Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) - An International Fraternal Order

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) is a non-political and non-sectarian international fraternal order of Odd Fellowship. It was founded in 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, Maryland. Evolving from the Order of Odd Fellows founded in England during the 1700s, the IOOF was originally chartered by the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity in England but has operated as an independent organization since 1842, although it maintains an inter-fraternal relationship with the English Order. The order is also known as the Triple Link Fraternity, referring to the order's "Triple Links" symbol, alluding to its motto "Friendship, Love and Truth". The Order promotes the ethic of reciprocity and charity, by implied inspiration of Judeo-Christian ethics.

Following the Civil War, the IOOF grew rapidly and became the largest fraternal organization, even larger than the Freemasons. By 1889 the IOOF had lodges in every American State. Membership in the IOOF began to decline during the depression and with Roosevelt’s New Deal, the need for social work waned as social reforms took effect. Many of the former lodges still exist and can be identified by the IOOF symbol on the building. Some are still home to the Order while others, like the one in Salmon, Idaho, is now home to the Odd Fellows Bakery.

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