The Mutual Benefit Society insurance company operated in Baltimore from 1903 until 1977 when it merged with another insurance company. Located on 407-413 W. Franklin St., in buildings that still bear the name, it provided weekly sick benefits, death benefits, and health insurance primarily for African-Americans. The Mutual Benefit Society was founded by Harry O’Neill Wilson Sr., a successful African-American banker, real estate developer and philanthropist. He was widely considered to be one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Maryland during the early twentieth century.
The Mutual Benefit Society ledgers from the collection of the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture, includes three volumes from the company. The “Death Register” documents member deaths and payouts from June of 1938 through December of 1947. The “Life Register” records life insurance accounts from March 1918 thru September 1919 and “Daily Cash Record MBS Estate Lease Hold” records payments made from September 1940 thru December 1948.
All three ledgers are now available with transcriptions to follow. This collection is a valuable resource for genealogy and local history research.