The RBO was founded by John Shinchak-Smith and a number of other Lemkos. Soon after the creation of the Greek Catholic Union in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, there arose opposition to Shinchak-Smith that led to some members leaving to form what later became the Ukrainian National Association. In 1900 the remaining Shinchak-Smith faction formed the Russian Brotherhood Organization located in Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania. Neither the Russian Brotherhood Organization nor the Ukrainian National Association were formed with 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" (Brotherhood of Cain and Abel) in the Lemko Association's 1936 almanac in another section on this site. With time, however, both the RBO and the UNA organizations grew more or less into the clothes of their chosen ethnic 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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