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Catalog Number 13299-2-(1)
Title Hat, Kepi; Knights of Pythias Uniform Rank, Fred Gegner
Object Name Kepi
Description Black felt kepi with blue felt top and black leather brim. Diamond shaped red patch in center of top with a metallic lily design and edging. Metallic stitching beneath the patch reads "NEBRASKA." Metallic braid runs along the top of the brim between two round gray buttons. On each button is a raised lily design with lettering that reads "Uniform Rank / Knights of Pythias." Above the braid, on the center front, is a metallic stitched design of two lilies arched around a number "44."

Black leather interior band and blue satin lining.
Year Range from 1883
Year Range to 1918
Material Felt/Satin/Thread/Metal
Used USA: Nebraska (Madison), Madison
Height (in) 2.5
Length (in) 9
Width (in) 6.5
People Gegner, Fred
History The Order of the Knights of Pythias is a non-sectarian fraternal organization founded in 1864 by Justus Rathbone. Named to honor the ancient friendship of the two Roman figures, Damon and Pythias, the Knights sought "to gather into one mighty fraternity, worthy men who appreciate the true meaning of friendship." The organization also offered financial benefits to its members in the event of sickness or disability, and death benefits to the families of deceased members.

The Uniform Rank within the Knights of Pythias developed in 1878 from various drill corps organized by members. They marched in parades and participated in other public functions. The emblem of the group was a lily. Though popular when first organized, membership dwindled throughout the first part of the twentieth century and the Uniform Rank was removed from its status as an official auxiliary circa 1950.

For more information see RG3679.AM: Knights of Pythias, Lodge #16 (Lincoln, Neb.) in the NSHS archives.
Credit line Gerry and Patsy Bley, McPherson, KS