white men and black cats: fraternal disorder

the cult of the black cat……

Art Chantry (art@artchantry.com):

This is a small shopping bag (the sort of thing to put a few nails in) from Copeland Lumber – a local northwest hardware/lumber store. I believe they’re still in business, but I’m not sure.

I’ve always been fascinated by their logo. It was painted on the front (huge – just below the front eve) of their barn-like structure. I’m not sure, but I seem to remember the building was painted orange, too. As a kid I loved going to this place, just because I loved Halloween so much. It was like the ‘haunted hardware” or something in my mind.

As I grew older and traveled around a bit, I began to notice that there were other hardware stores sporting the same logo. I figured they were some sort of franchise – but, no. Nobody knew about Copeland Lumber and vice versa. In fact, they none of them really knew who or where the cat logo came from.

AC:here's a few other "obscure" (at least to most of us) fraternal orders of the past: knights of pythias, red men, daughters of pocahontas, hibernians, foresters, moosehearts, maccabees, modern woodsmen, knights of columbus, shriners, toastmasters, izaak walton league, optimists, rotarians, kiwanis, soroptimists, kinsmen, lions, civitans, american legion, travelers national union, exchange club, advertising club, epworth league, daughters of the confederacy, daughters of the american revolution, boy scouts, ku klux klan and on and on...

Then I began to notice that damned cat in other places, too. Optometrists, jewelers, plumbers, all sorts of businesses, all unrelated. Exact same cat. Usually with the orange. always in that circle. The only commonality between these businesses (aside form their logo) was that they were very old businesses established around the turn of the century. Was it some sort of antique ‘clip art’? I collect old clip art (i have one of the best collections of old clip in the country, I’ve been told). Yet, i’ve never ever seen that image in any of my catalogs or books. It was a mystery.

I finally figured it out when i was looking a at little ‘collectors’ book of cat figurines – one of those little books you find in the’ collector’ shelf of your bookstore alongside the price guides on Avon bottles and old stamps. There was a page in it about these little cat images. It turns out this was the logo of the “Concatonated Order of the Hoo-Hoo”! who knew?!? (or should i say ‘hoo knew?’)

---Consistent with their unconventionality, the group chose as its mascot a black cat with its tail curved into the number nine. Originally, membership in Hoo-Hoo was to be limited to 9,999 members. As the order increased in popularity, this number was changed to 99,999. Meetings were held on the ninth day of the ninth month at nine minutes after the ninth hour. Annual dues were $9.99, and the initiation fee was $0.99.--- Read More:http://shavingmugs.blogspot.com/2010/02/fraternal-shaving-mug-concatenated.html

Before the turn of the century (the last century), fraternal orders were extremely important community institutions. Orders like the masons, the eagles, the elks and moose lodges still survive today. Not so with the vast bulk of these organizations with names like the Woodsmen, the Odd Fellows, and the Hoo-Hoos.

Many of these organizations became closely associated with specific working groups and morphed quickly into trade unions – especially in small pioneer towns (like the mining and lumber towns here in the northwest). As time went on, many of the these images they used a mascots also became icons of the labor movement as it evolved over the coming decades. today, the long-inactive IWW (Industrial Workers of the World – the radical ‘one-world’ Union Socialist Union also known as “the Wobblies”) has been revived and actually has incorporated the hoo-hoo cat into their image lexicon. You can buy radical commie t-shirts with the kitty.

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Read More:http://www.wobblies.de/?p=262

These fraternal groups also began to set up benefit systems for their members and their families (and extended to the entire community) like community showers (!) and eventually medical care. They offered the first real health insurance programs in the United States and some grew into the massive insurance monopolies we fight with today (those horrid money sucking greed machines.)

Since 1892, when that little kitty was adopted by the Hoo-Hoo’s, it has traveled from a group of men looking for like minds to hang out with into the farthest reaches of both ends of our economic and political spectrum. It’s almost a universal brand. You can apply it to anything.

How did this happen? well, originally, the Hoo-Hoo’s encouraged their membership to incorporate their kitty into their business identities (this was long before ‘logos’ and ‘branding’ existed.) It was more of a “good housekeeping seal of approval” to see that one of your fraternal brothers ran the business. It meant it was kept ‘all in the family.” Good for them.

