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April 2014

New to the Collection: A Masonic Stamp Collage

2013_051DS1The 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.



“Fantastic!” and “Intriguing!”: Symposium at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

Presentation during symposiumOn Friday, April 11, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library presented its third symposium, “Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.”  With this program, we seek to present the newest research on American fraternal history.  As loyal blog readers know, the study of the activities and influence of Masonic and fraternal groups in the United States—past and present—offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture. 

Attendees from Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Tennessee enjoyed six scholarly presentations and special staff-led tours Behind the scenes tour two of the exhibition “A Sublime Brotherhood:  Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction,” highlights form the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum collections.  

The morning started with a presentation by Kristen M. Jeschke, of the University of New Hampshire, who spoke about “Mid-Nineteenth Century Lodges:  Middle-Class Families in the Absence of Women,” followed by Jeffrey Tyssens, Professor of Contemporary History, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, with his presentation, “Bragging Brethren and Solid Sisters? Contrasting Mobilization Patterns among Male and Female Orders Sublime Brotherhood tour twoduring the Spanish-American War.”  Margaret Goehring, Assistant Professor of Art History at New Mexico State University, ended the morning session with “Painted Ambition: Notes on Some Early Masonic Wall Painting.”  In the afternoon, participants heard from Adam Geoffrey Kendall, of the Henry Wilson Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry at the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of California, who discussed “Pilgrimage and Procession: The Knights Templar Triennial Conclaves and the Dream of the American West” and  Stephen Hill, Sr., of the Phylaxis Society, with “The Colored Knights of Pythias.”  Independent scholar Stephen Canner rounded out the day with his presentation, “’The Farmer Feeds Us All’: The Origins and Evolution of a Grange Anthem.”

Throughout the symposium, attendees—who included members of the Masonic community and Symposium panel discussion oneinterested scholars and researchers—contributed to the lively question and answer sessions following the presentations.  Presenters and attendees alike enjoyed meeting fellow enthusiasts and making connections that will last well beyond the event. The symposium was funded in part by the Supreme Council, 33°, N. M. J., U.S. A.  We thank our sponsors and all of the enthusiastic attendees and engaging presenters who made it a great day!

If you are interested in keeping up to date on programs like this and other museum news, you can read about them here.  You can also sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on Facebook.



Margaret Goehring, Assistant Professor of Art History at New Mexico State University, presented “Painted Ambition: Notes on Some Early Masonic Wall Painting,” at the symposium.

Symposium attendees enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum collections. 

Participants examine objects on display in “A Sublime Brotherhood:  Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.”

Discussion during “Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.”

How Much Moxie Do You Have?


The idea of “Throw-back Thursday” seems to be gaining popularity on the internet, especially on sites like Facebook (if you haven’t, please like the Museum on Facebook!) where users post old photographs of themselves and their friends each week.  While our blog comes out on Tuesday, not Thursday, we do like to think that every day is “Throw-back Thursday” at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, since we are devoted to studying and preserving history.  In light of this theme, this post features two bottles from a small collection of Moxie bottles that we received as a gift in 2001.  The “throw-back” part also comes from the fact that we hosted an exhibition in 1993 called “When America Had a Lot of Moxie: A History of America’s First Mass-Marketed Soft Drink.”  Moxie pre-dates Coca-Cola, which was first available in 1886.

Dr. Augustin Thompson (1825-1903) of Lowell, Massachusetts, developed Moxie.  Thompson was born in Maine and served in the Union Army during the Civil War.  After the war, he studied medicine at Hahnemann Homeopathic College in Philadelphia.  Around 1867, Thompson moved to Lowell to open a medical practice.  Soon after, he began developing a recipe for what became known as “Moxie Nerve Food.” 

