"People Helping People"

The History of the Eagles

It was over 100 years ago on February 6th, 1898 the Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran's shipyard in Seattle Washington. Competitors in the theater industry, they met to discuss a musicians strike. After deciding what to do on that issue, they decided to bury the hatchet and form an organization dubbed "The Order of Good Things". 

The first meetings were held on the stages of various local theaters and after the business was settled a keg of beer was rolled out and all enjoyed a few hours of social activities. A few weeks later as their numbers grew they chose the Bald Eagle as their official emblem and changed the name to "The Fraternal Order of Eagles." The membership formed a Grand Aerie in April 1898, secured a charter, drew up a constitution and by-laws and elected it's first president, John Cort. 

Most of the first Eagle members were connected with the theatre, actors, stagehands, playwrights, etc., and as they went on tour they carried the story of the new order with them across the United States and Canada. This is the reason the Eagles grew so quickly and all the way across the country. Many cities in the east have low Aerie numbers such as New York #40, Philadelphia #42 and Buffalo #46.

The idea spread like wildfire. The order was unique in it's concept of brotherhood and it's early success has been attributed to it's establishment of a sick and funeral benefit (no Eagle was ever buried in a "Potter's Field"), along with provisions for an Aerie physician and other "fringe benefits", unknown in other fraternal organizations up to that time.

As the Eagles grew, so did its responsibilities to it's members. Its first Constitution and By-Laws were merely copied from those previously used by a defunct fraternal organization and it took later members like Frank Hering - the "Father of Mothers Day," and long time editor of the National Eagle Publication - to revise the By-Laws and make them unique from any other organization.

Hering, a member of South Bend Aerie No. 435, who had been Notre Dame's first Athletic Director and a great football quarterback and baseball player, wrote the order's funeral service. When he died in 1943 his stirring words were recited over his own body by Grand Worthy president Lester Loble. It was men like Hering who kept the Eagles from going under during the difficult days at the turn of the century and built the solid foundation it rests on today.

Over the years, the Eagles have fought and won many bitter battles for a Workman's Compensation Act, Mothers and Old Age Pensions, Social Security laws and "Jobs After 40" and are still fighting to liberalize present social benefits along with combating vicious diseases plaguing mankind through their sponsorship of the Art Ehrmann Cancer Fund, Max Bear Heart Fund, Jimmy Durante Children's Fund, "Doc" Dunlap Kidney Fund and the Diabetes Fund.

Many great social and political leaders have belonged to the Eagles.  President Theodore Roosevelt was one of the many who joined and praised the order for its humanitarian accomplishments, as did a later Roosevelt - Franklin D.  President Harry S. Truman often reiterated that the Eagles were his type of organization - one founded by, and for the common man.

As you learn about our history, you will see we are just like you.  Proud, Caring, People Helping People, that understand that the needs of the many will always outweigh the needs of the few.

Over 100 years of Fraternal Service

THE STORY OF THE EAGLES is a story of fraternal crusading. There is something about the Fraternal Order of Eagles that is different, distinctive, something not to be found in any other Order,"
Since February of 1898, when the Order was founded by six theater owners in a Seattle waterfront shipyard, the Eagles not only welcomed the average man as a member, but fought for his right to a life of dignity and self-respect. To call the roll of early Eagle crusades -- for Workmen's Compensation Act, Mother's Pensions, Old Age Pensions and Social Security Laws - is to know what the Hoosier Congressman Louis Ludlow had in mind when he said of the Order, "It reaches out and tries to help in solving the distressing and difficult problems of human relief."

As the late Franklin D. Roosevelt suggested they be, Eagles' crusades are continuing.

"The pen I am presenting to the order is a symbol of my approval of the Fraternity's vision and courage," said Roosevelt when he signed the Social Security Act on Aug. 14, 1935, and gave the pen he used to the Eagles. "May its possession inspire your members to rededicate their efforts and those of the fraternity to the insuring of such economic and political conditions as well being a greater degree of happiness to our people."

