Women

Temperance & Women's Suffrage

A2005_001_014_webFounded in 1852, with a Grand Lodge of North America organized in 1855, the Independent Order of Good Templars (IOGT) was a total abstinence temperance organization. From its inception, the group accepted men and women equally as members. Women frequently held elected office within the organization. The temperance movement in the United States in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - with much of its leadership and organization comprised of women - was also aligned with the women's suffrage movement, which led to the ratification of the 19th Amendment one hundred years ago this month.

Shown here is a recently digitized IOGT membership certificate from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection. Issued in 1867, the certificate states that Helen Peck was admitted as a member of Temp Star Lodge, No. 146, of Hyde Park, Pennsylvania in 1866. 

This certificate is part of the Women and Freemasonry & Fraternalism collection at the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives Digital Collections website.

There are now over 800 items in the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives Digital Collections website. Be sure to visit and check them all out!

Caption:

Membership certificate issued by Temp Star Lodge, No. 146, to Helen Peck, 1867. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, Massachusetts. FR 007.


The Order of the Eastern Star at the Chicago World’s Fair

On August 18th, 1920, the United States Congress ratified the 19th amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Throughout August, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this momentous occasion, Museum staff will highlight items from our collection related to women’s fraternal groups. Many of these groups offered not only a place of community for women but also a place to organize. A number of these groups were actively involved in the suffrage movement and had members who championed women's equality. We first feature this recently donated photograph from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.

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Order of Eastern Star Booth at Columbian Exposition, 1893. Lorraine J. Pitkin (1845-1922), Chicago, Illinois. Gift of Thomas Nelson, 2020.008. 

On May 1st, 1893, thousands of visitors streamed into the newly opened Columbian World Exposition at Jackson Park in Chicago, Illinois. This exposition, commonly referred to as the Chicago World’s Fair, celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ (1451-1506) arrival in the Americas in 1492. Organizers built over 200 new structures and pavilions that spanned over 600 acres in the South Side of Chicago, including a “Woman’s Building,” designed by architect Sophia Hayden (1868-1953). The structure, created to showcase women artisans and highlight women’s achievements, was managed by an all-female board. A number of female associations were featured in the building, including the Women's Christian Temperance Union, Order of the Eastern Star, and Ladies Catholic Benevolent Association. 

Board member Lorraine J. Pitkin (1845-1922), a women's activist and high-ranking member of the Order of the Eastern Star (OES), a Masonic women's auxiliary group, advocated for this Eastern Star exhibit (pictured at left) to be displayed in the Woman’s Building. The photograph shows various Eastern Star charts, signets, and banners from over nine of the organization's chapters in the Upper Midwest.

Pitkin also participated in the World’s Congress of Representative Women on behalf of OES. The Congress, a week-long conference managed and attended by women as part of the World's Fair, included a day of programming devoted to the Eastern Star on May 16, 1893. Sessions from that day included "The Value of the Eastern Star as a Factor in Giving Women a Knowledge of Legislative Matters"  and "Eastern Star and the Benefit it Has Been to Women as an Educational Organization." Pitkin later served on the Board of Directors of the World's Fair Fraternal Building Association held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1902. This photograph will be featured in our upcoming Flickr album about women and fraternalism. Stay tuned!

Have a favorite item related to women's suffrage or fraternalism at the World's Fair? Let us know in the comments below!

 

References

May Wright Sewall, ed., The World's Congress of Representative Women... (Chicago, IL: Rand McNally, 1894), 68-72.

Maude Howe Elliott, ed., Art And Handicraft in the Woman's Building of the World's Columbian Exposition Chicago, 1893 (Chicago and New York: Rand, McNally & Company, 1894), 180-185.

 

 


Rare Temperance Letter Provides Insights into the Lives of Women

Research into this unsigned letter attributed to Mary E. Elliot (1851-1942) in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library provides an intimate look into the life of this nineteenth-century reformer and sheds light into the personal motives that led many American women to champion the crusade against alcohol. In the letter, which may be read in full by clicking the image below, Elliot, the Grand Worthy Secretary for the Grand Lodge Massachusetts of the Independent Order of Good Templars, offers her support and praise to an anonymous female Temperance reformer whose relative suffered from alcoholism.

