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2020-01-16 10:49:51
[Women's Social History] [Women and Race]
Chapter Record and Minutes of the Women of the Order of the Eastern Star
Dora, Alabama: 1907-1909. Chapter record ledger measuring 4.5 x 13.5" and bound in quarter leather over cloth. Spine largely perished and joints broken but cords holding. Text block tight. Comprised of 14 densely handwritten pages compiled by the Dora, Alabama chapter of the Women of the Order of the Eastern Star, an appendant to the Masons. While documents from women's groups in the South are scarce, this piece is even more unique for the racial makeup of its membership: for two of the Sisters, Mattie Barron and Angie Freeman, were both black. A unique opportunity to examine women's organizations pre-suffrage, and to study how women came together across racial boundaries to work together following the Civil War. Originating in Mississippi in 1850, the Order of the Eastern Star was developed to allow the wives, widows, daughters, and sisters of Masons an opportunity to engage with the Masonic community. By the time of this ledger, the Order had been in existence for over half a century, and the majority of its members had been born in the 1880s -- after the Civil War and Reconstruction had reshaped the South. Nationally, the women's movement was making a renewed push for suffrage; and the National Women's Suffrage Association had split in two along the question of racial inclusivity. As this ledger shows, however, regional approaches to race in women's groups may have been more inclusive. Community members, many of them wives of the region's coal miners, were invested in supporting each other in the face of financial hardship and loss. And the bulk of this organization's ef … [Click Below for Full Description]
Bookseller: Whitmore Rare Books [USA]

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