Grand Divisions of the Sons of Temperance were established in California by 1853 according to the Sacramento Daily Union. Our certificates show that Alexander belonged to Sonora Division No. 16. During the 1850s and 1860s he lived in the city of Sonora in Tuolumne County, California, with his wife Marta Elizabeth Farr (1840-1898) and six children. Alexander worked as a Mining Superintendent.
The 1849 Gold Rush in California made the state ripe for raucous behavior and insobriety. Miners, similar to soldiers and sailors on leave, often led solitary lives seeking riches and frequently ended up in taverns, hotels, and gambling palaces or tents, all of which served alcohol.
Various temperance movements emerged as a result of the Gold Rush in California. The Sons of Temperance was one of these organizations. Scholar Ralph Mann suggests that the Sons of Temperance offered men a rich symbolic haven outside the home and an alternative masculine image. In 1855, when Alexander was a member, this fraternal group supported a state bill on the total prohibition of alcohol. The law did not get passed, but the influence of this organization was clear.
By 1855, Alexander was already a Past Worthy Patriarch of his division in the Sons of Temperance. He was then appointed District Grand Worthy Patriarch which gave him the power to perform certain duties of the Grand Worthy Patriarch, a state-wide position. According to an 1856 certificate (above left) Alexander was appointed "Degree Regent" for Sonora and Knights Ferry. In this role, he supervised the conferral of degrees and the compliance with ritual throughout the district.
The Sons of Temperance invited both men and women to join. However, according to his chapter in California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression, historian Joshua Paddison suggests that in California men continued to dominate the temperance movement until 1878 when the Woman's Christian Temperance Union became active. This organization transformed temperance from a male issue to a woman's concern and was embraced by California women. Members of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union sought to make public life alcohol-free.
By 1880, Alexander and family had moved to Oakland. It was here that he became a Master Mason in Oakland Lodge No. 188. Later, in 1886, Alexander became a 32° Scottish Rite Mason as evidenced by this certificate (below right).
Sons of Temperance Certificate for Louis Leander Alexander, 1856. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Collection, A2014/9/5.
32° Scottish Rite Certificate for Louis Leander Alexander, 1886. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Collection, A2014/9/14.
Blocker, Jack S., David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell. Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2003.
Cherny, Robert W., Mary Ann Irwin, and Ann M. Wilson. California Women and Politics: From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 2011.
Goodman, David. Gold Seeking: Victoria and California in the 1850's. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994.
In 1919, the Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction published Our Honor Roll: Those Who Served, 1917-1919. The book contains a list of 14,843 Scottish Rite members from the 15 states that comprise the jurisdiction who "have gloriously served Our Country and the World in its hours of direst need, and have thus nobly assisted to fix the word American as a title of honor wherever courage and self-sacrifice are the cardinal virtues among men..." (The Supreme Council's Proceedings for 1919 noted that the list was incomplete, stating that "subsequent information indicates that the number of our Scottish Rite brethren of this Jurisdiction in the service exceeds 16,000.")
While browsing through the names, I was immediately struck by one entry in particular because of the date of death:
WINNER, JOHN SANFORD 314th Inf. (Killed in action Nov. 11, 1918)
John Sanford Winner (1887-1918), a Scottish Rite Mason from Pennsylvania's Valley of Bloomsburg was killed at 9:15 on the morning of November 11 as the 314th Infantry attempted to take Cote de Romagne. An account notes:
"At 9:15 A.M. Nov 11 1918 the company passed through the heaviest artillery it had ever experienced. The company had these casualties Sergt. John S. Winner and Private Harold Edwards killed, Corp. Roy Rinner, John Bremble, and Private Edwin Spaulding wounded."
According to Winner's WWI draft registration card, he was a 30-year-old unmarried barber from Danville, Pennsylvania before joining the 314th Infantry. We hope that further research will reveal more information about Winner, including when he joined the Scottish Rite.