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Temperance letter attributed to Mary E. Elliot, August 3, 1876
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"I wish I could fly to you – if only for a moment—to tell you how deeply I sympathize with you and how I would gladly lighten your burden of sorrow if I could. It seems cruel that one who has saved so many as you have and caused so much happiness should be permitted to see one so dear to her suffer from temptation. If you succeed in this same period in saving him what a glorious triumph it will be, I have for him feelings of the tenderest sympathy and trust that the prospect now looks brighter, knowing as I do your fidelity and devotion I feel confident that the victory will be yours. You have my earnest prayers that this may be the result; that he who is so kind and generous and capable of accomplishing so much good in the world may yet conquer his appetite."

While more research needs to be conducted to verify the identity of Elliot’s female recipient, readers may conclude from Elliot’s letter that she was most likely a leader or potential leader in the Temperance movement, a charismatic speaker and advocate of the cause who inspired both men and women alike through her lectures throughout the state of Massachusetts.

In addition to being an advocate for Temperance reform, Mary E. Elliot was a passionate supporter of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War veterans association. In 1878, Elliot helped form an auxiliary relief corps to Willard C. Kinsley Post, No. 139, G.A.R., in Somerville, Massachusetts, and for fifty years, served as the Secretary for the Department of Massachusetts Women’s Relief Corps, the state’s auxiliary to the G.A.R.  Elliot also served as a regular contributor to the military department of the Boston Globe for nearly 20 years, where she wrote extensively upon the efforts of women to support the Relief Corps.

Do you have any information regarding the history of this document or the people behind its creation? Or would you like to learn more about the Temperance movement in America? Feel free to contact us or to comment about this topic in the comments section below.


Captions

Temperance letter attributed to Mary E. Elliot to unknown recipient, August 3, 1876. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 300.010.


References

Anonymous. 1901. Charles Darwin Elliot, Mary Elvira Elliot, from the Massachusetts Edition of the American Series of Popular Biographies. [Boston?]: [publisher not identified]. Accessed: 25 March 2019. https://archive.org/stream/charlesdarwinell00np/charlesdarwinell00np_djvu.txt

Cambridge Chronicle. 1879. “Temperance Reminiscences. Some Recollections of Twenty Years.” August 23, 1879. Accessed: 25 March 2019. https://cambridge.dlconsulting.com/?a=d&d=Chronicle18790823-01.2.2

Daily Boston Globe. 1942. “Mary E. Elliot is Dead at 91.” November 8, 1942.

Digital Public Library of America. n.d. “Women and the Temperance Movement.” Accessed 25 March 2019. https://dp.la/primary-source-sets/women-and-the-temperance-movement

Howe, Julia Ward, ed. “Mary Elvira Elliot” In Representative Women of New England, 305-307. Boston: New England Historical Publishing Company. Accessed: 25 March 2019. https://books.google.com/books/about/Representative_Women_of_New_England.html?id=BY0EAAAAYAAJ

IOGT International. n.d. “The History.” Accessed 25 March 2019. https://iogt.org/about-iogt/the-iogt-way/who-we-are/the-history/

Library of Congress. n.d. “The Grand Army of the Republic and Kindred Societies.” Accessed 25 March 2019. https://www.loc.gov/rr/main/gar/garintro.html

National Woman’s Relief Corps. n.d. “Women’s Relief Corps.” Accessed 25 March 2019. http://womansreliefcorps.org/

Woman's Relief Corps (U.S.), Department of Massachusetts. 1895. History of the Department of Massachusetts, Woman’s Relief Corps, Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic. Boston: E. B. Stillings & Co. Accessed 25 March 2019. https://archive.org/details/historyofdepartm01woma/page/n7


Freemasonry and the Growth of Nursing during the Civil War

Research into this recent acquisition to the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library highlights the Fraternity’s efforts to support the Union through the creation of the Masonic Mission, an agency created and “managed wholly by Masons.”

