Royal Neighbors of America Charter, Olive Branch No.218, Decatur, Illinois

Rock Island, IL: Supreme Camp Royal Neighbors of America, 1914. Charter for an early Illinois branch of the Royal Neighbors of America, a historic fraternal society and one of the largest woman-led insurance companies in the U.S. It was originally founded as an auxiliary group by nine women in Council Bluffs, Iowa, who were wives of workers at Hazel Camp No.171 (Modern Woodmen of America). They incorporated in the State of Illinois in 1894, and chartered as a fraternal benefit society in March of 1895. At a time when women could neither vote nor own property, Royal Neighbors became one of the first national organizations to offer life insurance to women (and also one of the first to insure children, in 1918). Continually at the vanguard of social change, the group made a practive of providing disaster relief (as with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake), and were ardent supporters of the suffrage movement, advocating for the passage of the 19th Amendment (ref.Royal Neighbors and IL Genealogy). Royal Neighbors is still active today, heavily involved in philanthropic work among women, with over 5,000 local branches across the U.S. Original charter, with upper and lower text, illustration, and decorative border printed in black on beige stock; remaining text composed in holograph, with the names of 51 original charter members presented in three columns at center; embossed gold foil and ribbon seal mounted at lower left corner; marked "Duplicate" along lower border, dated 25 April, 1914, and signed by Myra B. Enright (Supreme Oracle) and Hada M. Burkhart (Supreme Recorder); measures 36cm x 57cm (14 1/8" x 22 3/8"). Mild, even toning overall, light wear to extremities, with several shallow impressions along upper edge, small puncture to lower left corner, and a half-dozen faint stains along three margins; unrestored, Very Good+ example.

Price: $1,250.00

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