Our Honor Roll: Those Who Served 1917-1919.(Boston, Massachusetts: Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, ) Call number: 17.9735 .Un58 1917-1919
At the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, we love objects that have a good story. This framed pair of buttons, which were donated in 1986 as part of a large collection of ephemera and prints associated with George Washington (1732-1799), have a fantastic story framed with them. However, years of curatorial experience have also made us somewhat suspicious of stories that seem too good to be true.
According to the information with the buttons, they are “General George Washington’s Military Waistcoat Buttons,” which he wore during the Revolutionary War. The typewritten note framed with the buttons goes on to trace their descent from George Washington through several generations of his family to William Lanier Washington (1865-1933). At the bottom of the note, William Lanier Washington signed his name and had his signature notarized. The buttons were part of an auction in New York City in February 1922 – they are listed as lot #198 and a note in the catalog indicates that they are “framed, together with the statement, made under affidavit, setting forth the history of these Revolutionary War relics of General Washington, and line of descent to the present owner.”
However, a little research into William Lanier Washington turns up some questions about the authenticity of the buttons. The auction at which these buttons were sold was at least the third that offered items from William Lanier’s collection. A catalog from a 1920 auction also includes multiple lots of buttons from George Washington’s clothing. And, there had been an auction in 1917, as well. Some accounts suggest that William Lanier Washington was known as a pariah in his family, although little has been written by scholars about these auctions or William Lanier. One story related to the 1917 auction ends tragically. At the sale, G.D. Smith (1870-1920), who helped Henry Huntington (1850-1927) assemble his famed library, purchased a pair of candlesticks thought to have been used on Washington’s desk at Mount Vernon. Three years later, William Lanier came to see Smith and attempted to sell him a set of candlesticks that Washington used on his desk at Mount Vernon. Smith related that he had already purchased one such set, got into an argument with Washington and dropped dead in the heat of the moment.
While the stories about William Lanier Washington and the repeated sales from his collection call the authenticity of these buttons - and the other objects in his auctions - into question (see also the survey scale at the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, and the seal ring at the Sons of the American Revolution), he did have a direct family connection to George Washington and some of the items he sold were owned by George. You can judge for yourself in our new exhibition (June 2014), Prized Relics: Historical Souvenirs from the Collection, where the buttons will be on view.
Pair of Buttons, 1770-1840, unidentified maker, United States, Dr. William L. and Mary B. Guyton Collection, 86.62.10a-c. Photograph by David Bohl.
As noted in a previous post, getting ready for the exhibition “Prized Relics: Historic Souvenirs from the Collection,” opening June 14, 2014, at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, has afforded staff a great chance to learn more about some of the lesser-known objects in the Museum’s collection. Among the group is this small hook and eye owned by Eliakim Libby (1745-1836). This humble fastening gives us a glimpse of the ordinary people who fought in the Revolutionary War and deserves a close look.
When this hook and eye was donated to the Museum, it had been sewn to a card (as you can see to the left). The message on the card helps explain why the hook and eye eventually made its way to the collection: “This hook and eye w[as] worn on an army cloa[k] in the Revolution.” Underneath this statement is an inked name, Eliakim L[i]bby. Histories and pension records document Eliakim Libby’s service in the Massachusetts Militia. Libby, from Scarborough, Maine, joined in May 1775, as a sergeant. During his eight months of service near Boston he dug trenches and kept guard at Lechmere Point.
Like most relics, this object and its accompanying information raise some questions. One was inspired by the card the hook and eye is attached to—a business card for John P. Moulton (1849-1909), carpenter and contractor of Saco, Maine. From the design and paper, it appears to date from the late 1800s or early 1900s. Saco area buisness directories list Moulton from 1890 through 1904. Since Moulton’s and Libby’s lives did not overlap, Libby could not have signed Moulton’s business card. As well, the name written on the card does not resemble Libby’s witnessed signature on his 1832 pension application.