A2018_146_001DS001Circular letter from W. H. Hadley of the Masonic Mission to Mosaic Lodge, September 20, 1864.

 

As many readers may know, the support and care of sick and wounded soldiers throughout the war was carried out by private relief agencies and not by the federal government. The most well-known of these private agencies was the United States Sanitary Commission, which was created by an act of federal legislation in 1861 and was responsible for the set-up, staffing, and management of almost all Union hospitals during the war.

However, as Union losses mounted in the early years of the Civil War, the Sanitary Commission found it more and more difficult to drum up the necessary support to meet the demand for female nurses by late 1862. As William Hobart Hadley, the author of this circular letter, a Mason, and an agent for the Sanitary Commission in the New England states, reported, anti-Republican sentiment permeated the areas he had canvassed for help. The hearts of people throughout the North had hardened to the fate of the Union by April 1863.

During this same period, another member of the Masonic family tree, Sarah P. Edson, a volunteer nurse, and possibly a holder of all the Adoptive Degrees, sought to address the growing need for nurses on the front lines. After her first effort to create a training school for women nurses met with opposition from the Sanitary Commission and the Surgeon General of the United States in a Senate committee, Edson sought the help of New York’s Freemasons. In response to Edson’s pleas, the “Army Nurses’ Association was formed . . . and commenced work under the auspices of the Masons” in the winter of 1862.

By the time of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864), Union surgeons on the front lines requested that Edson, who had rushed to help at the front, send ten of her “nurses then receiving instruction as part of her class at Clinton Hall, New York.” The Masonic Mission was formed shortly after, and by the time of the Battle of the Crater (July 30, 1864), the agency worked in partnership with the Sanitary Commission, the Christian Commission, and other state and local agencies to help the Army create a “hospital tent city, which could care for twelve thousand patients.”

After a brief period of success, political clashes with the Sanitary Commission and the failure of its managers to pay its female nurses led to the demise of the Masonic Mission as a school for Army nurses. The Mission would refocus its efforts on aiding the North’s poor who were hit especially hard by the rising cost of coal for heating and flour. Sarah P. Edson’s ambitious plan to create an Army-based school for nursing would have to wait until Congress established the United States Army Nurse Corps in 1901, and the Navy followed suit in 1908.


Captions

Circular letter from W. H. Hadley of the Masonic Mission to Mosaic Lodge, September 20, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 260.006.


References

Attie, Jeanie. 1998. Patriotic Toil: Northern Women and the American Civil War. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Brockett, L. P. and Mary C. Vaughan. 1867. “Mrs. Sarah P. Edson.” In Woman’s Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience, 440-447. Philadelphia: Zeigler, McCurdy & Co. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=0aDhAAAAMAAJ

Carpenter, C. C. 1903. “William Hobart Hadley, 21, Waterford Vt.” In Biographical Catalogue of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Phillips Academy, Andover, 1778-1830, 143. Andover, Mass.: Andover Press. Accessed: 5 February 2019.https://books.google.com/books?id=HbNBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA143

Edson, Sarah P. 1865. “The Masonic Mission and the Five Points Mission.” New York Herald, January 9 1865. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1865-01-09/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1865&index=0&date2=1865

Frank, Linda C. 2012. “Our Famous Women, Part 1.” Auburnpub.com, March 11, 2012. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/our-famous-women-part-i/article_33d1b54c-6b05-11e1-a597-0019bb2963f4.html

Mitchell, E. L. “Masonic Charities.” Masonic Monthly 2, no. 3 (January): 118-120. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://archive.org/details/MasonicMonthlyVolII1864/page/n129

Morris, Rob. 1864. “The Masonic Mission.” The Voice of Masonry and Tidings from the Craft 2, no. 6 (June): 276-277. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=zd0cAQAAMAAJ&dq="masonic%20mission" 1864&pg=PA276   

Oates, Stephen B. 1994. Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War. New York: The Free Press.

