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Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Brandywine Lodge No. 388 (Downingtown, Pa.) records


Held at: Downingtown Area Historical Society [Contact Us]PO Box 9, Downingtown, PA, 19335

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Downingtown Area Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) was originally organized in England in the 18th century as an altruistic and benevolent fraternal organization not based in any particular ethnic, religious, or trade affiliation. The first I.O.O.F. branch in the United States, Washington Lodge No. 1 in Baltimore, Maryland was started in 1819 by Thomas Wildey and four other members of the Order from England who dedicated themselves to alleviating the distress they found in Baltimore due to a yellow fever epidemic and mass unemployment. I.O.O.F. was the first national fraternity to include both men and women, adopting the Rebekah Degree, based on biblical scripture, in 1851. As of 2013, Odd Fellows and Rebekahs continues to exist with nearly 10,000 lodges in approximately 26 countries.

Brandywine Lodge No. 388, I.O.O.F. in Downingtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania was formally incorporated in 1852 at the instigation of J. Stuart Leech, Richard D. Wells, and Humphrey M. Ingram. Brandywine Lodge leased meeting space from Washington Camp No. 338, Patriotic Order Sons of America (Downingtown, Pa.) beginning in 1915. They formed the Odd Fellows Hall Association and purchased the building in 1935. They continued to use the space until the Borough of Downingtown condemned the structure in 1973. Soon after, in 1974, Pilgrim's Lodge in nearby Lionville (Uwchlan Township) merged into Brandywine Lodge. In 2001 it merged with Star of Hope Lodge 199 I.O.O.F. (previously of Coatesville, Pa.). Sometime between this merge and 2004, the Brandywine Lodge ceased its activity and disbanded. As of 2014, there is still an I.O.O.F. presence based in Downingtown, Paoli Lodge No. 290, although it has no connection to the Brandywine Lodge.

This collection consists of various records of Brandywine Lodge No. 388, IOOF, and related lodges. It includes minute books, 1918-1926; officers books, 1850-1962; building-related documents; and various other materials. A summary listing of contents is given below; a more detailed inventory is available on-site.

Agreement of Sale - Independent Order of Odd Fellows 388, 1905 Agreement of Sale - purchase of Grange National Bank by IOOF, 1935 Blueprint - IOOF Hall and Stuart Avenue, 1903 Book - Official History of Odd Fellowship, 1898 Brandywine Lodge Proposed Member book, 1882 Brochure about the Odd Fellows and their Works, 1910 Constitution and Bylaws, 1850 Corporation Charter - Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 388, 1935 Deed - Charles W. Chandler to E. D. Larkin DDS (IOOF), 1894 Deed - to Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 1973 Deed - transfers - E.D. Larkin and wife Mary E. to William E. Baldwin (IOOF), 1907 Deed - William E. Baldwin and wife to Grange National Bank, 1907 Deeds, etc - Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge 388, 1850-1886 Lease Agreement - Independent Order of Odd Fellows 388, 1894 Lease Agreement - IOOF and Pos of A, 1915 Letter - Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 1908 Letter - removal of tenant from IOOF building, 1940 Members Register of Brandywine Lodge, 1850-1964 Minute Book, 1918-1923 Minute Book, 1923-1926 Odd Fellow Building Sale, 1973 Officers Book, 1850-58 Officers Book, 1859-1881 Officers Book, 1881-1891 Officers Book, 1898-1909 Officers Book, 1909-1933 Officers Book, Brandywine Lodge, 1933-1957 Officers Book, Pilgrim Lodge, 1926-1950 Officers Book, Pilgrim Lodge, 1950-1962 Original Member signature book, 1850 Pilgrim Lodge (Lionville) Proposed Member book, 1851 Release of Liens - Grange National Bank, 1907-1908 Removal of Deed Restrictions - Independent Order of Odd Fellows, 1904 Souvenir Booklet of 1893

The majority of the collection was a gift of Hervey Painter, 2004. Additional materials from other sources at other times.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Downingtown Area Historical Society directly for more information.

Downingtown Area Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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