Unbound. Large format gelatin silver image. Image size is approximately 17" x 12½" mounted on 20" x 16" cardstock. Image is fine but three cracks on the right-hand side of the mount with mends on the verso, not affecting the image. Circa 1905 image of 11 African-Americans with 10 of the women uniformly dressed in white (nine of them with dark colored fezzes and one with a white fez) and one tuxedoed man, holding an elaborate banner that reads: "Eureka Grand Chapter O.E.S. Contest Banner for Most Perfect Work Year."
The Order of the Eastern Star is an appendage to Freemasonry, originally founded for women but which was quickly integrated with men. This particular group was affiliated with the Prince Hall Freemasons, the African-American version of Freemasonry founded when Prince Hall, a free black man, and 15 other blacks were denied induction into the all-white Boston Lodge before the Revolutionary War. Hall and his fellows received a charter from an English Lodge and became the African Lodge No. 1. Although the Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star was open to women of any race, it had overwhelmingly African-American membership. In 1895, the first several Lodges combined to become the Eureka Grand Chapter of the jurisdiction of New York. This is a rare and early image of the group.