Inventory of the Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star, 1921 - 2000

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: The membership of the Order of the Eastern Star (O.E.S.) Prince Hall affiliated chapters are comprised of female relatives of men who are in the Prince Hall Masonry. In 1875, the first subordinate chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star Prince Hall affliated chapter was created by Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (A.F & A.M.), Brother Thornton A. Jackson in Washington, D.C. The Charleston chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star began circa 1912 and are known as Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star. Some of the O.E.S. activities include disbursing burial funds and endowments to member's family upon the death of a sister.
The Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star collection contains the administrative records, financial records, material relating to the rituals and ceremonies performed by the Order of the Eastern Star, and records relating Prince Hall Lodge No. 46, which is the Charleston Lodge. Topics of discussion in the minutes include recaps of O.E.S. conventions, notes about dues collected, attendance records, motions made, correspondence between the Charleston chapter and the Grand Chapter, membership petitions and potential members doctor's notes. Financial records detail the incomes and expenditures of the organization; and the charities they donated to. The collection also contains lyrics to Eastern Star songs, matron sashes, and burial instruction; as well as the meeting minutes, annual reports, and convention proceedings of the Prince Hall Lodge No. 46.
Title: Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star, 1921 - 2000
Creator: Order of the Eastern Star.
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1076
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 1.6 linear feet
(4 archival boxes)

Historical Note

The membership of the Order of the Eastern Star Prince Hall affiliated chapters are comprised of female relatives of men who are in the Prince Hall Masonry. There is another Order of the Eastern Star for Caucasian women, but they link their founding to Robert Morris, a 19th century lawyer from Boston, Massachusetts. The Prince Hall Masons are believed to have been founded by Prince Hall and other African-American men in Boston, Massachusetts in 1787. In 1784, African Lodge #459 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the first Lodge to be recognized by the Grand Lodge of England. The Prince Hall Masonry was created because African-American men were barred from becoming members in Freemasonry, which was composed of Caucasian men. On September 6, 1901, a Lodge was organized in Charleston, South Carolina. The original officers of Prince Hall Masons Lodge No. 46 were Wm. Singleton, W.M; M.S. Frasier, S.W.; J.B. Moultrie, J.W; E.G. Logan, Secretary; F.R. Blanchard, Treasurer; Philip Cherry, Tiler; E.R. Hayne, S.D; and D.J. Mitchell, J.D.

According to Mrs. S. Joe Brown, who published The History of the Order of the Eastern Star Among Colored People in 1925, the "Order [of the Eastern Star] was originated by Master Masons for the protection of their wives, widows, mothers, sisters and daughters and hence cannot exist without the co-operatnon (sp) of the members."

In 1875, the first subordinate chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star African American chapter was created by A.F & A.M., Bro. Thornton A. Jackson in Washington, D.C. Between 1875 and 1876 he established nine chapters in total in the following cities: Alexandria, VA; Baltimore, MD; and Philadelphia, PA. In 1880, in Washington, North Carolina, Bishop J.W. Hood, "organized the first Negro Grand Chapter of O.E.S." The Charleston chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star began circa 1912 and are known as Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star. Other O.E.S. chapters in the area were in St. Andrews Parish and in Columbia. According to O.E.S. No. 41 By-Laws the Charleston chapter met the third Tuesday of each month to conduct business. The chapter abides by the Constitution of the Grand Chapter and adminstrative responsibilities was divided into committees. The following committees were created: the sick committee, which was charged with contacting the sick members of the organization and providing assistance as long as necessary; the investigating committee, which was responsible for establishing the good standing of potential members; and the auditing committee, which was in charge of examining the secretary's and treasurer's books annually. Noted members of the O.E.S. Charleston chapter include Mamie Garvin Fields, Wilhelmina Lecque, Lady Loraine Moultrie, Marie Hutchinson (was a charter member and matron), and Rebecca Garvin.

During the period that the Order of the Eastern Star was created African-American women were taking on leadership roles and organizing themselves in addition to being a part of inter-gender organizations. Thus, African-American women were seeking new roles and were redefining what an African-American woman was supposed to do; as a result, their work respresented a new trajectory of African-American political and social movement.

Some of the benefits of being a O.E.S. star member are obtaining relief in times of need (ex. death and sickness); helping future generations; and connecting with likeminded women. The women that are members of the Order are committed to uplift their community by providing assisstance to those that need it the most.

The symbol of the Order is the pentagram (a.k.a. star pentagon) and the five points symbolizes the tenets of the Order, which is based upon the women in the Bible. Adah is blue and stands for fidelity; Ruth is yellow and stands for constancy; Esther is white and represents loyalty; Martha is green for faith; and Electra is red for love.


