Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Freemasons and Fruit: The Influence of Fraternalism in Orange, California


Laura Fisher


Georgia Mickey, Associate Professor of History, California State Polytechnic University Pomona

The goal of this project is to demonstrate the overlooked influences of fraternal societies in the development of early American towns. This paper uses the agricultural town of Orange, California as a case study as a means to demonstrate how individuals who belonged to these fraternal societies have made important contributions to Orange’s growth.
The values, characteristics, and expectations that fraternal societies have instilled in their members have had a significant influence on the ways in which its prominent members contributed to Orange’s economy and local community. This thesis highlights individuals from Orange’s beginnings and how their involvement in fraternal societies has helped shape Orange’s character.
While there are a multitude of factors that contribute to the development of early American towns, this study tries to demonstrate the hidden fraternal forces that have long been overlooked by American historians. Much of the previous scholarship that accompanies this topic includes studies of specific societies as well as the concepts of fraternalism such as brotherhood, community, responsibility and ethics. A handful of historians have recognized the fraternal structure behind American society. This paper attempts to continue the historical conversation and identify a clear connection between fraternal societies and development in Orange.

The evidence used to make this connection includes primary sources such as town directories, society records and rosters, and early local newspapers. These sources help to make the connection between prominent members of society and their involvement in fraternal societies. Orange’s fraternal structure is complicated, and yet nearly invisible to the layperson. This paper includes original studies of specific societies in Orange including the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen.
Hopefully, with this study, a fraternal structure can be identified and established in its rightful place as a vital part of Orange’s comprehensive history.

Presented by:

Laura Fisher


Saturday, November 17, 2012


2:00 PM — 2:15 PM


Bell Tower 2424

Presentation Type:

Oral Presentation