Sarnecky, Mary T. 1999. A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Slotkin, Richard. 2009. No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864. New York: Random House.




Assistance from Those "Whose Benevolent Hearts Glows"

At the core of Scottish Rite Freemasonry is a vision to be a fraternity that fulfills its Masonic obligation to care for its members. In this week’s post, we highlight two documents from the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library that illustrate this vision in action, as well as the “benevolent hearts” of Freemasonry.

In the first document, an 1810 letter to Columbian Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts, Susanna Kelly, the widow of Joseph Kelley, a Freemason, petitions Columbian for relief as she and her children await safe passage to Suriname, the home of Kelly’s mother. Susanna’s letter highlights the difficulties that unmarried or widowed women faced in nineteenth-century America and provides insights into how the embargo and Non-Intercourse Act of 1809, two events that led up to the War of 1812, affected everyday Americans.

The second document, an 1810 report submitted by the committee to aid Susanna Kelly, outlines Columbian Lodge’s efforts to aid the Kelly family in conjunction with St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter and its High Priest, John B. Hammatt. Hammatt, who had been initiated at Columbian Lodge, personally paid for many of the family's expenses and advanced Mrs. Kelly $15.00, which may have been used to aid the family during the voyage.     

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Letter from Susanna Kelly to Columbian Lodge,
June 2, 1810

Boston 2nd June 1810
To the Right Worshipful Master, officers, and members of Columbian Lodge – Gentlemen

It is with extreme reluctance your petitioner again solicits your attention, a widow, with several helpless children, in a country without connections, without money, and without friend (excepting indeed the charitable and humane society of free masons, of which my deceased husband was a member) where can I turn for assistance, but to those, whose benevolent Hearts glow with pity and friendship for the unfortunate. Soon after the death of my husband I determined to return to my mother who resides at Suriname, and who, having heard of my loss, kindly invited me to her arms. But the Embargo and non intercourse laws, prevented my taking advantage of her protection. + I have been obliged tho very reluctantly to request assistance of your fraternity to save myself and children from perishing. Intercourse between this + other countries, having been restored, I hope soon to be able to take a passage to Suriname + am at present in cheap lodging at Charlestown waiting on opportunity for that purpose. But, Gentlemen, I am without resource to obtain a subsistence, a stranger, and a foreigner, who will employ me. I appeal therefore to that generosity, that charity and to that humanity which is so often exercised in the cause of distress – whatever you may be pleased to grant me will be received with the most heart felt gratitude by, gentlemen, your devoted servant--

Susanna Kelly

A1980_013_26DS1Committee Report to Columbian Lodge, 1810  

The committee chosen by Columbian Lodge to alleviate the distress of the widow + children of our late Br. Joseph Kelly by presenting them certain sums of money according to votes of said Lodge, + also to procure a passage for them to Suriname, with deference state, that in conjunction with a committee from St. Andrews Chapter, for that purpose, they have accomplished the above object, but not without expending more money than was appropriated by said Lodge for that purpose as will appear by the following statement,

Cash advanced Mrs. Kelly $25.00
Cash paid for bread 10.50
Cash paid Mrs. Johnson for Mrs. Kelly and children’s board 2.90
Cash paid for wine, eggs, butter [carg. hack hire?] 7.30
Cash paid for beef + bread 7.36
Cash paid for [meal?] and washing floor 1.75
Cash paid for [sundries?] by J. B. Hammatt 34.25
Cash paid for [sauce?] by J. B. Hammatt 9.00
Cash paid for [Truck.g?] by J. B. Hammatt 2.00
Cash advan[ce]d Ms. K. by J. B. Hammatt 15.00
_____
$115.06

That the committee from St. Andrew’s Chapter have paid fifty one dollars of the above sum. Thereby leaving $64.06 paid by your committee, + that they have received 25$ of the Sec.y, which deducted from the above sum leaves $39.06 for which no provision has been made.

