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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

I Feed You All! Milwaukee, Wisconsin: American Oleograph Co., ca. 1875. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (034.00.00)

The Grange

The Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the Grange, was founded in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley (1826–1913), a farmer and clerk at the U.S. Bureau of Agriculture. The Grange combined rituals and grades adapted from Freemasonry with a mission to offer courses on agricultural technology and innovation. It became a forum for grassroots political advocacy for farmers and their families. Unlike many other fraternal associations, women were guaranteed full membership and lodge rituals reserved some roles exclusively for them. Membership in the Grange grew to over 850,000 in its first ten years. In recent decades, the decline in the number of people engaged in farming has led to a dramatic decrease in active membership.