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Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society (U.S.) Columbia Camp #17 (North Baltimore, Ohio) - MS 521

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


The records of Woodmen of the World, Columbia Camp #17, North Baltimore, Ohio, consist of approximately .5 linear ft. of minutes, a membership ledger, cash books, correspondence, and account books, dating from 1894 through 1913.

The collection was transferred to the Center for Archival Collections during April 1988 from the Wood County Historical Museum. This register was prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, Center for Archival Collections, March, 1990. No restrictions exist on the the use of this collection.

Agency History

Woodmen of the World (WOW) was a secret fraternal society organized primarily to provide life insurance for members and, secondarily, to serve social purposes.

Little is known of Columbia Camp #17 of North Baltimore, Ohio. It is possibly the counterpart of the Supreme Forest Woodmen Circle, Oak Grove #18, also of North Baltimore. The Woodmen Circle and WOW were founded in 1891 by Joseph Cullen Root, and incorporated in 1895, with headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Root had founded Modern Woodmen in 1883, which had its headquarters in Rock Island, Illinois, and severed ties with that group to found WOW and Woodmen Circle. Woodmen Circle operated as a women's auxiliary of Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, but with separate and independent management.

Scope and Content

The records of Columbia Camp #17, Woodmen of the World, document some of the history, structure, and procedures of a secret and ritualistic fraternal life insurance organization from 1894 to 1913.

The minutes of the organization offer a record of financial business transacted at meetings, with an occasional reference to more social activity. The correspondence, legal, and financial records reflect more of the structure and procedures of the group.

Series Description


February 7, 1910-November 3, 1913
Arranged chronologically
Contains officers' names, meeting dates, results of elections of officers, financial transactions, treasurer's reports, and occasional comments on refreshments and social facets of the organization.

Arranged chronologically
Membership listing, which includes member name, age, certificate number and date, and dues payment history. Oversized - wrapped separately.

Arranged chronologically
Membership listing, including name, membership certificate number, and age.

November 1898-December 1899
Arranged chronologically
Contains letters from the National Camp, primarily detailing membership dues assessments and procedural questions.


Arranged chronologically
Banker's accounts detailing Camp financial transactions, including Orders paid, and Charity Fund assessments.

Arranged chronologically
Clerk's cash books detailing, by name, member's payments into Camp dues, Sovereign Camp dues, and Charity Fund assessments.


Forms related to Camp offices and membership, including transfer of membership from one Camp to another, waiver of lost certificate of membership, and credentials of Camp elections.

Informational brochure, detailing Woodmen of the World history, membership assessment rates, prohibited occupations, and comparisons with other national mutual insurance societies.


Box 1


  1. Minutes, Feb 7, 1910-Nov 3, 1913
  2. Membership Ledger (Wrapped separately), 1905-1911
  3. Membership Roster, 1898
  4. Correspondence, Nov. 1898-Dec. 1899
  5. Account Book, 1894-1899, 1901-1914
  6. Account Book, 1900
  7. Clerk's Cash Book, 1898-1900
  8. Clerk's Cash Book, 1900-1902
  9. Blank Forms, 189-
  10. Informational Brochures, 1899?

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