A group of Master Masons talk about topics of Masonic interest--each from their own unique perspective. You'll find a wide range of subjects including history, trivia, travel, book reviews, great quotes, and hopefully a little humor as well on topics of interest for Freemasons and those interested in the subject of Freemasonry.
The Mason's Wife and Daughter - A Degree or Degrees Unto Themselves
A Real Deal Masonic Degree You Can Give Your Wife!
by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB. Robert H. Johnson
Okay, so I hope the title drew you in, but this is serious! In my searches for Masonic tidbits and sometimes, what some would call scandalous information, I recently came across an interesting entry. It is from the 1916 edition of Mackey’s Masonic Encyclopedia - And it’s Kindred Sciences. The entry I am writing about is called “The Masons Wife and Daughter" and it references a real degree, or possibly degrees (explained later) that any Master Mason may confer to any woman in his life as long as they meet the requirements. The purpose? To seemingly give a way to be recognized among those of the fraternity.
Below is the text copied and pasted, but for those who want to see it to believe it, I did find the book, edition and entry on “Google Books” an online scanned version of the text. Below you will see the copied image of this text:
Scanned text from Google Books
MASON'S WIFE AND DAUGHTER .
A Degree frequently conferred in the United States on the wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of Freemasons, to secure to them, by investing them with a peculiar mode of recognition, the aid and assistance of the Fraternity. It may he conferred by any Master Mason, and the requirement is that the recipient shall be the wife, unmarried daughter, unmarried sister, or widowed mother of a Master Mason. It is sometimes called the Holy Virgin, and has been by some deemed of so much importance that a Manual of it, with the title of The Ladies' Masonry, or Hieroglyphic Monitor, was published at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1851, by Past Grand Master William Leigh, of Alabama.
A copy of the 1851 published material which
was recently on sale on eBay and sold for $125.00
Not much information exists on this “Holy Virgin” degree that was so popular in 1851 that the ritual was even printed, and that Mackey states it was “…A degree frequently conferred…”. Some fairly basic searches for this book, brings you a library search where the subtext of the title is revealed, and what a surprise it offers! The subtext reads, “Hieroglyphic monitor : containing all the emblems explaind in the degrees of the Holy Virgin and Heroine of Jericho, duly arranged, to which are added illustrations, addresses, & c” I wonder what happened to this degree or degrees, was it absorbed into one of the other appendant bodies open to women like the Daughters of the Nile, the modern version of the Heroines of Jericho or The OES? Without the printed original ritual, we may never know.
Bro. Robert Johnson, 32° is the Managing Editor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He is the Master of Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council, Knights Templar, AMD, The Illinois Lodge of Research and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago as well as a charter member of the Society of King Solomon, a charity organization run by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is currently working on a book of Masonic essays.