History of the
Order of the Eastern Star
of the Order of the Eastern Star is divided into
1. The First
Era extended from 1850 to 1866, under the leadership
of Dr. Rob Morris, Poet Laureate of Masonry.
2. The Second Era extended from 1866 to 1876, under
the leadership of Robert Macoy of New York.
3. The Third Era extends from 1876, when the General
Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, was
established to the present time.
eras, the first is perhaps the most important as it
prepared the way for the other two.
origin of the Order of the Eastern Star, like
Masonry, will always be shrouded in mystery. Many
researchers believe it had a French origin as early
as 1703. By some, this is claimed to be the first
inception of "Female Masonry" or "Androgynous
Degrees" -- (degrees for both men and women).
appeared at this time, to be a demand for "Side
Degrees" or Degrees conferred on ladies, and quite a
list sprang up -- "Heroines of Jericho", "Danger in
the Dark", "Tall Cedars of Lebanon", etc. These were
extensively used but soon fell into decay for lack
of lasting worth.
As to the
real origin of the Eastern Star degrees in its
Initiatory form, there is not the least shadow of
doubt that the honor belongs to Dr. Rob Morris and
its real origin comes under the First Era.
had traveled many years. He had written many books
on Masonry which are valued references in many
satisfied that all the good in Masonry should be
confined to men, Dr. Morris felt that Masonry should
be for the whole family. But by the laws of that
Ancient Order, women are not eligible for its
degrees. Knowing he could not change the Ancient
Landmarks of Masonry, Dr. Morris sought some method
by which women could share with the Masonic Brother
the same inspiration that "prompts man to noble
harbored these feelings for years, it wasn't until
1850, while confined to his home after an accident,
that Dr. Morris fully developed the Eastern Star
Degrees in their present initiatory form.
time, he carefully thought out the symbolism and
significance of the floor plan and the corps of
officers. He conferred the degrees upon his wife and
daughters, and some neighbors, presumably having an
idea to clothe the ladies with certain words or
signs whereby they might make themselves known to
and so-called mysteries of the Order were
communicated freely to all Master Masons and their
relatives. Dr. Morris and other prominent Master
Masons gave many lectures and conferred the degrees
on many ladies throughout the