Bangor, NY: 1892-1909. Manuscript ledger containing seventeen years of financial information for the women's philanthropic group. Comprised of 77 handwritten pages with 2 sheets (4 pages) inserted at front. Bound in quarter cloth over marbled card measuring 6 x 7 inches. Cloth spine has largely perished; text block almost fully disbound but held together by remnants. Boards generally rubbed with loss of bottom front corner. Internally, legible and detailed, in a variety of hands.
Founded in New York in 1886, The International Order of the King's Daughters was an interdenominational women's organization whose mission was to "represent faith, hope, and service to others" (IOKD). Initially begun by ten women from Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, the members hoped to cross boundaries in their small communities in order to improve life for all. Their official motto reflected this: "Look up and not down, Look forward and not back, Look out and not in, And lend a hand" (IOKD). Member branches were encouraged to choose their own community missions, serving where they saw the most need locally. Within a year, the organization had spread across the east coast, with hundreds of chapters and over 50,000 members; it remained a predominantly women's group, although some branches granted membership to men beginning in 1891. The present branch was located in Bangor, New York near the Canadian border. In a town that had been founded not even a century before, in 1806, the women of the Kings Daughters of Bangor had an opportunity to help meet key needs for their municipality. In the almost two decades' worth of notes in this ledger, researchers can traces how dues and fundraising helped the entirely-women group contributed books and funds to the creation of a public library; assisted in providing clothes for the needy; and ran two key projects which were the maintenance of the local cemetery and the "old ladies home," a housing space for widowed, single, and other in-need women as they aged without families.
A research-rich ledger with opportunities to study in fields including but not limited to rural women's social history, the role of women's organizations in the founding of towns, interdenominational religious organizations, women's religious groups, historical fundraising, the formation of local libraries and educational programs, women in business and philanthropy, genealogy, and paleography. (Item #3160)