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  • Independent Order of Odd Fellows Collection

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is a fraternal organization devoted to promoting personal and social development. The organization focuses on services for children and the elderly through a variety of projects including scholarships, grant programs, and running orphanages and senior homes in countries throughout the world. 

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows, founded in 1819 in Baltimore, Maryland, initially operated as part of the British Order of Odd Fellows. In 1842 the American lodges broke away from the British lodges to form their own governance system. As a result American lodges formed in cities throughout the country. African American lodges began in 1842, however these lodges remained under the British governance system. The women's branch, known as the Daughters of Rebekah, began in 1851 under the encouragement of future Vice President Schuyler Colfax. The organization experienced a sizeable drop in membership and resources during the Civil War, but rebounded in the years after the war.

Photographs in this collection include images of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Administration Building and West Cottage in Lincoln, Illinois, graduating students, and construction on the organization's lodge in Rochelle, Illinois.

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