Order of Amaranth

Who Wore the Crown? Collecting Order of the Amaranth Materials

2013_049_22aDP1DBTo properly manage the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library’s collection, the curatorial staff periodically reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the collection so that, as we evaluate new gifts and purchases, we can fill gaps and avoid duplications.  One of the gaps that we are seeking to fill is material (2-d, 3-d, records and papers) associated with fraternal groups for women and children.  So, when a donor generously offered several gifts of Order of the Amaranth material over the past few years, we jumped at the opportunity (see these other posts about the organization).

The Order of the Amaranth, like Order of the Eastern Star, with which it was initially affiliated, is open to the female relatives of Master Masons, and to Master Masons themselves.  In the United States in 1873, Robert Macoy (1816-1895), who was active in Order of the Eastern Star, formed the “Rite of Adoption,” which included an Order of the Amaranth degree.  From 1873 to 1921, all members of Amaranth Courts (analogous to Eastern Star Chapters), had to join Order of the Eastern Star first.  In 1921, the two groups split, becoming the separate organizations that they remain today. 2013_049_26aDP1DB

Among the large group of Amaranth items now in our collection, ranging from props that were used in rituals to records for several courts, and souvenirs from Amaranth events to regalia, are the two crowns shown here.  Both were worn by Elsie Haynes (1915-2006) when she was active in Amaranth activities in Connecticut.  Haynes probably wore the crown in the top photo when she was Royal Matron of Charity Court No. 17, which met in Windsor, Connecticut, and later in Suffield, Connecticut.  Haynes used the crown in the lower photo when she served as Supreme Royal Matron, head of the national organization, in 1977 and 1978.

We are very pleased to have Order of the Amaranth represented in our collection.  If you have an Amaranth memory to share or a question to ask, please leave us a comment!

Order of the Amaranth Crowns, 1960-1970 (top), ca. 1977 (bottom), Unidentified makers, United States, gift of Barbara F. Lott, 2013.049.22a and .26a.  Photographs by David Bohl.



Dorothy Cleveland Brown: Inside Order of Amaranth

A2009_37_portrait_DS_web_versionRecently, the Library and Archives acquired the papers of Dorothy Cleveland Brown (MA 053), which document her participation in Order of Amaranth.  Dorothy Cleveland Brown (1907-2000) rose through the ranks of Order of Amaranth from the 1950s through the 1970s.  As seen through the papers, this fraternal organization was central to her life.

Dorothy, shown here ca. 1950, lived in Olean, New York with her husband Theron C. Cleveland until 1967 when he died.  In 1970, she married Roy Brown.  Dorothy was a member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church where she served on the Altar Guild.  She also enjoyed baking and bird watching.  She was a former member of Order of Eastern Star, but chose Order of Amaranth for most her activites. (For an explanation on the relationship between OES and Amaranth, check out our earlier post on the topic.)

She participated in her local court, Olean Court, No. 19.  The photograph below is from the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of Olean Court, held in 1955.  Dorothy (a.k.a. Dolly) is in the center, wearing a white dress and long white gloves.  The group stands below the symbol for the Order of Amaranth, the crown and sword with amaranthus leaves surrounding it.  As taught to Order of Amaranth members, the amaranthus symbolizes the fraternal bond of friendship and stands for distinction and honor.

During the same year as the Olean Court anniversary, 1955, Dolly was elected to serve as Grand Associate Conductress (Matron) of New York, Order of the Amaranth. During 1958-1959, she served as Grand Royal Matron of New York.  After holding this post, Dolly continued to participate in Amaranth at the state level, performing much committee work.  Her next role was that of Chairman of the Rules and Regulations Committee, Grand Court of New York in the 1960s.  The Grand Court of the Amaranth in New York still exists today.

As her papers show, Dolly reached the highest office in Order of Amaranth, that of Supreme Royal Matron for the United States, an office that she held during 1971-1972.  While she served as Supreme Royal Matron, Dolly did quite a bit of traveling in this capacity and presided over various conventions.  


Image Captions

Portrait of Dorothy Cleveland Brown, ca. 1950, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2009/37. Gift of Craig Klose.

Order of Amaranth Members, 1955, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2009/37. Gift of Craig Klose.


Order of the Eastern Star and Order of Amaranth: What is their relationship?

A95_015_easternstar2_scan_web The Order of Amaranth and Order of the Eastern Star have an intertwined history.  Early twentieth-century minute books of Order of Amaranth, donated by Barbara Lott in 2007, illuminate this relationship.

The postcard (MM 015) on the left depicts the symbol for the Order of Eastern Star, a symbol that is used in ritual as a teaching tool.  The five-pointed star represents Biblical characters.  Adah is the first point and is representative of Jephthah's daughter.  Adah's point is blue.  Ruth, who was a widow and gleaned the fields of Boaz is the secont point.  Ruth's point is yellow.  Esther, the wife, is the third point and was Ahasuerus' queen.  Her color is white.  Martha, the sister is the fourth point and represents the sister of Lazarus.  Her color is dark green.  Electa, the mother, is the fifth point on the star.  Though Electa does not appear in the Bible, her story is based on the Book of St. John.  Her color is red.  Each point to the star has emblems associated with it, which relate to the Biblical stories.

The Order of Amaranth was first organized in 1873 in New York, New York.  It was intended to be a higher degree in the Order of the Eastern Star.  Amaranth was to be a third degree, and Eastern Star and Queen of the South were to be the first and second degrees.  However, Order of the Eastern Star rejected this plan (conceived by James B. Taylor), and the Order of Amaranth became an independent order in 1895 in Brooklyn, New York.

At first, Amaranth members had to be members of Eastern Star. In 1904, in chartering Jessemine Court, No. 6 of New London, Connecticut, the minute book reads, "The undersigned, either the wives, widows, mothers, sisters, or daughters of Master Masons or affiliation with Master Masons in good standing and in possession of the degree of the Eastern Star..." This requirement that Amaranth members first be Eastern Star members continued from 1873 until 1921.

In 1921, by mutual agreement, the requirement that Amaranth members belong to the Eastern Star ceased.  They are now completely separate organizations.  Early evidence of this can be found in the minutes of 1931, in chartering the Charity Court No. 17 of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, in which the Grand Royal Patron, Fred C. Tilden, remarked that "the Order of the Amaranth was no part of the Eastern Star though working in Harmony with that Order."                         

Macoystheamaranth_scan_webThe illustration of the star seen here is the frontispiece from Robert Macoy's The Amaranth (Independent): A Royal and Exalted Degree in the Rite of Adoption with Appropriate Ceremonies [Call number: 81 .A488 M171 1897]. The illustration depicts the badge for Order of Amaranth members.  The symbol is similar to the OES symbol seen above, but has an Amaranthine wreath at the center of the star. A wreath made of amaranth was used to crown a new candidate when the Amaranth degree was conferred on a new candidate. The amaranth was chosen for its symbolic nature - the Greek root of the word means "never-fading."

Macoy, Robert. The Amaranth (Independent): A Royal and Exalted Degree in the Rite of Adoption with Appropriate Ceremonies. New York: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., 1897.
Call number: 81 .A488 M171 1897