Order of United Commercial Travelers of America
The United Commercial Travelers of America banded together as an order in 1890 in Columbus, Ohio, as a fraternal and insurance society for traveling salesmen. Members must be 18 - 55 for insurance benefits. There were 175,000 members in 1995.
The Order of United Commercial Travelers (OUCTA) is mainly a provider of insurance for salesmen, businessmen, and professional men. Membership is no longer limited to commercial travelers; the criteria for admission were relaxed in 1948.
The objectives of the OUCTA were originally sevenfold:
1. To unite fraternally all commercial travelers
2. To aid all members and their dependents, financially and materially
3. To establish death and disability funds
4. To obtain just and equitable favors for its members
5. To raise its members both morally and socially
6. To operate as a secret society
7. To establish a reserve fund for widows and orphans
Members pledge not merely to defend the character of woman, but never to violate the chastity of womanhood.
The original rituals were based on the “secrets” of commercial travelers, much as those of the freemasons were based upon the secrets of stone workers; but they are said to have been much modified through the years. The “fun” side of the order is represented by the Bagmen of Bagdad, and the Sunday nearest April 9 is observed as a memorial day for departed brethren.
Ritual for the OUCTA