William Harper Bennett, journalist by profession, founded the Order of Alhambra, on February 29, 1904, in Brooklyn, New York, as a Catholic fraternal and social association. At the time of his death, on April 18, 1931, at the age of seventy one, Mr. Bennett was recognized by the New York Times as an historian for his writings on the history of the Catholic Church, an emphasis that he had helped to integrate into the objectives of the Order of Alhambra.
Having helped the Knight’s of Columbus draw up the Fourth Degree in 1899, Mr. Bennett knew just how to go about drawing up a new fraternal organization. While the primary objectives of the new association dealt with promoting sociability among its members as a fun organization, Mr. Bennett gave the organization a secondary duty of marking historical sites, persons and events.
Mr. Bennett’s genius and vision in organization were dramatically evident in the Al Sunna (The Rule) that he had crafted for the new organization and in the procedures that he had prepared for the opening and closing of the Supreme Divan, its supreme governing body. The Al Sunna is still in use today and contains the revised constitution and bylaws of the Order of Alhambra.
Under the leadership of Mr. Bennett, (1905-1911) as its first Supreme Commander (he was the first and one of the youngest to hold that office) the new organization was well on its way. As we look back on history we thank William Harper Bennett for his leadership and vision. If he were alive today he would be proud of his Order of Alhambra and in the way it progressed to being one of just a few organizations that was truly organized to promote the social welfare of its Catholic members in a fraternal organization.