February 6 -- The anniversary of the founding of the Eagles -- is a road marker, pointing the way to the future as well as commemorating the progress that we have made. To Eagle programs for Old Age Security, Cancer Research, Youth Guidance and Inter-Faith Brotherhood must be added resolute Eagle support for making democracy work and helping freedom ‘ring round the world. For Eagledom, more than anything else, is a dream -- the dream that ordinary men and women everywhere are entitled to and shall enjoy the right to life, to liberty and to the pursuit of happiness with some reasonable chance of catching up to it in their lifetimes.

Fraternal Order of Eagles Milestone of Eagle Progress

1904 On February 7th Frank E. Hering made the first known public plea for a nationwide observance for Mother's Day.
1908 Sponsored America's first Mother's Pension Law.
1911 Grand Worthy President Frank E. Hering during his travels of the country pushes for a nationwide observance for Mother's Day.
1911 Sponsored America's First Workmen's Compensation Laws.
1912 Grand Aerie approves statute urging Aeries to hold Memorial Services on Mother's Day.
1914 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson by proclamation designates the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.
1923 Sponsored America's First Old Age Pension Law.

1923 25th Anniversary

1925 The Society of American War Mothers proclaim Frank E. Hering "The Father of Mother's Day".
1926 Creation and Formation of Ladies Auxiliaries
1931 Plaque dedicated at the English Opera House to honor Frank Hering's first public plea for a nationwide observance for Mother's Day.
1935 Supported Enactment of Social Security Law.
1941 Dedicated "Eagle Dormitory" at Boy's Town, Nebraska.
1944 Established the Eagles Memorial Foundation.

1948 50th Anniversary

1950 Financed the entrance of The Chapel of the Four Chaplains.
1953 Established Eagle Haus in Free Berlin, Germany.
1957 Inaugurated Nation-wide "Jobs After 40" program.
1959 Established EAGLE-CARE Trade School in Naples, Italy. Established Max Baer Heart Fund.
1960 Dedicated "Eagle Hall" at Home on the Range for Boys in North Dakota.
1961 Dedicated "Eagle Village" in Florida as senior Eagle retirement home.
1962 Established EAGLE-CARE Trade School in Abadan, Iran.
1963 Established "Eagle House" in Benyan, Turkey.
1964 Established "Eagle House" in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
1965 Established "Eagle House" in Israel and Tunisia.
1966 Establishment of Ralph Bird Memorial Library at Eagle Village.
1967 Establishment of Jimmy Durante Children's Fund.
1968 Established "Eagle House" in Columbia, South America.
1969 Established "Eagle House" in the Phillipine Islands.
1970 Established "Eagle Ridge Village" in Topeka, Kansas.
1971 Established "Max Schroeder Eagle House" in South Korea.
1972 Established Golden Eagle Fund.

