Modern Woodmen founded
|In 1883, Chester A. Arthur was the president, the nation's flag held 34 stars and Joseph Cullen Root organized Modern Woodmen of America in Lyons, Iowa. |
From the beginning, Root wanted to create a fraternal benefit society that would protect families and their financial futures following the death of a breadwinner, offer more stability than other fraternals of that time, and strengthen families, communities and the nation.
|Learn more about Modern Woodmen's name.|
First head office organized
First member publication published
|In 1885, Modern Woodmen's first member publication, The Woodmen's Echo, was published. |
Today, the Modern Woodmen magazine is a family and financial resource written and designed exclusively for Modern Woodmen members and their families. Sent free to all members quarterly, topics cover financial planning, family life and community involvement.
|Learn more about The Modern Woodmen magazine today.|
First Forester drill team founded
|In 1894, members in Hutchinson, Kan., organized the first Modern Woodmen Forester drill team.|
Modern Woodmen Foresters were one of the most celebrated precision drill teams in America. Known for their elaborate uniforms, shiny axes and meticulous drills, Forester teams from member camps (chapters) across the U.S. were a powerful force in promoting Modern Woodmen's growth and popularity.
|Learn more about Modern Woodmen Forester drill teams.|
Head office moved
|In 1897, leaders moved the Modern Woodmen head office from Fulton, Ill., to Rock Island, Ill. Modern Woodmen records were moved by boat and train but Fulton residents were upset about it and blocked the movement of the records three times. |
Modern Woodmen's home office is still located in Rock Island, Ill., today.
Life insurance milestone reached
|In 1901, Modern Woodmen continued growing, reaching $1 billion of life insurance in force. |
With Modern Woodmen, members were protected with life insurance and also enjoyed fraternal benefits and gatherings, like this building raising in 1900.
|Learn more about Modern Woodmen today.|
Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened
|In 1909, the Modern Woodmen Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened just outside Colorado Springs, Colo. The facility provided free treatment for more than 12,000 members afflicted with tuberculosis between 1909 and 1947. |
The treatment at that time emphasized rest, wholesome food, pure air, exercise and the right mental attitude. Tent cottages at the sanatorium featured a conical shape with an open top for maximum ventilation.
|Learn more about the Tuberculosis Sanatorium.|
One million members reached
|In 1910, Modern Woodmen membership totaled 1 million. Fraternal benefit societies like Modern Woodmen soared in popularity and social activities like this picnic took place across the country for members. |
|Learn more about today's Modern Woodmen membership.|
Product and membership expanded
Modern Woodmen showcased strong brand
|In 1937, Modern Woodmen showcased fraternal life insurance at the World's Fair in Chicago. This was one of many World's Fairs in which Modern Woodmen had participated. It was considered an early form of marketing and a brand awareness effort. |
|Learn more about today's branding efforts.|
First youth service club founded
|In 1942, member Allen Clauser formed the first Modern Woodmen youth service club in Reading, Pa. Today there are more than 900 clubs across the nation, designed around volunteerism, education, patriotism and fun. |
|Learn more about today's youth service clubs.|
First youth educational program launched
|In 1948, Modern Woodmen launched its first youth educational program, a civic oration contest (today's School Speech Contest). Today, the School Speech Contest is one of six free youth educational programs available to schools and youth groups across the country. More than 100,000 students participate each year. |
|Learn more about today's School Speech Contest.|
First polio benefit received
|In 1951, member Timothy Weber, age 3, Windsor, Colo., received the first Modern Woodmen polio benefit. Today, Modern Woodmen offers many free fraternal benefits for members' health, home and peace of mind. |
|Learn more about today's fraternal member benefits.|
First annuities offered
New home office opened
|In 1967, Modern Woodmen's home office building in Rock Island, Ill., opened to fanfare from the local community.|
First fraternal college scholarship awarded
Matching Fund Program debuted
|In 1979, Matching Fund Program launched to support members' fundraising efforts for local causes. Today, more than $8 million is contributed annually to community projects, local organizations and individuals in need. |
|Learn more about today's Matching Fund projects.|
Good Neighbors Program launched
Join Hands Day began
|In 2000, members participated in the first Join Hands Day, bringing adults and kids together to improve communities. After more than a decade, the annual event is still taking place and nearly 1,300 groups participate each year. |
|Learn more about Join Hands Day.|
MWA Financial Services formed
|In 2001, broker dealer MWA Financial Services Inc. was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America. This allowed licensed agents to distribute securities products. |
|Learn more about MWA Financial Services.|
General Agency created
|In 2002, Modern Woodmen General Agency was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America. This allowed licensed agents to offer members nonproprietary insurance products, including major medical, disability income and long-term care insurance. |
|Learn more about Modern Woodmen General Agency.|
Modern Woodmen Bank opened
Modern Woodmen reached 125 years
|Modern Woodmen builds on a strong past to help members achieve secure futures.|
Tomorrow, the future depends on people like you.
Photos taken from the Modern Woodmen of America Archives Collection.