Bancroft's History of the United States
Irving Berlin's "I'll See You in C-U-B-A"

The Mark Book: A Way to Remember Masons

Ma001_003_mark_book_george_plumb_we The exhibition Remember Me at the National Heritage Museum contains many documents and books from the VGW Library and Archives.  One of these pieces is a Mark Book (MA 001.003), or registration records of King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter, Greenwich Village, Massachusetts dated 1815-1835.  Each mark or symbol is in the outline of a keystone which is the symbol associated with the Mark Master degree, the 4th degree in York Rite Freemasonry.

The circle in the center of each keystone is filled with a symbol, or Mark, chosen by a Mark Mason upon his initiation.  The designs, or symbols, were then drawn and the owner signed his name to it.  Chosen marks could never be changed.  The symbol did not have to be Masonic in nature.  Often the initiates chose an image associated with his profession or trade or family coat of arms.

The tradition of speculative Masons having unique marks goes back to the stone masons of the Middle Ages.  Each stone mason, or operative mason, had a mark that they put on each stone that they shaped.  This helped assuring quality and craftsmanship.  Many Gothic cathedrals are filled with stone masons' marks. The early 18th-century Masons in Great Britain and American modeled many of their traditions after these stone masons.

George Plumb, whose mark is seen here, chose symbols that were definitely Masonic in nature.  Inside the circle is a woman supporting an anchor, which for Masons symbolizes Hope.  Above the woman is the all-seeing eye which for Masons symbolizes watchfulness and the Supreme Being.  Below the keystone is the signature of the illustrator, M. S. Harding.


catherine swanson

A.C., thanks for the information about the town of Greenwich. I appreciated your comments! Catherine


This is made all the more poignant by the fact that the town of Greenwich no longer exists; it was demolished and disincorporated in 1938, and now lies under the Quabbin Reservoir.

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