Recently, St. Paul Lodge A. F. & A. M., of Gardner (previously Groton), Massachusetts, deposited their lodge's charter on extended loan with the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library for safe keeping (see detail of charter on the left). The museum has an extended loan program in which lodges, chapters, and other Masonic bodies from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction can place their charters with us. These charters are stored in a secure vault which is temperature and humidity controlled. Charters are then documented in our database for tracking purposes. There is no fee for this storage which is a service to the Masonic community.
The St. Paul Lodge charter, dated January 15, 1797, is signed by Paul Revere, Jr. (1734-1818), Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, and Samuel Dunn (b. 1757), Deputy Grand Master. Other signatures include Isaiah Thomas (1749-1831), Senior Grand Warden, Joseph Laughton (1746-1808), Junior Grand Warden, and Daniel Oliver (b. 1750), Grand Secretary. The 24 charter members of St. Paul Lodge are listed on the document.
During Revere’s terms as Grand Master from 1795 through 1797, he chartered 23 lodges in Massachusetts. This doubled the number of Masonic lodges in Massachusetts. Among these lodges were Union Lodge (Dorchester), Montgomery Lodge (Milford), and Jerusalem Lodge (South Hadley) whose charters the museum also holds on extended loan.
The 216 year-old St. Paul Lodge charter is in very good condition. Having been conserved at Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) in 2010, this document has been de-acidified, flattened, and encapsulated. This stabilization insures that it will be preserved for many years to come.
We welcome other lodges and chapters to deposit their charters here at the museum on extended loan. We will store, track, and record each document in our database. If you are interested in this program or have questions about it, please contact either Catherine Swanson, Archivist, or Maureen Harper, Collections Manager.