The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. It was established in 1850 by lawyer, educator and noted Freemason, Rob Morris. Although its basis is rooted on teachings from the Bible, the Order is open to people of all religious backgrounds. It is made up of 10,000 chapters located in 20 countries and comprised of an estimated 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.
To become a member of the order, men and women must be at least 18 years old. Men must be Master Masons and women must have a specific relationship with a Mason. In its early years, the Order required that women be the daughter, widow, wife, sister or mother of a Master Mason, but it now allows other relatives. Members of other Masonic organizations such as Job's Daughters, Rainbow Girls, the Organization of Triangle and the Constellation of Junior Stars can also become members when of age.
The General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Stars is headquartered at the International Temple, located at 1618 New Hampshire Avenue, Northwest in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The secretary of the General Grand Chapter resides at the headquarters while serving his or her term of office. It features works of art from around the world, many of which were given as gifts from various chapters around the world.