Although the history of this staff is lost, it is tempting to speculate that it was used in a “nest” of the fraternal group known as the Order of Owls. The order was formed in South Bend, Indiana, in 1904, and sought to help its members in business and with employment, to provide assistance to the widows and orphans of members, and to offer mutual fellowship. By the early 1920s, the group numbered more than 600,000 members.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Fraternal Owl Staff," exhibition label for Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2016.