The RBO was founded by John Shinchak-Smith and a number of other Lemkos. Evidently, there was opposition to Shinchak-Smith within the Greek Catholic Union in Shamokin that led to some members leaving the Greek Catholic Union in 1894 to form what later became the Ukrainian National Association. In 1900 the Shinchak-Smith faction formed the Russian Brotherhood Organization located in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. So, interestingly, both the Russian Brotherhood Organization and the Ukrainian National Association were formed without the participation of any Russians or Ukrainians — only Rusyns. The Russian/Ukrainian and Orthodox/Greek Catholic divisions among American Rusyns figures as a background element in the fictional work, "Братство Каина и Авеля" in the Lemko Association's 1936 almanac in another section on this site. With time, both the RBO and the UNA organizations grew more or less into the clothes of their chosen identities.
In 1922 the headquarters of the RBO was moved to Philadelphia. The RBO grew to become the largest of the Carpatho-Russian Brotherhoods with about 25,000 members. The RBO almanac underwent several minor name changes — "Иллюстрованный Русско-Американскій Календарь," was the first name while "Русско-Американскій Календарь" and "Русскій Календарь" were used later on. In some cases, one of the titles was used on the cover and another on the title page.
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