2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the parent organization for the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. In 1813, the Scottish Rite Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA, was formed. Over the coming months, you will read more about this anniversary and the history of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction on our blog. We will also open an exhibition about the NMJ next spring (check our website for details as Spring 2013 approaches!).
The Museum & Library actively collects objects and documents from the Scottish Rite. Many of the objects already in our collection are gifts from a Scottish Rite member or local group to the governing body, the Supreme Council, which is located in Lexington, Massachusetts, on the same campus as the Museum.
One of the most eyecatching gifts now in the collection is a lectern that was presented to the Supreme Council in 1931 by the DeWitt Clinton Consistory of the Valley of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Constructed from several different woods, and inlaid with miniature Masonic symbols, the lectern shows an Egyptian Revival style and sports a book holder at top supported by the Scottish Rite's double-headed eagle symbol. A silver plaque on the lectern credits the design of the piece to Edgar A. Somes, the inlay to T.A. Conti, and the fabrication to Century Furniture Company and Associates. Grand Rapids, Michigan, was a center of American furnituremaking during the late 1800s and early 1900s; the pride that makers took in their craft is evident from this lectern.
The lectern was presented to Commander Leon M. Abbott at the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's 1931 annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan. At the meeting, a representative from Michigan explained that the Egyptian style was chosen because of its connection to Masonic rituals and symbols.
Scottish Rite Lectern, 1931, Century Furniture Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gift of the Supreme Council, 33o, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA, 2010.042.31. Photographs by David Bohl.