Dan.l Baxter      Committee
Sam. Smith

Caption

Letter from Susanna Kelly to Columbian Lodge, June 2, 1810. Gift of Columbian Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts, courtesy of Mrs. Godfrey S. Tomkins, MA 002.

Committee Report to Columbian Lodge, 1810. Gift of Columbian Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts, courtesy of Mrs. Godfrey S. Tomkins, MA 002.

 


Who were the Independent Odd Ladies?

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Quilt, ca. 1915. Probably Massachusetts. Gift of Jean Burditt. 2016.066. Photograph by David Bohl.

Perhaps you have heard of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows or the Daughters of Rebekah, but are you familiar with the United Order of Independent Odd Ladies?

In 1845, a group of women in Boston, Massachusetts, founded the United Order of Independent Odd Ladies, a mutual aid and benefit society.  The women were interested in the laws and principles of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows but were unable to join as equals. They created their own order, six years before the Odd Fellows female auxiliary group, the Daughters of Rebekah, was formed. The Museum recently acquired a "redwork”  cotton album quilt embroidered with emblems and names related to the Independent Odd Ladies. "Redwork" describes a a quilting style with red embroidery on a white back ground, popular in the 1910s.The quilt includes over fifty lodge names from throughout the state of Massachusetts. Some of the symbols on the quilt squares, including a cross and crown, scales, a hand and heart, and sheaves of wheat, are similar to emblems in Freemasonry and the Odd Fellows. Several of the lodge names feature establishment dates and the years 1914 or 1915, helping to date the quilt to about 1915.

According to a 1922 Boston directory, the Independent Odd ladies held their annual and semi-annual meetings at the local Elks and Odd Fellows lodges in town. Officer titles and roles included Supreme Lady, Supreme Secretary, Lady Governess, and Vice Lady Governess. 

It is currently unclear when the order stopped meeting, when the lodges closed, or if the IOL spread beyond Massachusetts and New Hampshire.The IOL is mentioned in local newspaper articles and directories through the 1950s. Read our previous blog post about Independent Odd Ladies ritual guides and minute books in the Library & Archives collection.

Do you have any items or information related to this intriguing but relatively unknown group? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Quilt, ca. 1915. Probably Massachusetts.Gift of Jean Burditt. 2016.066. Photograph by David Bohl.

 


Women in the Great War: The Yeoman (F) of World War I

 

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Yeoman (F), 1918. New London, Connecticut. Gift of Kitty Stayskal, 2016.061.4.

Yeoman (F)—often referred to as “yeomanettes”—were enlisted women who served in the United States Navy during World War I. They served  as yeoman—enlisted personnel who fulfill administrative and clerical duties. They worked as radio operators, stenographers, draftsman, recruiting agents, messengers, or filled any necessary role in naval district operations. Vague language in the Naval Reserve Act of 1916 made no specific gender requirements for service. This opened the door to the over 11,000 women who enlisted as yeoman (F) from 1917 to 1918.

Thousands of men volunteered or were drafted into the Navy after the Act of 1916. Despite the growth in membership, the Navy remained shorthanded, and lacked personnel in critical clerical and administrative work.  Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) utilized the unclear language in the 1916 Naval Reserve Act to address the shortage. On March 19, 1917, the Bureau of Navigation sent letters to naval district commanders informing them they could recruit women into the Naval Coast Defense.

The yeomen (F) enlisted for the standard four years. The Navy added the suffix (F) for female after yeoman to make it easier to separate the women from the men. Most women were discharged by July 1919, as the Navy returned to peacetime activities. Yeoman (F) served for two to three years and many continued to work for the United States Military in a civilian capacity after the war. This 1918 photograph in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection shows a group of women identified as the yeoman (F) first class of New London, Connecticut.  

The women pictured wear the yeoman (F) uniform—a "Norfolk" style navy blue jacket with gold buttons, a navy colored A-line cloth skirt, and a felt navy blue wide-brimmed, flat-crowned hat. The Navy took several months to create and issue a formal uniform to the newly enlisted female yeoman. In intervening months, yeoman (F) uniforms included multicolored variations of either homemade or locally purchased items. In a June 19, 1917, New York Times article, detailed specifications for the new uniform going out for contract included the measurements, fabric, cut, and style of the new uniforms.  

