeal that would result in new recruits.

Series Description

PROCEEDINGS

MEMBERSHIP AND DUES RECORDS
1924-1942
Arranged chronologically
Volumes include name of Klansman, Klan number, address, amount of dues paid, and physical description of the member

MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS
n.d.
Application cards and dues stubbs include addresses and information about employer, spouse, and whether a car is owned

MEMBER LISTS
n.d.
Handwritten lists, with names and addresses

OFFICERS REGISTER
n.d.
Includes Klan name, number, location, street, city, and state, title of office, name and address of Klansman, weekday of regular meeting, location of meeting hall

CONSTITUTION AND LAWS OF THE KNIGHTS OF THE KU KLUX KLAN
1921, 1934, 1941
Arranged chronologically
Includes the Imperial Proclamation, Kreed, Preamble, information on officers, duties, organization, and miscellaneous information

REPORTS

KLIGRAPP'S (SECRETARY'S)QUARTERLY REPORTS
1941
Membership report sheets for the last two quarters of the year, with information on Klan membership numbers and meetings schedule

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

OATH OF ALLEGIANCE
1941?, n.d.
Oath administered to new members, in both typed draft and formal printed versions, including sections on Obedience, Secrecy, Fidelity, and Klanishness

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS

BILLS AND RECEIPTS
1931, 1941
Receipt for rental of a hall, and single page with listing of expenses

PRINTED MATERIAL

BOOKLETS
1940?
Criterion, a publication from Fostoria Ohio published "By Americans for Americans"

PAMPHLETS
n.d.
Ideals of the Ku Klux Klan; Women of the Ku Klux Klan Kreed; Should the Holy Bible Be Hidden From the Youth of America?

CIRCULARS
1940, 1941
Advertisement of speech given by Gerald L.K. Smith in Sandusky, Ohio; circular promoting distribution of special issue of Fiery Cross

FLYERS
1940?
The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are Continuing Their Fight; The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan insists that Communism, Fascism, Nazism and All Other Foreign Isms Be Banished from the Shores of America

PROGRAMS
n.d.
Song card, including Opening Klode, America, Onward Christian Soldiers, and The Old Rugged Cross

BLANK FORMS
n.d.
Blank forms (cards and sheets) of Applications for Membership, Applications for Citizenship in the Invisible Empire, Applications for Re-instatement, UFK membership, Klabee's (Treasurer's) Official Receipt booklets, Order sheets for Robes, Subscription blanks for Fiery Cross, and Cards of Introduction to Klan and other meetings

NEWSCLIPPINGS
1990
Off to See the Wizard : Richard Ford, a Portrait in Black and White. No Gray, by John R. Miller. In New Times (Miami, Florida) Vol.5, no. 1 (photocopy)

ARTIFACTS

EMBLEM
n.d.
KKK emblem, glass on metal

Inventory

Box 1

Folder

  1. Dues/Membership record book, 1924-1932
  2. Dues/Membership record book, 1925-1934

Box 2

Folder

  1. Dues/Membership Record, 1928-32, 1940-42
  2. Membership applications, n.d.
  3. Member dues stubs, n.d.
  4. Member lists, n.d.
  5. Officer's Register, n.d.
  6. Constitution and laws, 1921
  7. Constitution and laws, 1934
  8. Kloran (Constitution), 1941
  9. Kligrapp's Quarterly Reports, 1941
  10. Oath of Allegiance ceremony (draft), l941?
  11. Oath of Allegiance, n.d.
  12. Receipts and expense notes, 1931, 1941
  13. Criterion, 1940
  14. Ideals of the Ku Klux Klan, n.d.
  15. Women of the Ku Klux Klan Kreed, n.d.
  16. Should the Holy Bible Be Hidden From the Youth of America?, n.d.
  17. Advertisement of speech given by Gerald L.K. Smith, 1940
  18. Fiery Cross circular letter, 1941
  19. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan are Continuing Their Fight, n.d.
  20. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan insists that Communism, Fascism, Nazism and All Other Foreign Isms Be Banished from the Shores of America, n.d.
  21. Song sheet, n.d.
  22. Applications for Membership (blanks), n.d.
  23. Applications for Citizenship in the Invisible Empire (blank), n.d.
  24. Applications for Re-instatement, n.d.

Box 3

Folder

  1. UFK membership blanks, n.d.
  2. Klabee's Official Receipt booklets, n.d.
  3. Order sheets for Robes, n.d.
  4. Subscription blanks for Fiery Cross, n.d.
  5. Cards of Introduction to Klan Meeting, 1925
  6. Card of Introduction to Klan Meeting, n.d.
  7. Card of Introduction, 1923
  8. Admittance Card, Paul Revere Club Patriotic Mass Meeting, n.d.
  9. Admittance Card, Old Glory Club Open Air Meeting, n.d.
  10. Off to See the Wizard : Richard Ford, a Portrait in Black and White. No Gray, by John R. Miller. In New Times (Miami, Florida) Vol.5, no. 1 (photocopy), 1990
  11. KKK emblem (glass on metal), n.d.

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