1973 75th Anniversary

1974 Established "Jimmy Durante Eagle House" in Managua, Nicaragua.
1975 Initiated Blow the Whistle on Crime program.
1976 Instituted the first European Aerie.
1977 Established EAGLE-CARE Weaving Center in Guatemala.
1978 Established "Hubert H. Humphrey Eagles Care School" in Honduras. Established Robert W. Hansen Diabetes Fund.
1979 First Telethon for Hughen School for Children in Point Arthur, Texas.
1980 Eagles Bob Hope High School dedicated at Hughen School for Children in Point Arthur, Texas.
1982 Eagles-CARE Poland Food Program.
1983 Max Baer Heart Fund offers first Grant. First Memorial Foundation College Scholarship to graduate of Bob Hope High School.
1984 $405,000 donated to Eagles Truman Cardiovascular Lab at Research Medical Center, Kansas City. President Truman was a Life-Time
        Eagle member. Golden Eagle Fund starts program of $5,000 Grants to institutions doing Alzheimer's disease research.
1985 Eagles mark $1 million in donations to St. Jude's Hospital. Established Child Abuse Hot Line at Child Help USA.
1986 Eagles launch "Crack down on Crack" drive. Contributions to Eagles Max Baer Heart fund Research Lab at Sutter Medical Research
        Foundation reach $600,000.
1987 Eagles-CARE drive to help the poor in Belize is launched. Eagles honor the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery with a
        plaque on February 2, 1987. Ground-breaking for 24 new cottages at Eagle Village.
1988 Matching Grants up to $500 offered Aerie/Auxiliary that sponsor Drug Education Seminars.
1989 Eagles launch a drive to make desecration of the American Flag a federal crime.
1990 Memorial foundation increases educational grant from $3,000 to $4,000.
1991 Eagles drive to support our military in Operation Desert Storm with mail and food packages.
1992 Eagles Mildred and Claude Pepper Foundation Co-Sponsor Health Care Symposium.
1993 Eagles launch fund to aid Florida victims from hurricane Andrew. Eagles launch flood relief to help people in the Midwest flood
        victims. Memorial Foundation funds Scholarship Program at Chapel of the Four Chaplains.
1994 The Eagles Donor Fund established.
1995 The Fraternal Order Eagles donate $50,000 for the Eagle Alcove of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, Tidal Basin, Washington,
        D.C. . Roosevelt was a lifetime member of the F.O.E..
1996 Dedication on February 27, 1996 of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Memorial Plaque at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific,
        Honolulu, Hawaii, in honor of those who lost their lives in World War II.

1998 100th Anniversary

1998 International Convention takes place. $1,000,000 given to Charities at Grand Aerie Convention.
1999 Memorial Foundation establishes H.O.M.E. Fund and G.R.E.A.T. program. April 29th is designated as Judge Bob Hansen Day.       
2001 Memorial Foundation establishes the "Attack on America Fund" to assist the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
        Memorial Foundation extends medical and educational benefits to the families of all members who lose their life on the job.  
        Eagles purchase property to consolidate National Headquarters.
2002 F.O.E. International Headquarters opens in Grove City, Ohio.
2003 Eagles are a major sponsor in the development of the Military Tribute to Bob Hope located in San Diego, California.
2004 May 1st is designated as “Child Advocacy Day”. "Where Eagles Fly" becomes our theme song.
        Implemented God Flag and Country program for American and Canadian youth.
2005 Eagles re-dedicated Ten Commandments monument at international headquarters; F.O.E. generously supported development of a new
        scoliosis brace named the "Eagle Brace"; F.O.E. signed first year contract with Braun Racing for FOE.com-sponsored care.
2006 Eagles worked with local government leaders to keep "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance; F.O.E. signed second year contract with
        Braun Racing and announced opening of Race City Aerie in Mooresville, North Carolina.
2007 Eagles supported American Eagle & Literary Challenge in quest to name June 20 National Eagle Day.
2008 Eagles host Lobby Day and Capital Hill Champion of Children Recepton for CARES Act.
        Eagles partner with The University of Iowa to fund research at The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center.

2009 Eagles make first $5 million donation to The University of Iowa for The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center in Iowa City, Iowa.
Eagles attend 75th Anniversary Celebration of the signing of the Social Security Act in New York City. The second $5 million donation to The
        University of Iowa for The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center is made in Iowa City, Iowa.



History of the Fraternal
Order of Eagles Auxiliary


The 1951 Grand Aerie Convention was a watershed event in the history of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. At that international convention, held August 8-12 in Rochester, New York, an amendment to the Grand Aerie Laws was unanimously passed establishing a Grand Auxiliary.

It was what Past Grand Worthy President Lester Loble, who was instrumental in the institution of the Grand Auxiliary, called “a great moment in the history of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.”

To be sure, Eagles Auxiliaries existed long before there was a Grand Auxiliary. The first one, at Pittsburgh, Kansas, came into being on March 24, 1927, and just three days later the second Auxiliary was instituted at Frontenac, Kansas.

By March, 1951, there were 965 local Auxiliaries boasting a combined total of approximately 130,000 members.