A handwritten note on the back of the photograph includes a name and address,“Ruth A. Styffe Paull 25 Heroult Road, Worcester, Mass, 01606.”  According to naval records, Ruth A. Styffe Paull (1899-1988) enrolled in in September of 1918. In the 1930 U.S. census records for Worcester County, a Ruth Paull is listed as living at 25 Heroult road in Worcester, Massachusetts, confirming the address on the photograph. We are still trying to identify Styffe in the group photograph. 

Want to learn more about World War I related items in our collection? Visit the current exhibition “Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters,” on view through August 2018. 

References:

Nathaniel Patch, The Story of the Female Yeomen during the First World War, Prologue Magazine, National Archives and Records Administration, Fall 2006, Vol. 38, No. 3, www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/fall/yeoman-f.html, accessed July 2018.

Sophie Platt, Last surviving ‘yeomanette’ dies, The Flagship, April 5, 2007, www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/news/top_stories/last-surviving-yeomanette-dies/article_63657a3a-ccc2-5d11-8d64-89842ba4be34.html, accessed July 2018. 

 

Research into Socks Reveals the Role of Women Played in the Growth of American Freemasonry

Before researching these items from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, an invitation for the Westbrook Masonic (Maine) Fair and pair of colorful, miniature socks, I thought they were created by Arthur W. Greely, Treasurer of Esoteric Lodge, No. 159, whose name is printed on the outside of the envelope. However, as I continued my research and learned more about the fundraising technique of sock socials, I became convinced that the creator of the invitation and socks was Alice D. Greely, Arthur’s wife.

S-l1600Masonic Fund Raising Letter and Socks, 1904.
 
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Masonic Fund Raising Poem
January 1904.

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Envelope Addressed to Mrs. B. F. Joy
February 25, 1904.

 

Sock socials were a fundraising technique practiced by many women’s organizations. R. E. Smith, author of The Ladies’ Aid Manual: A Practical Work for Ladies’ Aid Societies writes that women would “meet and plan to make any desired number of miniature socks,” which would be sent along with a printed invitation similar to the invitation presented below.

 Sock Social Invitation

This little sock we give to you
Is not for you to wear;
Please multiply your size by two
And place inside with care
In silver or in cents,
Twice the number that you wear
(We hope it is immense.)
So if you wear a number ten,
You owe us twenty, see?
Which dropped in the little sock
will fill our hearts with glee.
So don’t forget the place and date,
We’ll answer when you knock,
And welcome you with open arms--
But don’t forget your sock.

In brief, each person invited to a sock social received a sock, and each sock served as that person’s invitation to the social. The person “had to have the sock to get in at the social,” the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune reported, and in “the sock, he or she would put money."

Considering this information, I believe it is more likely that Alice D. Greely produced the invitation, as well as the two miniature socks. Alice was the wife of a Mason, as was letter's recipient Edna Joy, and both women would have been eligible for Eastern Star membership. That said, my research into both women’s possible Eastern Star ties proved inconclusive. All that we know for certain is that Edna Joy and her husband, Benjamin F. Joy, a prominent local photographer, were invited to the Westbrook Masonic Fair, which was held for the week of February 15, 1904, and run by the lodge, chapter, council and Eastern Star. According to the American Tyler, the proceeds from this Masonic fair were to be used to build a “new Masonic quarters” in Westbrook.




Caption
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Fund Raising Letter from Mrs. Arthur W. Greely to Mrs. B. F. Fox, February 25, 1904. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 260.004.

