Society News

Stumbled across this in Miscellaneous Notes and Queries, January 1897:

Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo. This is the name of a Western organization. It was organized by the ‘supreme nine.’ The Snark of the Universe is William Eddy Barns, of St. Louis, Mo. The other officers are designated Senior Hoo Hoo, Junior Hoo Hoo, Bojum, Scrivenoter, Bundersnatch, Custocatian, Arcanoper, Gurdon. There are 24 Vicegerent Snarks for as many States and Territories. This Order was founded in 1891 by nine traveling lumbermen, detained at Kansas City on account of a railroad wreck, and has extended over the Union. Its declared object is the promotion of the ‘health, happiness, and long life of its members.’ The membership is limited to 9,999. The symbol of the Order is a black cat with its back and tail up, chosen because of its traditional nine lives. Brethren are known as kittens. Hoo Hoo day is the ninth day of the ninth month of the year. The annual meeting begins the ninth minute after nine o’clock p.m. on that day. The initiation fee is $9.99, and the annual dues are 99 cents. There is a ritual, and aid is extended to distressed members and their families.

I find, to my great joy, that it still exists. In the intervening 120 years the order has inducted more than 100,000 members and expanded into Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and South Africa. The international office is located one block from the site of the group’s founding.