1901 – An eye-popping business envelope sent by the Buffalo chapter of the Ladies of The Maccabees to the Supreme Record Keeper
Port Huron, Michigan: Ladies of The Maccabees, 1901. Envelope or Cover.
This business envelope was sent by the Buffalo, New York chapter of the Ladies of The Maccabees to the Supreme Record Keeper, Bina M. West, at its national headquarters, the Maccabee Temple in Port Huron, Michigan. It is franked with a 2-cent stamp cancelled by a Buffalo duplex post mark dated January 4, 1901. The L.O.T.M beehive logo is printed in the upper left corner, and the reverse is almost completely covered with a printed membership synopsis. Most impressively, the sender affixed five colorful labels advertising the Pan-American Exposition that was soon to be held in Buffalo from May 1 through November 2, 1901.. Very good. Item #010010
The Knights of the Maccabees, a sub-group of the Order of Foresters, was organized the 1870s and based its name, ceremonies, and rituals on the pious and heroic Jewish brothers and their followers who overthrew the Seleucid Empire’s Hellenized Jewish rulers of Judea in 167 BCE. The group grew rapidly and by 1880 had over 10,000 members in Canada and the United States. One of the organization’s main purposes (probably its principal purpose and attraction) was to provide low-cost life insurance to its members. After a period of near insolvency and a schism between its Canadian and U.S. Great Tents (i.e. chapters) , the Maccabees reorganized in at the Supreme Tent (national meeting) held in 1881 at Port Huron, Michigan.
Sabina “Bina” Mae West Miller is said to have attended a Knights of Maccabees’ picnic in 1891 and after learning about its life insurance mission vowed to create a parallel beneficial organization specifically for women. Subsequently, she was instrumental in establishing the Ladies of the Maccabee’s as an auxiliary of the Knights of the Maccabees under the leadership of Adelphia Grace “Mother” Westbrook Ward. By 1913, it had over 80,000 members and had paid out over $50 million in death benefits. The organization was renamed as the Women’s Benefit Association in 1915 and still exists today as the Woman’s Life Insurance Society.
(For more information, see the McElroy’s “Bina West Miller: Pioneer” at the Foundation for Economic Freedom website, the “Maccabees & Ladies of the Maccabees” Facebook page, the Women’s Life Insurance Society website.”.