Adding interest to the story, two letters (one of them is pictured to the right, both are in the Museum’s collection) that Libby wrote to his wife, Mehitable Cummings Libby (1746-1822) bear the same distinctively written and inked name--Eliakim L[i]bby--as the hook and eye’s card. Although we don’t know who, it appears that someone--possibly one of Libby’s descendants--added Libby’s name to the letters and to the card. Perhaps prompted by a desire to underscore the antiquity of the objects associated with Libby or to emphasize their connection to Libby, the person who added the name scripted it in an approximation of an old-fashioned style. Does this addition detract from the letters and the hook and eye? A purist might argue that the signatures, appended to the letters more than one hundred years after they were written, take away from the object. On the other hand, linking the letters and hook and eye with Libby may have contributed to their long-term preservation.
Regardless of what you think about the added signatures, the letters are evocative. In one Libby speaks of prosaic matters like how much money he plans to send home and his health, noting, “I have had a Bad Cold But am Better.” He also writes about missing home, saying, “my de[a]r wif[e] I Long to Sey you and my De[a]r Child,” and touchingly concludes as, “you[r] Loving husband and Loving fri[e]nd til…de[a]th.” These letters, and the hook and eye saved with them, hint at the human concerns that Libby and others like him experienced while serving far from home during the Revolutionary War.
Hook and Eye, 1770s. New England. Gift of John H. Barthelmes, Jr., 75.35.
Letter from Eliakim Libby, November 26, 1775. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gift of John H. Barthelmes, Jr., A75/009/1.
The oldest book in our collection is over 430 years old - a copy of the Geneva Bible, printed by Christopher Barker in London in 1580. The British Library gives a quick synopsis of the Geneva Bible: "English protestants in exile in Calvinist Geneva, Switzerland, produced a translation of the New Testament in 1557...followed by a translation of the complete Bible in 1560. Editions were printed in England from 1576 onwards."
The Geneva Bible, which was the first English translation from the original Hebrew and Greek texts (rather than from the Latin Vulgate), is sometimes known as the "Breeches Bible" for its rather unusual (some might say comical) translation of a passage in Genesis 3:7 about Adam and Eve: "They sewed figge tree leaves together and made themselves breeches." In our copy, a former owner noted the passage in red ink (see photo below).
Since we are discussing the oldest book in our library, it would be useful to add some historical context to when this Bible was printed. When this Bible was printed in 1580:
- The first performance of a Shakespeare play was still 10 years away (ca. 1590) - The publication of the King James Version of the Bible (a reaction to the Geneva Bible) was over 30 years away (1611) - The arrival of the Mayflower in modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts was 40 years away (1620) - And the beginning of the American Revolution was almost 200 years away (1775)
Although we don't know when - or with whom - our copy made its journey from England to North America, two ownership marks tell us that the book was once in Madison, Wisconsin and then in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Pictured at top is the title page for the New Testament in our copy.
The Bible, translated according to the Ebrew and Greeke, and conferred with the best translations in diuers languages; with most profitable annotations vpon all the hard places, and other things of great importance ... [Geneva Bible] London: Christopher Barker, printer to the Queenes Maiestie, 1580. Call number: RARE BS 170 
David Bosse, Librarian and Curator of Maps at Historic Deerfield, explores “Map and Chart Publishing in Boston in the Eighteenth Century,” at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Saturday, June 7 at 2 pm. The lecture is free thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Ruby W. and LaVon P. Linn Foundation.
For much of the 18th century, map publishing in America was a financially precarious undertaking. The same held true in Boston, where individuals from many walks of life ventured into commercial mapmaking. Bosse's lecture will explore the work of several Boston mapmakers during an era of ad-hoc publishing.
The image to the right shows the 1798 first edition of Osgood Carleton's map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, held by our Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives. Carleton, a veteran of both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War and one of the few Americans trained in military engineering and mapmaking, established himself as a leader among American mapmakers of the post-Revolutionary period. From his shop on Oliver's Dock in Boston, he published navigation and mathematics textbooks as well as maps of Boston, Massachusetts, the District of Maine, New Hampshire, the United States, nautical charts, and a marine atlas, in addition to running a school for navigation, mathematics, and cartography.
