The Order of DeMolay

The Order of DeMolay is an organization for young men aged 12 to 21. Young men do not need to have a Masonic relative to join the organization. DeMolay was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1919, and is now international in scope. Like the other Masonic Youth Orders, DeMolay Chapters (local groups) usually meet in a room at a local Masonic Lodge. Adult leadership is provided by men (usually Masons) known as Chapter Dads or advisors. The Order takes its name from Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Templars, who was martyred in the Middle Ages for refusing to compromise his honor. The Order teaches the virtues of reverence, love of parents, comradeship, patriotism, courtesy, cleanness, and fidelity. The Order provides many social events and activities, which help to teach social skills and leadership.

DeMolay doesn’t wear fezzes any more, but at one point they were all the rage. This fez, probably worn as part of a parade band, comes from Excelsior Chapter in Camden, NJ. Of special note is the label on the inside of the case, which reads “William Collins, Alabama Road, Camden, NJ, May 18.” Based upon the design on the emblem, the year of production is thought to be between 1920 and 1931. Special thanks to Doug Harms who donated this fine piece to the collection!

This fez was actually manufactured in two colors and in limited quantities. Only eight blue versions of the fez exist and only one purple one! Of the eight blue ones, seven are owned by individuals, with the eigth residing in a display case at the group’s state headquarters in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. The curator of the museum was the instigator behind the production of these fezzes and therefore retains the single purple production model for his collection as part of the Museum.

Our next fez comes from Erie Chapter, located in Erie, PA (the home town and Chapter of the curator of the museum.) Erie Chapter was founded in 1924 and is still in operation today. It was originally thought that this fez was used as part of a parade unit. During a recent trip to Erie, the curator found a very similar fez in the collection of Erepa Grotto, MOVPER. Their fez was of the same material, construction, and design, excepting that it said Erepa Grotto instead of DeMolay. As both fezzes are so closely related and of the same color, it is presumed that this DeMolay fez was used as part of a parade unit sponsored by Erepa Grotto.

This hat was picked up at auction for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the logo on it dates it from sometime around the 1930’s, making it quite an old piece. It also is the only example of a DeMolay fez we’ve seen that has the office of the wearer listed on the brim (Third Preceptor in this case.) This would lead us to believe that the whole officer corps would have had fezzes like this. We believe Derryfield Chapter to have been located in Massachusetts, but we haven’t been able to confirm that.

Dating from the 1930’s, this DeMolay fez is particularly nice, being embroidered entirely in gold bullion thread. The fez remains in amazing shape, with the purple body and red tassel showing very little wear. The bullion is slighty tarnished, but for a fez that is over 75 years old, that’s to be expected. The design incorprates the DeMolay emblem used from the early 1930’s to the late 1940’s, surrouned by laurel leaves, with the letters “PMC” under the emblem. In DeMolay, PMC stand for Past Master Councilor, which would denote the owner had served as Master Councilor (presiding officer) of his home Chapter. The name “Highland” also appears on the piece, which denotes that the owner was a member of Highland Chapter, in Butte, MT, which is still active today.

The Order of Job’s Daughters

Job’s Daughters International is a Masonic Youth Group for young women. The organization was founded as The Order of Job’s Daughters by Ethel T. Wead Mick in Omaha, Nebraska, on October 20, 1920. The original age for membership was 13-18,  but has been changed several times over the years, most recently to age 10-20 in 2004. The purpose of the organization is to band together young girls who are related to a Master Mason, and strives to build character through moral and spiritual development. “Mother Mick” was fond of the Book of Job, and took the name of the organization as a reference to the three daughters of Job.The Book of Job, 42nd chapter, 15th verse says, “In all the land were no women found so fair as the Daughters of Job, and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren”. Today, Job’s Daughters continues to operate in a most of the United States, as well as internationally, most notably in Brazil.

This fez is created by the Doc Morgan Company, who holds the copyright to the Job’s Daughter’s logo. Only Doc Morgan can make items featuring this image, making Job’s Daughters items tough to find. Being made of inexpensive, papery cloth, this fez isn’t meant to be used for a long period. The tassel is made of simple string, with a shredded finish. Thanks to Mrs. Jan Harms, Trustee of Job’s Daughters International, for donating this piece.

This fez is one of two that was rescued from a Masonic Center that was clearing out its displace cases. The logo is larger than on our other purple Job’s Daughters fez. As with the other examples, the image is screen printed onto the fabric. The hat is constructed of two pieces, with a top disc and the tubular brim. The tassel is tiny and obviously for ornamentation. The whole fez is rather cheaply made and was probably used for a special event and not regular use. Our best guess dates it from the 1950’s to the 1970’s.

This unusual white fez was the other one rescued from the closet clean out at a local Masonic Center. This piece is very different than the others we’ve seen, being white with red lettering. It is made from two pieces, with a top disc and separate brim section. The image is screen printed onto the fabric, with another flimsy tassel. This fez was probably made between 1950 and 1980 for a special occasion or event.