Daughters of Isis on parade

What it is:

Glossy photo, 10 x 8 inches, probably a press photo.

What I know about it:

This photo is undated and unidentified.  But a different photo of the same scene is dated August 27, 1964, and identifies the woman on the left as Ana Mae Dixon.   The woman on the right is Dorothy Baum, from whose estate this photo came.

Comments:

Some years ago, almost on a whim, I bought a set of photos on eBay from the estate of one Dorothy “Dottie” Baum.  I’m glad I did, because I love them.  Dorothy and her husband William were both heavily involved in fraternal organizations (does one say “fraternal” when it’s women?), she with the Daughters of Isis and he with the Elks, and the items comprising my purchase document these activities.  Two albums contain press photos and news clippings (special events, meeting the Governor, etc.), one album contains color snapshots of various events, including a beauty pageant, and finally came a plastic freezer bag of loose photos (studio portraits, snapshots, Polaroids, etc.).  Oh, and I have a program from an evening honoring Dorothy, and a copy of her resignation speech.  (I don’t have ordinary photos of their home and family life.  Those presumably went elsewhere, though to whom I don’t know, since it seems they were childless.)  This whole set was striking to me for several reasons.  First of all, since they mostly range from the 1950s through the 1970s, they are certainly among the newer photos in my collection, and it always makes me feel a little weird to own photos of people who are likely still alive, adding an extra element to my feelings of being a caretaker for them.   Added to that was the sheer number of photos of these two people and the information available about them, allowing me to get to know them more than most of my other photo subjects, and increasing the sense that I had been entrusted with a portion of a stranger’s life.  Also, I had never heard of the Daughters of Isis.  They are apparently affiliated somehow with the Shriners, and my brief internet research shows a membership that is predominantly African-American.  That was another revelation.  Please forgive my naivety, but I had always thought of fraternal organizations as being populated by good-ol’-boy white guys, so to have several albums full black people, and black women no less, running around in fezzes and other regalia, holding their own pageants, meeting black Boy Scout troops, etc., opened my eyes and made me smile.  I shall post more down the road.  As for this photo, I don’t think it does justice to Dorothy’s beauty, but it shows something of her spirit.   I don’t know the precise location of this parade, but they were active in Connecticut (I believe they lived in New London; the night honoring her was in New Haven; etc.), though it seems their work took them around New England and beyond.

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3 comments on “Daughters of Isis on parade”

  1. Great photo i am a member of the AEAONMS of Which the Daughters of Isis are linked. nice picture.

    • Also this Arabic court is in New Haven and is associated with Arabic Temple no. 40 of the AEAONMS (Prince Hall Shriners). Just a little info for you

      • Thank you! I’m glad you like the photo, and it’s great to hear from someone with some knowledge of its subject. I very much appreciate the information you provided, and I’m happy to hear it confirms my suspicions about a New Haven location. By the way, if you look to the upper left under “Categories” and click on “Baum”, you’ll see other photos of them, if you’re interested.


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