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The Order of Elks was formally organized on February 16 1868 in the City of New York Its full corporate name is Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America Its declared purposes are to practice its four cardinal virtues Charity - Justice - Brotherly Love - and Fidelity to promote the welfare and enhance the happiness of its members to Quicken the spirit of American Patriotism and to cultivate good fellowship The animal from which the Order took its name was chosen because a number of its attributes were deemed typical of those to be cultivated by members of the fraternity The elk is distinctively an American animal It habitually lives in herds The largest of our native quadrupeds it is yet fleet of foot and graceful in movement It is quick and keen of perception and while it is usually gentle and even timorous it is strong and valiant in defense of its own A representation of the majestic head of the male with its spreading antlers was adopted as the first badge of the Order and is still the most conspicuous element of its copyrighted fraternal emblem Subordinate Lodges of the Order are permitted to be established only in cities which are under the governmental sovereignty of the United States and have within their respective corporate limits not less than five thousand inhabitants with certain exceptions under the control of the Grand Exalted Ruler The name of the Lodge is that of the City in which it is located with its assigned serial number The Elk colors are Royal Purple and White a combination deriving its origin from the history of the Clergy Nobility and the People Throughout Europe the Orient and in Rome the symbolism of colors was associated with the severity of laws and customs Each color in each pattern was identified as religious or political and to change or alter it
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