Bibliography

Sources consulted by Aaisha Haykal

Brown, Joe S. The History of the Order of the Eastern Star Among Colored People. Des Moines, 1925. (reprint, New York: G.K. Hall & Co., 1997.)

Carlton-LaNey, Iris B. "African American Club Women's Resistance to Oppressive Public Policy in the Early 20th Century."http://www.sagepub.com/upm-data/37825_Chapter2.pdf

Coleman, Raymond T. Prince Hall History Education Class. http://www.princehall.org/History/Ray%20Colemans%20History.pdf

Coleman, Raymond T. and Danna S. McAllister. Some Important Facts About the History of Prince Hall Grand Lodge Massachusetts for the Introductory Study on Prince Hall and its History for Lodges of Instructionhttp://www.scribd.com/doc/2361490/Some-Important-Facts-About-the-History-of-Prince-Hall-Grand-Lodge-Massachusetts

Jones, Martha S. "'Make Us a Power': African American Methodists Debate the 'Woman Question,' 1870-1900." In Women and Relgion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power, and Performance, edited by R. Marie Griffth and Barbara Dianne Savage,128-154. Baltimare: John Hopkins University Press, 2006. http://www.scribd.com/doc/17831077/Women-and-Religion-in-the-African-Diaspora

Collection Overview

This collection contains the administrative records, financial records, material relating to the rituals and ceremonies performed by the Order of the Eastern Star, and records in relation to their affliated lodge, Prince Hall Lodge No. 46.

The collection is divided into four series:

1. Administrative Records includes organizational bylaws, 1936-1946 meeting minutes, committee reports, membership petitions, women's' doctor's notes, O.E.S. proceedings for the following years, 1935, 1956, 1974, and 1977, and letters regarding death claims paid and funeral programs for deceased sisters. Topics covered within meeting minutes include discussion of dues collected, attendance records, motions made, and reports back from the women who attended the conventions. There is a subseries that contains administrative correspondence, which consists of letters between the chapter and the Grand Chapter regarding membership and dues, and letters from the district about meeting times and locations. The subseries also contains, financial correspondence in regards to changing membership dues and death claim payouts, records denoting their charity donations, and their business with Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply. Other records in the subseries comprises of invitations and cards; and blank stationary, envelopes, and meeting reminders.

2. Financial Records includes financial reports, 1949-1978 bank statements from the South Carolina National Bank, cancelled checks, check ledgers, receipts, business letters, and individual members' financial books. The financial books are of the following members: Mrs. Virginia Lemon, Miss. Celia Robinson, Mrs. Dottie Williams, Mrs. Rosalee Williams, Sis. Rebecca Garvin, and Sis. Mamie Fields.

3. O.E.S. Rituals and Ceremonies include the lyrics to the Eastern Star Songs, such as "We Meet We Part;"   "The Light;"  and "On Being a Star." Other records in the series include printed syllabus of Amaranth and the revised version of the Eastern Star syllabus, burial instruction information, and five sashes to represent each point on the star.

4. Prince Hall, Lodge No. 46 Records includes their 1924-1934 meeting minutes, which records meeting attendance, motions made, and election results; 1935 and 1936 annual reports; programs from the 1970 and 1979 Grand Lodge Communications; raffle ticket books; and 1954-1957 Temple Association reports, which documents their expenditures and revenues.

Collection Arrangement

1. Adminstrative Records, 1929-1977, and undated

2. Financial Records, 1921-1978, and undated

3. O.E.S. Rituals and Ceremonies, undated

4. Prince Hall, Lodge No. 46 Records, 1924-1979, 2000, and undated



Subject Headings

  • African American women--South Carolina--Societies and clubs--History.
  • African American women--South Carolina--Charleston--Societies and clubs.
  • African American fraternal organizations.
  • African American freemasonry.
  • Women and freemasonry--United States.
  • Order of the Eastern Star. Grand Chapter of South Carolina.
  • Order of the Eastern Star.


Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Administrative Records , 1929-1977.

