Founded in 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, MD the Independent Order of Oddfellows is an organization dedicated to the following purposes:
· To improve and elevate the character of mankind by promoting the principles of friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity and universal justice.
· To help make the world a better place to live by aiding each other, the community, the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly, the environment and the community in every way possible.
· To promote good will and harmony amongst peoples and nations through the principle of universal fraternity, holding the belief that all men and women regardless of race, nationality, religion, social status, gender, rank and station are brothers and sisters.
The symbol of IOOF is a chain of three links representing Friendship, Love, and Truth words that members live by and it became the first fraternity in the United States to include both men and women when it adopted the "Beautiful Rebekah Degree" on September 20, 1851.
Still a very active organization, membership is open to men and woman of good character, of any race, nationality and social status, who is loyal to his or her country and believes in a Supreme Being, the creator and preserver of the Universe, is eligible for membership.
This unique World War 1 IOOF service flag was discovered in a lodge in Michigan. Under each of the nineteen blue stars, is the hand-stitched name of the lodge member who served in the military during the war.