The National Organization
It was the Boer War (1899-1901) that gave impetus to the national organization of IODE. Founded in 1900 by Margaret Polson Murray of Montreal, its purpose was originally patriotic - to support Canadian soldiers leaving to fight in South Africa. The first chapter was formed in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The charter members communicated with the mayors of cities across Canada, urging them to bring together the women of their communities to form local (or "Primary") chapters of IODE. They also worked, in Montreal, to draft the constitution by which the organization is still governed. They chose a name - originally the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, which was formally changed to "IODE" in the 1970s, shortly after the organization incorporated under the Canada Corporations Act as a non-share capital corporation (1968). Margaret Polson Murray was the founder, but the first National President was Mrs. Edith Boulton Nordheimer. She assumed office in 1901, when Mrs. Murray resigned due to ill health. As time passed, the aims of the organization became more broadly service-oriented. Today, the organization contributes well over $2 million annually to charitable causes.