The history of the Order of the Eastern Star is
divided into three Eras:
1. The First Era extended from 1850 to
1866, under the leadership of Dr. Rob Morris, Poet Laureate of
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.
Of these eras, the first is perhaps the most
important as it prepared the way for the other two.
The real 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
There 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.
Dr. Morris had traveled many years. He had
written many books on Masonry which are valued references in
many Masonic Libraries.
Never quite 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 deeds."
Although he 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.
During this 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 Master Masons.
These signs 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 nation.
Information credited from