Carleton's "Accurate Map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts" was the first official map of the new state, an idea he proposed to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1794. Massachusetts sorely needed this instrument to monitor and stimulate settlement, commerce, and development of transportation networks. (Previous regional mapping projects on this scale dated back to the 1750s, such as the map discussed in our earlier blog post.) Because the new Federal government was unable to provide support and the Commonwealth was also short on cash, Osgood funded this large-scale project through the support of many individual subscribers. The complex undertaking became frought with problems when not all Massachusetts towns were able to complete accurate new surveys of the lands within their bounds.
for monitoring and stimulating settlement, commerce, and development of transportation networks; as well as for delineating public lands available for sale. With a relatively weak Federal government unable to provide support and themselves short on cash, states had to come up with creative models for funding these labor intensive projects. - See more at: http://www.bostonraremaps.com/catalogues/BRM1315.HTM#sthash.jss8KTvy.dpuf
To hear more about Carelton's "Accurate Map," as well as other tales of Boston cartographers, please join us and our speaker on Saturday, June 7th. David Bosse is Librarian of Historic Deerfield and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, and curator of maps at Historic Deerfield. He formerly served as curator of maps at the Clements Library of the University of Michigan, and assistant map curator at the Newberry Library, Chicago. His research on the early American map trade has appeared in Mapping Boston (MIT Press, 1999), the journal Cartographica, and in the online journal, Coordinates.
This talk is part of the Museum's 2014lecture series: “Speaking of Maps: An Exploration of Cartography and History.” Starting in September, we will have three more map-related programs in this series related to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library’s collection of historic maps:
Saturday, September 13, 2 PM Reinventing the Map Susan Schulten, Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Denver
Saturday, October 4, 2 PM Cartographic Encounters: Native Americans in the Exploration and Mapping of North America John Rennie Short, Professor, Department of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Saturday, November 22, 10 AM – 12:30 PM Workshop: How to Do History with Online Mapping Tools Registration is required; click here for more information.
For further information, contact the Museum at (781) 861-6559 or check our website: www.monh.org.
David Bosse, "The Boston Map Trade of the Eighteenth Century." In: Alex Krieger and David Cobb, eds., with Amy Turner. Mapping Boston (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1999), p. 51.
For more information on the Carleton map, click here and here.
An Accurate Map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…, . Osgood Carleton (1742-1816). Boston, Massachusetts. Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives, 75.19. Photograph by David Bohl.
Detail, An Accurate Map of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…,. Osgood Carleton (1742-1816). Boston, Massachusetts. Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives, 75.19. Photograph by David Bohl.
In preparing for this exhibition, museum staff had the opportunity to examine some underexplored objects in our collection. One that captured my imagination was this small brown fife, pictured at the left, used to make music during the Civil War. Curatorial records note that this fife belonged to Joseph Warren Batchelder (1842-1926) of New Hampshire. In looking at the fife, it is easy to see Batchelder’s initials incised onto the body of the instrument, along with place names and dates. The simple shapes of the letters forming the inscriptions on the instrument, as well as the cramped spacing of information incised onto the fife’s body, suggest that the various inscriptions were recorded on the fife by its owner, perhaps over a few years.
Research supports the story that came with the fife when it entered the collection. Enlistment records show that Private Joseph W. Batchelder of Manchester, New Hampshire, joined the 10th New Hampshire Regiment on August 11, 1862, and served in Company A. In 1864 he earned promotion to the rank of Principal Musician. On his fife, Batchelder incised the names of some of the different places he traveled to and battles he fought in with his regiment including the Battle of Fredericksburg [Virginia] in 1862; the Siege of Suffolk [Virginia] in 1863; and the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff [Virginia] and Cold Harbor, Virginia, in 1864; and Richmond, Virginia, in 1865.
