Freedom Benevolent Society (New York, N.Y.)
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Freedom Benevolent Society Collection
The Freedom Benevolent Society was a mutual aid and fraternal organization founded by Jewish immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1882, on the Lower East Side of New York City. Originally known as the Erster Kaiser Franz Josef Kranken Unterstützungs–Verein, or the First Franz Joseph Sick and Benevolent Society, it was incorporated in 1883. Its main purpose was to provide its members with sick benefits, and relief in times of need, as well as fellowship and entertainment. Eventually it also functioned as a burial society, and maintained cemetery plots. The collection documents the society's activities over more than a century, from 1884 until its initiation of dissolution proceedings, in 1991. It includes membership applications from the early decades of the society's history (1884-1927), anniversary programs spanning fifty years (1932-1982), and a visitors' register for the 1500th meeting, in 1950, as well as account books, meeting notices, and two cemetery plans, one of which relates to the Franz Joseph Ladies Sick and Benevolent Society.