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Ancient Order of Hibernians (OAH)

Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Founded at Smith College in 1890, the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) was a secret society devoted to “the maintenance of devilish wit and the promotion of hellish spirit in the college.” A spoof upon “The Hibernians,” a fraternal order of Irish Roman Catholics promoting unity, friendship, and charity among its members, which began in Ireland during the 1500’s, AOH’s patron saint was St. Patrick, its color was green, and its emblem was the shamrock. From its founding, the society enjoyed an intense rivalry with fellow secret society, the Orangemen, or O.O., during which, among other things, both societies would compete for members and reputation and each society would attempt to “swipe” the other’s “sacred book.” Membership in the AOH was limited to twelve members from each class, and freshmen were selected and initiated in the fall of their first year at Smith. New members of the AOH were given special names upon initiation and were sworn into the club with the oath “I swear eternal hatred to the Orange and everlastin’ loyalty to the Green, so help me St. Pat.” The AOH flourished as one of Smith’s most popular secret societies until 1948, when President Davis abolished secret societies at Smith, calling them “undemocratic.” Both the AOH and Orangemen were forced to end all official activities, but records indicate that both organizations continued unofficially until the mid-1960s. There is no documentation of either society’s activities available for any time after the 1965-1966 academic year. See also Orangemen.

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