Behind Our Name: Part III, by Michael Fricker

In Part II, we expanded the definition of German-Hungarians as an ethnic group. With an eloquent passage from Rudy Rack we described the feeling of community these people gathered around in America. Then in 1922, our athletic club formed and in 1930, it took on the familiar name.

Club Business Advances
The more and more I conceive and research this story I find that while it began as a history of our club’s name, it is also hard evidence of the unique “American Dream.” Today college academics and their learned professors have condemned the “Dream” as a myth. As a club and as individuals we know this to be untrue. We know because we live the “American Dream.”

Evidence of this is in the numerous businesses that supported and were supported by our club. Look for yourself in the souvenir books we hold so dearly. The advertisements in these books are interesting. Our members, their families and friends were business people. They were accountants and they sold insurance and real estate. Many were carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. They were painters and paperhangers. They were bakers, butchers, and restaurateurs. Maybe they sold beer? Maybe they made shoes, fur coats or hats? Some sold cars or fixed them. A few did printing of “EVERY DESCRIPTION,” and the number of machinists is too many to count. With this consistent and large contingent of business people in the city of Philadelphia and so many that were of German-Hungarian extraction it is clear why they may have banded together.

Rack the ever-present historian wrote,

“In May of 1933 a group of members of the BANATER MAENNERCHOR who were engaged in private enterprise banded together, secured a charter, and founded the GERMAN-HUNGARIAN BUSINESS MEN’S ASSOCIATION…To avoid any misunderstanding, let it be clearly understood that this was not a section of BANATER MAENNERCHOR but an entirely self-sufficient group, even though the majority of its members retained their membership in BANATER MAENNERCHOR.”

-Rudy Rack

In this formation of a group, we will see that business, club or otherwise has an important role in the development of the club we are today. Thirteen years after its founding the “Business Men’s Association,” would make a great contribution to where we are today. In 1933, it would still be six years until the Banater Männerchor changed names.

Michael N. Fricker

This piece is part of a series that was originally published in 2014, in the Monthly Progress. It was re-released in 2022 here online.

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