“The progress made in the last 24 years,” said Mrs. Eagle magazine, which had been launched in 1948, “is a solid foundation on which Eagle Auxiliaries must continue to build.”

The building was done quickly and solidly. By late ‘51, there were 22 state and provincial Auxiliaries in operation, and the time was ripe for an international governing body for the distaff side of Eagledom.

At the 53rd Grand Aerie Convention in Rochester, matters got underway at a Regional Membership Department Banquet at the Seneca Hotel. In his greetings, printed in the banquet program, Grand Aerie Director M.L. Brown set the stage for the historic occasion with these words:

“It is especially fitting that the F.O.E. Encourage the upbuilding of the Ladies’ Auxiliaries of our Order. The growth of the Ladies’ Auxiliaries is the astonishment of the fraternal world. We welcome the ladies and congratulate you on your outstanding success and predict great things for your future.”

At that convention, state and provincial madam presidents attended an all-day forum. Included were Kay Guy of Pennsylvania, Alta Browning of Ohio, Carol Bennett of California, Mary Dunn of Toronto, Ontario; Phyllis Wright of Washington, and Mrs. Eagle magazine editor Georgia Walker.

Following the forum, the abovenamed Sisters were escorted into the Grand Aerie session and presented to the assembly. Lester Loble, who spearheaded the drafting of the legislation establishing the Grand Auxiliary, introduced Alta Browning. According to the lead story int he October, 1951 issue of Mrs. Eagle, “...Pride shone on every woman’s face as she said, in part: ‘The Ladies’ Auxiliaries of this Fraternity thank you, our Brothers, for everything that you have done for us through the years. We thank you, who are the representatives of the Grand Aerie, for making it possible for us to realize, in the near future, one of our fondest dreams. We thank those delegates way back in 1926 for recognizing our Ladies’ Auxiliaries. And then we thank the delegates again a few years ago who made our State Auxiliaries possible.

“We are very proud of the part that we have been able to play in this Fraternity, and I am happy to pledge for our Ladies’ Auxiliaries our support in all the programs of the future that you may care to advance.”

It was, wrote Auxiliarian Gertrude M. Puelicher, “truly a New Era for the women of Eagledom.”

At the 1952 Grand Aerie Convention in Philadelphia, 1,100 Eagle Sisters from virtually every American state and Canadian province watched with tremendous awe and pride as Lester Loble was escorted to the platform in the Crystal Ballroom of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel to officially institute the Grand Auxiliary whose roots had been set down the year before.

“My friends,” said Loble, “here in the City of Brotherly Love, in the year 1952, you women of Eagledom are gathered upon an extraordinary occasion. Today is as historic as February 6, 1898, when the Fraternal Order of Eagles came into being. From that humble beginning, in a little more than half a century, that meeting of six men in the Moran shipyards has become the fastest-growing fraternal order in the world, a humanitarian and patriotic organization that has no equal.

“Today, the counterpart of that organization is born: the Ladies’ Grand Auxiliary of the F.O.E. May its future be as illustrious as the parent organization from which it derives its being.”


1926: Grand Worthy President Charles C. Guenther issues Official Circular seeking action in regard to the organization of Ladies Auxiliaries in the F.O.E.

March 24, 1927: Pittsburgh, Kansas, is the site of the first Ladies Auxiliary institution. Frontenac, Kansas, follows three days later.

March 29, 1927: Davenport, Iowa Auxiliary 235 is instituted. Still going strong, Davenport is the longest-surviving Auxiliary.

April 25, 1948: The first State/Provincial Auxiliaries in Montana and Ohio are instituted on the same day.

August 8-12: Delegates to the 53rd Grand Aerie Convention in Rochester, New York, approve establishment of the Grand Auxiliary.

August 19, 1951: Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt becomes the first woman to receive a life membership in the Ladies’ Auxiliary in a special presentation at Hyde Park, New York.

August, 1952: The Grand Auxiliary is officially instituted in Philadelphia. Kay Guy of Irwin, Pennsylvania, is charter Grand Madam President.

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Last update 01/27/2013