Topics covered within meeting minutes include discussion of dues collected, attendance records, motions made, and reports back from the women who attended the conventions. The subseries contains administrative correspondence, which consisting of letters between the chapter and the Grand Chapter regarding membership and dues, and letters from the district about meeting times and locations.
Box 1   Folder 1
Printed By-Laws, nd.
The folder contains the By-Laws of Prince Hall Chapter No. 41 and of Daughters of St. Andrews Chapter O.E.S. Prince Hall Affliation No. 283
Box 1   Folder 2
Committee Lists and Member Names, 1951, 1958, and undated
Box 1   Folder 3
Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1929-1935
Box 1   Folder 4
Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1936-1939
Box 1   Folder 5
Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1941-1943
Box 1   Folder 6
Monthly Meeting Minutes, 1945-1946, and undated
Box 1   Folder 7
Unbound Meeting Minutes, undated
Box 1   Folder 8
Reports, 1938-1975
Includes the reports from the various committees within the organization, auditing committee (1930-1973); commmittee on Birthday-Party Preparations (1946-1952, and undated); colelation committee (1948-1952); committee on relief (1949-1957, 1973); committee on welfare (1950); social committee (1950-1957); committee of the Temple Association (1954); planning committee (1975); program committee (undated); and various reports (1951-1956, and undated)
Box 1   Folder 9
Annual Reports from Chapter 41 O.E.S., 1937-1956, and undated
Box 1   Folder 10
Petition for Membership Forms, 1934-1954
Box 1   Folder 11
Petition for Membership Forms, 1955-1957, 1976, and undated
Box 1   Folder 12
Potential Member's Doctor's Notes, 1948-1956, 1974-1977, and undated
Box 2   Folder 13
Death Claims and Funeral Programs,1941-1972, and undated
Box 2   Folder 14
Printed Programs, 1935, 1956, 1973, 1974, 1977

1.1. Correspondence, 1934-1976.

Box 2   Folder 15
District Meeting Letters, 1946-1976
Box 2   Folder 16
Grand Chapter Correspondence, 1934-1956, and undated
Box 2   Folder 17
Financial Correspondence: General, 1935-1976
Box 2   Folder 18
Financial Correspondence: Macoy Publishing,1938-1956, and undated
Box 2   Folder 19
General Correspondence, 1957, 1974, and undated
Contains member correspondence regarding possible burial services and nominations for committees; and blank meeting reminder cards, stationary, and envelopes
Box 2   Folder 20
Cards and Invitations

2. Financial Records, 1921-1978.

Includes financial reports, 1949-1978 bank statements from the South Carolina National Bank, cancelled checks, check ledgers, receipts, business letters, and individual members' financial books.

Arranged by subject and then chronologically.

Box 2   Folder 21
Financial Reports, 1951-1958, and undated
Box 2   Folder 22
Bank Statements, 1949-1956
Box 2   Folder 23
Bank Statements, 1964
Box 2   Folder 24
Bank Statements, 1965
Box 2   Folder 25
Bank Statements, 1966
Box 2   Folder 26
Bank Statements, 1968-1969
Box 2   Folder 27
Bank Statements, 1970
Box 2   Folder 28
Bank Statements, 1971
Box 3   Folder 29
Bank Statements, 1972
Box 3   Folder 30
Bank Statements, 1973-1974
Box 3   Folder 31
Bank Statements, 1975
Box 3   Folder 32
Bank Statements, 1976
Box 3   Folder 33
Bank Statements, 1977-1978
Box 3   Folder 34
Cancelled Checks and Ledger, 1949-1951
Box 3   Folder 35
Cancelled Checks, 1952-1954 and Check Ledgers, 1951-1957
Box 3   Folder 36
Checks, 1955-1957, 1966, and undated
Box 4   Folder 37
Check Stubs, 1969 and Check Ledger, 1975-1976
Box 4   Folder 38
Loose Receipts, 1937-1956 and Receipt Book, 1945-1947
Box 4   Folder 39
Business Letters and Receipts, 1947-1975, and undated
Box 4   Folder 40
Individual Members' Financial Books, 1921-1961
The financial books are of the following members: Mrs. Virginia Lemon, Miss. Celia Robinson, Mrs. Dottie Williams, Mrs. Rosalee Williams, Sis. Rebecca Garvin, and Sis. Mamie Fields.

3. O.E.S. Rituals and Ceremonies, undated.

Box 4   Folder 41
Eastern Star Songs
Box 4   Folder 42
Order of the Eastern Star Syllabus
Box 4   Folder 43
Burial Instruction and Sashes

4. Prince Hall Lodge 46 Records, 1924-1979, 2000, and undated.

Each Order of the Eastern Star was affliated with a Prince Hall Lodge and the Charleston chapter of the Order was affliated with Lodge No. 46. These records document some of the functions and activities of the Lodge.
Box 4   Folder 44
Meeting Minutes, 1924-1934
Box 4   Folder 45
Annual Report for Lodge 46, 1935-1936
Box 4   Folder 46
Temple Association Reports, 1954-1957
Box 4   Folder 47
Printed Programs for Grand Lodge 103rd and 111th Communication, 1970 and 1979
Box 4   Folder 48
Raffle Books, 1967, 2000
Box 4   Folder 49
Cloth Bookmark
A bookmark of unknown owner, includes the scripture "Thus He Shewed Me" from Amos chapters 7-8. The verse was used by the Masons to signify uprightness of conduct throughout one's life


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Prince Hall Chapter No. 41, Order of the Eastern Star, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Aaisha Haykal, 11, 2011

Encoded by Aaisha Haykal, 11, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

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