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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Owl Club

Rural Republican, published in Lawrenceville, Illinois on Friday, February 2nd, 1883 page 5

The Owl Club have distributed invitations for a Calico Hop to be given at the Masonic building in Lawrenceville Feb 14, 1883. The modus operandi consists of the young gentlemen receiving invitations to purchase his lady calico dress material which she makes up to wear on the occasion together with a necktie which she presents her escort.  It is a very nice proceeding and will doubtless please all those who take part.

Page  3 of Sumner Press, published in Sumner, Illinois on Thursday, April 5th, 1883 thirty odd couples were in attendance at the closing hop of the Owl Club Tuesday night. We understand a pleasant time was had.

Editor’s Note: Besides the whole issue of a man giving his best girl a bolt of calico material and saying “make yourself a dress and while you are at it, make me a necktie, and then I will take you to a dance,” what the heck was an Owl Club? Research by this editor turned up numerous bars and nightclubs by that name but not any historic context.

Finally from another historical society’s blog who asked the same question, it was learned that in the 1880’s the Owl Club in Baldwinsville NY was a “social organization where gentlemen young and old, rich and poor, married and single in occasional leisure moments, meet on equal and friendly terms, with open doors, in pleasant, well-warmed and well-lighted rooms, to enjoy the pleasures of social converse or engage in harmless games of amusement at proper hours, where rowdyism, immoral conversation, wicked or vicious practices of any kind are unknown.” For other places on the East Coast it was more of a literary association and at Harvard it was a secret society. Apparently at Lawrenceville it was funded by a merchant who sold dry goods.

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