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An Eye of Silver: The Life and Times of Andrew D. Lytle

Peace and Society

After the war, Baton Rouge society turned to rebuilding the routines of peacetime under reconstruction. For Mary and A.D. this time also brought the death of their second son on 12 May 1868. The couple would not remain childless for long. Howard Lytle, born on 30 May 1870, and Ethel Lytle, born on 03 November 1871, would grow to adulthood, marry, and have children of their own.

Stage plays and other social events provided entertainment for the community while often expressing patriotic, religious, and social themes and ideals. A.D. and his family actively took part in many of these events. A.D.’s daughter Ethel, standing in this image taken sometime in the late 1880s, appears in costume.

A.D. Lytle and his son Howard joined the Order of the Knights of Pythias, a fraternal organization that had been founded in Washington, D.C., 19 February 1864. Howard also joined the Dramatic Order of Knights of Khorassan, a suborder of the Pythians dedicated to staging plays demonstrating, among other things, the ideals of the Order.

At the same time, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, established in America on 16 February 1868, played a large role in entertainment for Baton Rouge. Costumed Elks paraded the streets of Baton Rouge in the late 1800s. In November 1900, the Elks opened their new theater and office building on the corner of Third and Florida presenting Hall Caine’s stage production “The Christian.”

Howard and Ethel Lytle acted in many of these stage productions. A.D. photographed the actors in his studio and on the street. He also photographed the new Elks Theater for the Elks Souvenir book, 1901, and painted backdrops, scenery, and props for the theater.

Other organizations, such as the Baton Rouge German Benevolent Association, held annual events and entertainments. A young lady attending the ball would have carried a dance card like the one shown here. Young men desiring a dance would have penciled in their names for individual dances.

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