Lady of a Noble Fez
The Shriners have several organizations specifically for the spouses of members – the Ladies of the Oriental Shrine (abbreviated as LOSNA), the Shrine Guilds, and the Daughters of the Nile. However, some Shrines never bought into these groups but still wanted a way for their member’s lady to join in on the fez wearing fun. Hence, the creation of this fez.
It is white with a very light red tassel (almost pink, whether by design or from age.) It is embroidered with the moniker “Lady of a Noble” in red thread. No standard has been found for the wearing or distribution of these fezzes.
Ladies of the Oriental Shrine of North America (LOSNA)
The Ladies’ Oriental Shrine of North America (LOSNA) was founded in Wheeling, West Virginia in 1903, when the Ladies of Osiris Shriners were invited to attend the social events and festivities surrounding Osiris’ Spring Ceremonial. When the Shriners departed for their Initiation Ceremony, the Ladies were having so much fun, they didn’t want to stop. They surveyed the McClure Hotel and in a joyous mood, began to parade through the halls. They eventually arrived at one of the hotel’s conference rooms. The doors were closed, a guard was set, and within that room, with dignity and sincerity, and without a ritual or prepared paraphernalia, the first session of the Ladies’ Oriental Shrine of North America was held and Isis Court No. 1 came into being. They would henceforth conduct their own affairs, even while continuing to support the Nobles with their Shrine activities. The LOSNA is not an auxiliary of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. They are a separate and distinct Order.
This fez comes from Sar-I Court No. 79 located in Sarasota, Florida, and is a good example of a basic members for the LOSNA. This piece combines embroidery and patches with rhinestones, which is a fairly modern innovation. Special note should also be made of the tassel – it’s the longest one in the entire museum!
The local presiding officer of a Court of the Ladies of the Oriental Shrine is a High Priestess. Upon the completion of her term of office, a lady would be entitled to wear the fez of a Past High Priestess, an example of which is shown above. This fez is obviously an earlier piece, as the embroidery and stitching is less precise. Our best estimates place in the early to mid 60’s. While in relatively good shape, some of the rhinestones in the name of the court are beginning to come off. This fez hails from Karnak Court No. 17 of Chicago, Illinois.
Here we have another example of a Past High Priestess’s fez. This hat comes from Neptune Court in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, it does contain some mystery, as there is not a Shrine Temple located in Atlantic City and no number exists for the Court that this fez comes from. It may be from a now defunct branch of the organization – we’re just aren’t quite sure. If you have any information on Neptune Court, please let us know!
The fez is the standard style, white body with LOSNA emblem and rhinestones. The tassel remains on the right hand side and is affixed with a patch of the LOSNA logo. The tassel has faded greatly over time and slightly pink instead of red. Our best guess on date of manufacture is sometime in the 1950’s or 60’s.
These two pieces were purchased as a lot and display fine examples of LOSNA fezzes without graphics. Both of these pieces from from Su-Zu Court No. 21, which is attached to Almas Shrine located in Washington, DC. From the first example, you can see that the Court retained the traditional red and white color scheme.
However, the second piece shows that the units developed within the Court (in this case, the Chanters) used different colors to set themselves apart. Both fezzes are done entirely in embroidery without any bullion or rhinestones. The best guess on date is sometime in the 1950’s.
This fez belonged to Mrs. Mabel C. Herche, who served as Grand High Priestess of the Order in 1957 – 1958. What we are particularly proud of is locating the picture of Mrs. Herche that shows her wearing the fez. Obviously, based on her years of service, the fez dates from the 1950’s. Mabel was a Baltimore native and wa was a member of Yak-Rem-Peh Court No. 32. The fez itself is a splendid, rhinestone encrusted wonder. The center emblem is made of metal and sewn onto the fez. The tassel is in excellent shape, being long and retaining its bright yellow color.
Hover over the picture to see Mabel wearing this exact fez!
Mrs. Herche’s service to the Ladies Oriental Shrine didn’t end with her term as Grand High Priestess. She went on to serve the order as Grand Treasurer, overseeing the organization’s finances. While we don’t have specific dates on her term of office, we’re guessing it occurred in the 1970’s to the early 1980’s. The back of this fez lets us know that Mabel was Grand Treasurer thanks to a title bar. Differing slightly from her first fez, this one is made entirely of rhinestones and embroidery, replacing the metal emblem on the former model. It’s a great, rare piece and in excellent condition.
The Shrine Guilds of America have to be one the least well known branches of the Shrine organization. The Shrine Guilds are ladies groups that are open to the wives or widows of members of the Shrine. Having its start in 1947, the group has remained relatively small, operating mostly in Florida and the Midwest. Their fezzes are white with black tassels and feature a stylized Shriner emblem with the words “Shrine Guild.” The individual guilds have their own names.
Smyrna Shrine Guild, located in Indianapolis, is one of the largest Shrine Guilds in existence and is still very active. This is a basic members fez, being constructed of a white body with a purple tassel and a rhinestone design. It probably dates from the 1980s and after, and came in white pouch for storage.
This fez comes from Sahbee Shrine Guild in Largo, FL. The fez is beautiful, being well ornamented with several rhinestones and a wonderful purple tassel, denoting higher rank. This fez specifically belonged to a Past Maharanee (local president) of the organization. From the hat we learn that the owner served in that office twice (in 1986 and 1993.) This piece is in great shape and is a unique part of the collection.