The bottle at left dates to the 1880s or 1890s when the drink was still marketed as “Moxie Nerve Food.”  Thompson began selling his remedy in 1884 or 1885.  When he applied for a patent in 1885, he explained that it was “a liquid preparation charged with soda for the cure of paralysis, softening of the brain, and mental imbecility.”  The drink caught on in New England and sold widely.  In 1886, one of Thompson’s sons, Francis E., and Freeman N. Young, constructed the first Moxie Bottle Wagon – a horse-drawn four-wheel cart with a replica of a Moxie bottle on the back (see some pictures here).  Many variations were subsequently made and the bottle wagon became one of Moxie’s chief advertising gimmicks. 2001_051_2DP1DB

Moxie continues to be sold up to the present day – see the bottle from 1963 at right, which was bottled in Needham Heights, Massachusetts, in a bottle from the Glenshaw Glass Company in Pennsylvania.  However, it has been many decades since the company was able to claim that it cured any medical conditions.  Today, it is considered a great-tasting, refreshing beverage by its fans, although they also acknowledge that it is an acquired taste.  Are you a fan?  Do you collect Moxie memorabilia?  Tell us about it in a comment below.


Q. David Bowers, The Moxie Encyclopedia: Volume 1 – The History (Wolfesboro, NH: The Vestal Press, 1985).

Frank N. Potter, The Book of Moxie (Paducah, KY: Collector Books, 1987).

Top: Moxie Nerve Food Bottle, 1880-1900, unidentified maker, United States.  Gift of Peter G. Huntsman, 2001.051.4.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Bottom: Moxie Bottle, 1963, Glenshaw Glass Company, Glenshaw, PA.  Gift of Peter G. Huntsman, 2001.051.2.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Lecture: Historical Maps and Digital Visualizations - Tools for Genealogists

From sixteenth-century maps depicting the location of Irish clans to maps of DNA test results showing ancient migration patterns, family historians use maps in many ways to tell the story of their ancestries. No longer content to use maps for reference, modern genealogists create maps employing a variety of software products and social media to research and share their ancestries.

MMHP4571Melinda Kashuba of Shasta College explores the wide range of maps family historians employ to research and document their families’ story in her lecture, “Organizing Wonder: Using Maps in Family History Research,” Saturday, April 12 at 2 pm at the museum. The lecture is free thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Ruby W. and LaVon P. Linn Foundation.

After the lecture, Ms. Kashuba will offer an informal discussion with interested audience members.

Melinda Kashuba holds a PhD in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.She is a popular lecturer and author of Walking with Your Ancestors: a Genealogist’s Guide to Using Maps and Geography plus numerous articles in genealogical magazines and other publications. Her specialties include nineteenth and twentieth century American records and maps. She performs genealogical research for clients and is a member of the National Genealogical Society, the Association of Professional Genealogists, California State Genealogical Alliance, and the Shasta County Genealogical Society.

This talk is part of the Museum's 2014 lecture series: “Speaking of Maps: An Exploration of Cartography and History.” This spring and fall, we are offering a series of programs related to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library’s collection of historic maps. Click here to see the most up-to-date topics, speakers, and dates and here to read a recent post about the series.

For our final spring map lecture, we will welcome David Bosse, Librarian and Curator of Maps, Historic Deerfield, to the Museum & Library on Saturday, June 7. His 2 p.m. presentation will be on: Map and Chart Publishing in Boston in the 18th Century.

For further information, contact the Museum at (781) 861-6559 or check our website: www.monh.org.

Image credit:

Courtesy of Melinda Kashuba

Talking About Rituals in Atlantic City

1936 Ritual CommitteeIn September 1936, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's Supreme Council held their Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, NJ at the Hotel Traymore. This photograph, likely taken in a room at the Traymore, shows the Council's Committee on Rituals and Ritualistic Matter sitting around a table. The Committee was - and is - responsible for all of the Scottish Rite degrees sanctioned by the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, as well as other aspects related to ritual. In 1936, the Committee approved a design for an "Emeritus Member of Honor." The small hinged box sitting in the center of the table possibly holds one of these jewels.

The members of the Committee pictured above are (left to right): John S. Wallace, Norris G. Abbott, William H.H. Chamberlin, Frederick W. Hamilton, Melvin M. Johnson, Frank S. Sayrs, Charles H. Spilman, Samuel H. Baynard, Jr., and Delmar D. Darrah

The photo above, which is in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, appears in the new book, A Sublime Brotherhood: Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.


Melvin Johnson and the Ritual Committee, 1936. Fred Hess & Son, Photographer. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, SC 154.