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NEWSLETTER November 2008

Peanuts TaylorLast Meeting – At our October meeting, “Peanuts” Taylor led us on a trip down Memory Lane, reminiscing about the era when nightclubs with live entertainment and traditional Bahamian artists fascinated locals and visitors alike. This talk was accompanied by a slide show which reminded us of an oft neglected aspect of our culture. Thank you, Peanuts!

Membership Renewals / 2008 Journal - As I am writing these lines, my study space is filled with envelopes, address labels and boxes of this year’s Journal of the Bahamas Historical Society. Some of you will receive this newsletter inside one of those envelopes, accompanied by said Journal. However, the Journal is reserved for members and subscribers whose dues are current. So if you haven’t renewed your membership for this year yet, please fill in the attached membership form (or if you are receiving the electronic version, print it here: http://bahamashistoricalsociety.com/applic.pdf) and return it to the Society with your payment. Please support the Bahamas Historical Society, and we’ll get your copy of the Journal to you a.s.a.p. Thank you for your continued support!

The Harbour Island StoryNext Meeting - The last meeting of the year is traditionally more casual, and a good occasion for members to socialise and start off the holiday season. Also, Anne and Jim Lawlor’s new book The Harbour Island Story will be available for sale – and you can get your copy signed by the authors. An excellent opportunity to do your Christmas shopping early!

November/December Meeting
Thursday, December 4th, 2008
6:00pm @ the Museum
Shirley Street & Elizabeth Avenue

For those of you who read this newsletter outside of the Bahamas, the book is also available on Amazon.com.

A Piece Of Our Own History - This is the last newsletter of 2008, and in 2009, the Bahamas Historical Society turns 50. In light of this, I would like to thanks Mrs. Potter from St. Andrew’s school, who donated an old newspaper page to the Society today, which contains one important aspect of our history that I am happy to share with you!


THE TRIBUNE --- Wednesday, April 7, 1976

“TALKABOUT…”
by Gordon Knowles

Changing face of the IODE

When the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire hold their annual general meeting at the I.O.D.E. Hall next month it will be the last time they meet in a building entirely their own.

At this meeting, the National Chapter of the I.O.D.E. will present to the Bahamas Historical Society, the deeds for the building built by hard-working members of the order in the early 1950’s.

Although they will continue to hold their annual general meetings there and maintain an active interest in the building, it will become the first permanent home of the Bahamas Historical Society.

Standing as a perpetual memorial to the I.O.D.E., the building will house the archives and records of the I.O.D.E., along with the records and historical memorabilia of the historical society.

Since its conception in 1902, the I.O.D.E. has had as one of its main objectives, historical education and preservation of Bahamian heritage and through this most recent act of civic-mindedness, have been able to make a lasting and valuable contribution in this area.

Once the most prestigious women’s organization in the Bahamas, boasting as many as five separate chapters, the group has dwindled to one national chapter with only 70 active members. By freeing themselves of the added responsibility of a building, the I.O.D.E. feel that they will be better able to concentrate their efforts on charitable fund-raising and bringing new life to the order.

Through the years this historical organization has contributed a great deal to the Bahamas. Apart from their continuing benevolent work with the elderly and underprivileged the I.O.D.E. was responsible for the establishment of the Red Cross in the Bahamas.

During its history, the order has erected the Queen Victoria Statue in Rawson Square, built horse troughs throughout the island (the oldest being the trough on the northwest corner of the Eastern Parade) and were instrumental in changing the names of Union Street to Elizabeth Avenue and planting the impressive avenue of Royal Palms along Victoria Avenue in the early 1900’s.

During the war years as well as in times of peace, the order has entertained and served the needs of over 500,000 servicemen. During World War II, they assisted the R.A.F. in the creation of the R.A.F. Cemetery on Farrington Road and to this day, along with the Ministry of Works are responsible for maintainance of the cemetery.

After the first World War, the I.O.D.E. was commissioned by the Earl Haig Fund to sell poppies and raise money for ex-servicemen. The Poppy Day Dinner Dances of the thirties, fourties and fifties were one of the biggest fun-raising events of the year in Nassau.

Members of the order continue to assist the Bahamas Royal British Legion in selling poppies and tickets for the Poppy Day Dinner Dances held each year.

The I.O.D.E. also maintains a scholarship fund and does extensive benevolent work throughout the community.

Mrs. Barbara Brown, president of the order, emphasizes that the order is by no means extinct and adds that within the next year it hopes to launch a membership drive to encourage younger Bahamian women to join the order which is open to all women who hold allegiance to the Reigning Sovereign and head of the Commonwealth.

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