---In 1907 the now-Aberdeen Black Cats took the Northestern League crown led by Ed Householder's .347 batting average and pitcher Ed Higginbotham's 295 strikeouts. The 1909 club was managed by C.H. "Pants" Rowland, who went on to manage Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the White Sox to a World Series victory in 1917. Rowland later went on to become president of the Pacific Coast League, and worked tirelessly in the post-war years to have the PCL recognized as a third Major League (for you uniform buffs, notice how in the photo Rowland has a square patch sewn onto his shirt with the Cats emblem reversed).--- Read More:http://flannelofthemonth.blogspot.com/2009/06/aberdeen-black-cats-1918-home.html

It also was a secret way of communicating with their brethren. notice the tail of the kitty – it forms the numeral “9”. that’s one of their secret codes for ‘luck’. A magic number. It was also a magic blessing from the gods. Or something. hoo-hoo juju!

Don’t try to use it today, though. the Hoo-Hoo’s have re-formed (basically an effort by modern yuppies trying to grab the real estate holdings of these dying lodges. Their bet is that they will actually be the last living member and inherit millions in holdings). But, the hoo-hoo’s are also smart enough to protect their logo (they’re modern enough to be paranoid about copyright like all the new amateurs on the scene with their little computer thingies).

---The announcement of the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton, the scheduled date of their upcoming marriage, as well as the plethora of news stories containing the embedded coded reference to the Black Cat Symbol are the metaphysical representations of the ongoing conflict between the ruling white elite and people of African ancestry. The key for the ruling elite is to mis-direct the attention of the masses as well as disrupt their interaction with the natural cosmic energy that would be beneficial to them and assist them in reversing their condition. The ruling elite has set up numerous barriers to retard the elevation of spiritual power within the people they rule over , which enables them to usurp the energy for themselves by creating what Rev. Phil Valentine refers to as “artificial” or “synthetic” synchronicity. Through the use of artificial or synthetic synchronicity, the ruling elite assumes identities which confuse the masses of the earth’s population, leading them to believe that the ruling elite are “born” to rule them and enrich themselves off the backs of the exploited masses. Prince William is no exception! --- Read More:http://visionthought.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/the-black-cat-symbol-the-lion-of-judahprince-william-kate-middleton-and-the-legacy-of-africa/

I actually tried to make a client into a branch of the Hoo-Hoo’s just so we could legitimately use their kitty as our logo (as per their old practice). No go. Lawsuits were threatened. Oh well. .

Yhis is a great classic piece of American graphic design history, stolen by greedy power-mad self-centered yuppies. So what else is new?


Royce Freguson:Yet, well before the Wobblies appointed the black
cat to be the symbol of disorder and chaos, the black cat had long been associated with witchcraft and the dark side.

Read More:http://goldstarstockists.net/live/catalog/metal-sign-black-cat-cigarettes-40x30cm-pi-41052.html

American short story writer Edgar Allen Poe (1809 – 1849) wrote a short story called “The Black Cat.” Poe wrote that his wife got a black cat for them. It was . . .

“. . . a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. ”

“One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him, when in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body, and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity. ”

---There are also other metaphysical correspondences that some have relegated to mere “coincidence”. This however is not the case. As outlined in previous articles, the association with the “Black Cat” Symbol has connections to the ritual of power needed for Prince William to be seen as the legitimate heir to the British Royal throne. Other correspondences are observed with the names “Catherine“, “Elizabeth“, connections to “France“ April 29, 2010 is also the feast day of St. Catherine of Siena, whose name Middleton shares. --- Read More:http://visionthought.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/the-black-cat-symbol-the-lion-of-judahprince-william-kate-middleton-and-the-legacy-of-africa/

Well, I can only hope that Poe’s story was not autobiographical. Poe did not soften the part of the black cat in the rest of the story, which of course caused him a lot of revenge and stress.

Maybe the Wobblies just wanted a little more sinister version of other black cats who were popular at the same time— Read More:http://royceferguson.blogspot.com/2009/02/black-cat-of-anarchy.html


Matisse. Girl with Black Cat. read more:http://www.famous-paintings.org/Henri-Matisse-paintings/Girl-henri-matise-painting.shtm

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One Response to white men and black cats: fraternal disorder

  1. C Morrison says:

    The material on the Hoo-hoo’s black cat was fascinating. Toay, while looking for something else, I happened upon a 1911 newspaper article on the Hoo-hoos forming a group in my city and couldn’t figure out what it was all about. Then I remembered the use of the black cat on the Copeland Lumber Yard buildings where I grew up. And they were indeed orange buildings. What an interesting adventure this has turned out to be. Thanks for the info.

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