John Rodemeyer (c. 1859-1943), a newspaperman who was himself bald, founded the Bald Head Club as a publicity stunt to promote a novelty postcard of six bald men parodying a popular photograph of the Seven Sutherland Sisters, a Victorian family of women known for their extremely long hair. Rodemeyer’s announcement of the club’s founding was picked up by newspapers around the country who carried the story along with the entry requirements: a bald patch of at least three inches in diameter, good character and payment of a dollar entry fee. In its early days, Rodemeyer made up stories about meetings, but eventually an actual group formed that would hold an actual annual banquet in Connecticut, and chapters sprung up around the country. The organization humorously parodied the lofty language and symbols used by other fraternal organizations with a logo featuring a bald eagle and tongue-in-cheek references to the Knights of the Gleaming Skull and pronouncements such as, “The Bald-Head Club of America is dedicated to the proposition that Man, in his highest type, is not, primarily or necessarily, a fur-bearing animal, like the otter, seal, beaver, plush, Welsh rabbit or mock-turtle.”
Condition: Photo generally very good with the usual light overall toning and light wear near title. Photo mounted on stiff card mat as issued. Mat good, slightly warped, with usual toning and wear, some chipping to edges, and light staining — all can be matted out when framing.
“Aid Bald Head Club: Connecticut Legislators Approve Bill Making It World Wide.” New York Times. 27 May 1921. Online at http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F30C17FB3D551A738DDDAE0A94DD405B818EF1D3 (23 May 2011).
“John Rodemeyer Forms the Bald Head Club of America Off the Top of His Head.” New England Historical Society. 2021. https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/ohn-rodemeyer-forms-the-bald-head-club-of-america-off-top-own/ (26 August 2022).
“Legislators Merry Over Baldheads.” New York Times. 7 April 1921. Online at http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=FB0D16FB3B5B1B7A93C5A9178FD85F458285F9 (23 May 2011).