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One-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 - $2,800 (Grass Lake)

One-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 1 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 2 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 3 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 4 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 5 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 6 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 7 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 8 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 9 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 10 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 11 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 12 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 13 thumbnailOne-of-a-Kind Original Fraternity Pledge Poster. Sat, Oct. 5, 1912 14 thumbnail
condition: fair
size / dimensions: 26 x 17 inches
Fraternities started to become popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This poster captures the somewhat snobby, privileged attitude of some fraternities during the learly 1900s, especially during Pledge Week.

The specific fraternity and university isn’t identified, probably because of the poster’s graphic nature and message to the pledge class of 1912 (scheduled to graduate in 1915).

I’m fairly sure that the poster was from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The “We Want Blood” message jumps out with the following warning: “Fresh-Men Beware!” Apparently, the fraternity considered itself “The Lords of the Campus” who were sanctioned by “the Gods of War.”

The poster uses language that’s a bit uppity. The pledges are considered “Sacrilegious,” “Kantankerous” (sp.), “Ulcerous,” “Nauseating,” and “Kecklish (inclined to vomit). The group calls for the annihilation of the “swine,” continuing to describe the “toads” with a barrage of “s” and “t” beginning adjectives.

Below the skull is a list of five “sins” the pledges have committed: parading in front of the frat’s “sacred Temple of the Fairies”; not doffing their caps to existing frat members”; eating too much at the pledge party; Infesting the “piggery”; and presenting silly ideas to professors and instructors.

Then, the pledges are instructed to show up for Morgue Saturday and to confront “The Vale of Death.”

The bottom of the poster orders “the sanguinary (involving bloodshed)of the pledges. No wonder the fraternity isn’t identified!

Aside from the overblown, sometimes humorous, language, the poster’s graphics are amazing. I’m not sure what prices was used in the printing (probably lithographed) but having the skull and bloody blades overshadowing the message really stands out.

Obviously, the poster has been kept out of the sunlight because the colors are still bold.

The poster is quite large (26 x 17 inches), is wrinkly when taken out of the protective cover, and has a few small tears and nicks on the edges. Luckily, none of it interferes with the great graphics.

I bought this poster at an auction in Michigan a while back. It originally was in a frame with some loose matting. In order to make sure it was authentic, I removed it carefully. It’s definitely original—guaranteed.

If you buy the poster, I will happy to ship along the original frame and glass. Or you can have it professional framed yourself. The frame looks more modern than 1912, but I can send along more photos.

Right now, the poster is UV-protected in a heavy polypropylene sleeve. Because the poster is so large, I had to cut an extra extended sleeve, so the line you see near the bottom is the overlap of the extended sleeve.

The poster probably belongs in a museum, but for the private collector, it’s a chance to own a poster that no one else has. I’m sure that it’s the only one that exists.

post id: 7745440123

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