The P.E.O. Sisterhood was founded on January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The seven founders were Mary Allen (Stafford), Ella Stewart, Alice Bird (Babb), Hattie Briggs (Bousquet), Franc Roads (Elliott), Alice Virginia Coffin, and Suela Pearson (Penfield).
Earlier that school year a chapter of I.C. Sorosis was established at IWC. Some of the seven were invited, but not all of them, so they decided to start "a society of our own." As members graduated they continued their fellowship in community-based chapters. In the 1890's the collegiate chapters were closed. Ever since, P.E.O. has been a community organization.
P.E.O. has grown and prospered. There are over 200,000 members in more than 5,500 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. P.E.O. is a Philanthropic Educational Organization that promotes educational opportunities for women through its projects: Cottey College, a four-year institution for women in Nevada, MO; International Peace Scholarship; Educational Loan Fund; Program for Continuing Education; Scholar Award; Star Scholarship.
P.E.O. projects have helped thousands of women attain higher education.
My paternal grandmother was a P.E.O. My mother was a P.E.O. I was initiated into Chapter D, Maine, in 1985. I was a charter member of Chapter G, Maine; transferred to Chapter V, North Dakota; and since 1998 I've belonged to Chapter MY, Illinois (now HV-MY).
For more about P.E.O.: here
My friend (and P.E.O. sister) Fran has many posts about P.E.O. on her blog: here
And click the label on the sidebar for my own P.E.O. posts.