References

Beckford, William Hale, and George W. Richardson. Leading Business Men of Bangor, Rockland and Vicinity. Boston: Mercantile Publishing Company, 1888. Accessed: 25 January 2017. https://archive.org/details/leadingbusinessm00beck_0

GenDisasters.com. “Ellsworth, ME Masonic Block Fire, Jan 1907.” Accessed: 25 January 2017. http://www.gendisasters.com/georgia/14194/ellsworth-me-masonic-block-fire-jan-1907

Grand Lodge of Maine. Membership Card Records: Card Listing, 1820-1995. Accessed: 25 January 2017. http://www.mainemason.org/genealogy/index.asp

Grand Lodge of Maine (1907). Twenty-first District. In Proceedings of the Grand Lodge, 1907, (Vol. 21, pp. 278 – 281). Portland, Maine: Stephen Berry.

Grand Lodge of Maine (1909). Annual Address: Consolidation of Lodges. In Proceedings of the Grand Lodge, 1908 - 1909, (Vol. 22, pp. 21). Portland, Maine: Stephen Berry.

“Here and There.” American Tyler 18, 14 (1904): 314-319. Accessed: 25 January 2017. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000056270    

“Here and There.” American Tyler 18, 17 (1904): 410-415. Accessed: 25 January 2017. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000056270

“Masonic Buildings.” American Tyler 20, 12 (1905): 262. Accessed: 25 January 2017. https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000056270

Pollard, Ralph J. Freemasonry in Maine, 1762-1945. Portland, Maine: Tucker Printing Company, (no date). Accessed: 25 January 2017. http://www.mainemasonrytoday.com/history/Books/Pollard/index.htm

“Skating Parties, Bobsledding, Dancing Were Popular Then.” Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, February 2, 1950. Accessed: 31 January 2017. https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/17760368/

Smith, R. E. “Fancy Sock Social and Entertainment.” In Ladies’ Aid Manual: A Practical Work for Ladies’ Aid Societies, 48. New York: Eaton & Mains, 1911. Accessed: 25 January 2017.
https://books.google.com/books?id=8i8bAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA48&ots=TXjyr7GfzI&dq=%22sock%20social%22&pg=PA48#v=onepage&q=%22sock%20social%22&f=false


The International Order of the Rainbow

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The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently acquired some items related to the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a group commonly known as the Rainbow Girls. The organization, founded in 1922 by Reverend W. Mark Sexson (1877-1953), was created for young women ages 11 to 20, whose fathers or family members were members of Masonic organizations. The group is now open to any girl interested in joining and offers a “Pledge” group for younger girls aged 8-10. The Rainbow Girls Headquarters have been located in McAlister, Oklahoma since 1951 and according to the Rainbow Girls organization, there are presently more than 850 assemblies that meet regularly around the world.

The Rainbow Girls organization was one of many Masonic-sponsored youth groups organized in the early 1920s to help teenage boys and girls develop “good citizenship and sound character.” Like Freemasons, the groups incorporated elements of ritual into their meetings and ceremonies. In 1922, Sexson, a 33°Mason, developed the Rainbow Girls ritual which focused on a series of seven lessons and “stations” representing the seven colors of the rainbow.

The most common symbols associated with the Rainbow Girls are a pot of gold, a rainbow, and and two hands clasped together with the initials “BFCL” (for bible, flag, constitution, and lambskin).  Lambskin is a reference to the lambskin aprons worn by Freemasons.

These attendance and officer pins are two examples of the paraphernalia in Rainbow Girl ceremony, meetings, and ritual. The 1950 photograph above shows a group of officers from Lexington Assembly #37 at Simon W. Robinson Masonic Lodge in Lexington, Massachusetts.

2016_040_11DI6IMG_1490 copyWe are actively collecting Rainbow Girls items. Do you or any family members have Rainbow Girls items, photographs, or ephemera? We would love to hear from you! Please contact Ymelda Rivera Laxton, Assistant Curator at ylaxton[@]srmml.org.

Captions:

Rainbow Girls attendance pin, 1980-1985, unidentified maker, United States, Gift of Beth McSweeney, 2016.040.11.

Rainbow Girls Worthy Advisor pin,1983, unidentified maker, United States, Gift of Beth McSweeney, 2016.040.9

Reference:

Margaret Kendrick, Our place in time: 75 years of history: International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, McAlester, Oklahoma: International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, 1998.

 

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