Held at: African American Museum in Philadelphia [Contact Us]701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria was established in New York City in 1847 as a temperance group and a beneficial society. Although founded by white men and women, within a few years African Americans began joining the order, for the most part segregated into separate lodges. Whites began withdrawing from the order around the time of the Civil War, and before long it was an exclusively African American organization. It was probably one of the largest African American fraternal groups.
The motto of the Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria was, "Love, Purity, and Truth." Its objects included promoting temperance reform, securing charity for the unfortunate, and burying deceased members of the order. Membership was open to women between the ages of 15 and 50, and men between 18 and 50. Abstinence from "intoxicating drinks" was required; members found violating this requirement on one occasion would be suspended, and upon a second violation be expelled. Members could also be expelled for betraying secrets of the order.
A Philadelphia branch, Golden Star Lodge, No. 4, of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria, was organized November 17, 1880 under the jurisdiction of the Right Worthy District Grand Lodge, No. 2, of Pennsylvania and Delaware. That year, the national order counted around 20,000 members in up to 375 lodges located across the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
"Constitution and By-Laws of Golden Star Lodge, No. 4, of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria." Philadelphia: Bowie, October 1911. Booklet found in collection.
Skocpol, Theda, Ariane Liazos, and Marshall Ganz. What a Mighty Power We Can Be: African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2006. Accessed February 7, 2014. http://books.google.com/books?id=Ku9aOC9OxnMC. Pages 46-47.
This collection consists of various administrative, financial, and membership records of Golden Star Lodge #4 of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria. It includes minute books, 1889-1898 and 1909-1915, and some loose minutes; printed constitutions and by-laws; correspondence; treasurer's reports, ledgers, receipts, and other financial documents; Sick Committee reports; doctors' notices, death notices, and funeral arrangements; and scattered membership applications, certifications, and recommendations. There are some textiles and paper fans in the collection.
Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.
In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact African American Museum in Philadelphia directly for more information.
- Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria of the United States of America. Golden Star Lodge No. 4 (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria of the United States of America
- African Americans
- Fraternal organizations
- Secret societies
- Temperance--Societies, etc
- Women--Societies and clubs
- African American Museum in Philadelphia
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
- This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
- Access Restrictions
Contact African American Museum in Philadelphia for information about accessing this collection.