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As It Was: Rogue Valley Women Join the Daughters of the Nile

The Daughters of the Nile, a Masonic organization for women, came to the Rogue Valley in 1922, nine years after its founding.  An elocution teacher in Grants Pass, Laura Gunnell, became interested in the concept after visiting a friend in Seattle who was a member.
On April 13, 1922, fifty-five ladies from Grants Pass to Ashland became charter members of Zuleima Temple No. 13 in the Masonic Hall in Grants Pass.  Zuleima in Arabic means Peace. Each member received a headband and pin, though use of the headband ended a few years later.  Gunnell became the first Queen.

The Queen of the Temple wore a crown at each meeting until it was discontinued in 1943.  Decorations for dances and other social events usually had the words “Egyptian” or “Oriental” attached.

In 1951, Juanita Butler was asked to provide singers for the installation of Queen Ollie Ogle.  That group became the Chorus of Zuleima Temple, so highly acclaimed it sang for state and national meetings.

The Zuleima Temple’s charitable efforts support the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.


Source: Cook, Virginia, and Luella Saunders. History of Zuleima Temple #13 Daughters of the Nile. Zuleima Temple #13, 1990, pp. VII-VIII, SOHS MS1075

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.