In an effort to read the inscriptions on the fife more clearly, I took a look underneath the pewter mouthpiece that had been loosely attached to it and noticed a second, smaller set of notes scratched into the fife’s surface by “M. T. T.” This record-keeper also noted the letters NYSV (or NY2V) along with the places and dates, Binghamton, New York, 1861, and New Berne, North Carolina, 1862. A quick look at the Civil War enlistment records turned up a likely candidate as the inscriber--Milton T. Tyrell (b. 1839) of Canton, New York. He had joined the 103rd New York Infantry, Company I as a musician in January, 1861, at Elmira, New York. A regimental history included a short biography of Tyrell and mentioned that when he became a member of the regiment, he: “entered into the spirit of the soldier, drilling in squad drill with the boys…as well as practicing the army calls with fife and drum.”
Finding that two men marked their names on this fife prompts the question, how did Tyrell’s fife become Batchelder’s fife? Histories of the 10th New Hampshire Regiment and the 103rd New York Infantry tell us that both Tyrell’s and Batchelder’s regiments traveled to Washington, D. C. in the fall of 1862. Was the fife lost, sold, traded or stolen in that city? We may never know how the fife changed hands, but this intriguing object offers us a glimpse into how two men recorded and remembered their war experiences.
Fife, ca. 1861. United States. Gift of George P. Wadsworth, 83.28.2. Photograph by David Bohl.
History and Personal Sketches of Company I, 103, N. Y. S. V., 1862-1864 (Elmira, New York: The Facts Printing Co., 1900).
While cataloging a Rainbow Girls ritual from 1939 to add to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection, I was struck by an "Important Notice" (pictured at left) pasted inside the front cover. William Perry Freeman, Supreme Worthy Advisor of the Order of the Rainbow for Girls issued an edict on February 20, 1943, "changing the instructions relative to the proper salute to the American Flag." Freeman's edict followed on the heels of a U.S. Congressional amendation of the Flag Code [pdf] on December 22, 1942 that changed the way Americans saluted the flag.
Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance, which was first published in the children's magazine The Youth's Companion in 1892. The original pledge simply read: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all" and was recited using a salute often called the "Bellamy salute" in tribute to the Pledge's author.
Children - the original audience for the Pledge of Allegiance - were instructed: "at the words 'to my Flag,' the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side." For decades, this is how Americans, including those in fraternal youth organizations, saluted when reciting the Pledge.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Italian Fascists and German Nazis had adopted salutes very similar in form to the "Bellamy salute." On December 22, 1942, Congress passed Public Law 77-829, containing amendments to the Flag Code, including Section 7, which replaced the Bellamy salute with the right-hand-over-heart salute familiar to Americans today. Americans and American organizations, including civic, patriotic, and fraternal organizations, quickly followed suit, as the amended Rainbow Girl ritual pictured above shows.
W. Mark Sexson. Ritual: Order of the Rainbow for Girls. McAlester, Oklahoma: Supreme Assembly, 1939. Call number: 84 .R154 S518 1939 c.2 Gift of Virginia Hicks Mitchell
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently received this charming stamp collage as an addition to its collection. The Masonic square and compasses symbol, representing reason and faith, along with the G in the middle, symbolizing God, geometry or both, is made out of postage stamps cut to fit the shape. Above the symbol, the maker trimmed the portraits of George Washington (1732-1799) and six other presidents who were Freemasons out of stamps and applied them to the page. More presidential portraits appear below the square and compasses emblem.
The collage is signed at the lower right corner: "John J. Buechler / 1929." Unfortunately, although Buechler would seem to be a less common last name, a search of the 1930 U.S. Census records turned up several possibilities and we are currently unable to precisely identify which Buechler made this collage.
We are very pleased to add this piece of intriguing folk art to our collection. Donor Albert K. Resnick, who purchased it at a stamp show, generously gave it to the Museum & Library after enjoying it for forty years. As he explained, "It represented my two main interests - Freemasonry and stamp collecting." We look forward to preserving it for and exhibiting it in the future.
Masonic Stamp Collage, 1929, John J. Buechler, United States, gift of Albert K. Resnick, 2013.051. Photograph by David Bohl.