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Exhibition Join In: Voluntary Assocations in America

Order of the Eastern Star. Transactions of the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, State of New York. New York: Masonic Publishing Company, 1871. General Collections, Library of Congress (030.00.00)
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Order of the Eastern Star. Transactions of the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, State of New York. New York: Masonic Publishing Company, 1871. General Collections, Library of Congress (030.00.00)
Enlarge

Order of the Eastern Star

The Order of the Eastern Star was founded as a women’s counterpart to Freemasonry with the earliest Grand Chapter established in Michigan in 1867. Robert Morris (1818–1888), an influential American Freemason, composed the organization’s lore in 1850, which used allegorical stories about female characters in the Bible to teach ethics. Membership was limited to those having family ties to a Master Mason and was closed to African Americans. This pamphlet records the proceedings of a convention of delegates to organize a Grand Chapter, held in New York City, on November 3, 1870. Their first annual meeting was in June of the following year. A parallel body for African Americans, the Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star, was founded in 1874. Today, Eastern Star has approximately one million members with thousands of chapters in twenty countries.