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September 2015

Mapping our Collection


The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is on HistoryPin! Historypin is a social media platform developed to help organizations, communities, and individuals share and map their photographs, videos, and oral histories. The Museum & Library launched its own channel in late summer and will continue to populate the site with images from our extensive photograph collection. You can find our channel at http://www.historypin.org/channels/view/64613/#!photos/list/. One of the great things about HistoryPin is that we can map our photographs by place and time.

Are you interested in finding photographs of Masonic and fraternal groups in your community? Do you want to explore the international locations of past Masonic events and gatherings? You can do that using the interactive map on our page. Visitors can not only browse the lists of photo collections but can explore a map of their region, city, town, or neighborhood.

Visitors to HistoryPin can also comment on photographs and videos they find on our site and contribute any stories or information they may have about a particular photo. This is yet another way to explore our collection and its connection to your community and history. 

If you have any questions regarding items you see on HistoryPin or have any issues viewing our channel please email Ymelda Rivera Laxton, Assistant Curator, at [email protected].


image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/15092812/a6fe680e-7b59-42c7-90e1-bb679a1392ac.png
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library HistoryPin Channel

Lecture: "Community Gardening During World War I: Sowing the Seeds of Victory"

Rose Hayden-Smith
Photo courtesy of Rose Hayden-Smith

October 3, 2015

2 p.m.

Lecture and Book Signing by Rose Hayden-Smith

As we approach harvest time here in New England, join us at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library to learn how World War I gardens were considered patriotic. Our speaker, Rose Hayden-Smith, University of California, is a nationally-recognized expert on historical and contemporary issues surrounding gardens, food systems, sustainability and food policy. 

Hayden-Smith will discuss how three popular WWI gardening and agricultural programs affected American food production and consumption patterns. The National War Garden Commission (Liberty and Victory Gardens), the United States School Garden Army, and the Woman’s Land Army urged Americans to express their loyalty by producing and conserving their own food. Hayden-Smith will also touch on how food is fundamental and vital to national security both historically and today. 

Please join us after the lecture for a book signing of Rose Hayden-Smith’s book Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War I.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Ruby W. and LaVon P.  Linn Foundation and is part of the lecture series, “The U.S. Home Front during World War I: Duty Sacrifice, and Obligation.”

Whimsical Clocks in "Keeping Time: Clockmakers and Collectors," Opening October 10, 2015

W. H. MacKenzie
Shelf Clock, 1919. Unknown maker and Phinney-Walker Co., Inc. (ca. 1900–ca. 1960). New York, New York. Special Acquisitions Fund, 95.029a-c. Photograph by David Bohl.

Starting October 10, 2015, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library will open a new exhibition “Keeping Time:  Clockmakers and Collectors,” featuring clocks from the Museum’s rich collection of timepieces. Along with tall case clocks from the 1700s, material related to the collectors Ruth and Michael Willis and clocks from the 1800s and 1900s, this exhibition features a section devoted to whimsical clocks.

From the mid-1800s on, American consumers enjoyed many choices in factory-produced clocks. Different makers produced a wonderful variety of clocks and sold them at a range prices to appeal to every taste and budget. Clock makers also added novel and useful features, such as illumination and alarms, to help their offerings stand out in the marketplace. Against this backdrop, some clockmakers took a different tack; they crafted clocks that expressed creativity and enthusiasm one-by-one or in small numbers. One example, at left, is this clock with a drawer made for or crafted by W. H. Mackenzie. Its maker demonstrated his creativity in how he decorated this clock and how he used the materials he had at hand. He incorporated a round metal clock, originally designed for a car dashboard, into this object. He also repurposed an evaporated milk crate to serve as the foundation the body of the clock. The maker attached carved wooden ornaments to the crate, many of them in the shape of symbols associated with Freemasonry and Odd Fellowship, to create what must have been particularly designed to reflect the interests of its owner.

Other whimsical clocks will be on view in “Keeping Time.” A few, like this tall case clock pictured to the

Tall Case Clock, 1972. George F. McFadden (1904-1991), Winchester, Massachusetts. Gift of the Estate of George F. McFadden, 91.018.4. Photograph by David Bohl.

right and made and decorated with Pennsylvania Dutch inspired motifs, were crafted by museum goer and staff favorite, George McFadden (1904-1991). McFadden’s clocks are folk art—unique objects made from available materials that explore an idea--that were also functioning timepieces. Other whimsical clocks on display show ingenuity in how makers employed their creativity to interest certain consumers, like parents or members of fraternal organizations. For example, sparked by his daughter Emily’s love of a classic nursery rhyme, Elmer Ellsworth Dungan (1862–1930) created the Dickory, Dickory, Dock Clock in the early 1900s. Twice a day, a mouse runs up the side of the clock, tracking the time along side ruled numbers and then falls down. You can see a detail of the carved mouse on the clock below at left. With a partner Dungan patented and promoted the clock. The New Haven Clock Company manufactured it. Expensive to produce, the clock did not bring the partnership much, if

Detail Dickory Dickory Dock Clock
Detail, Dickory, Dickory, Dock Clock, ca. 1910. New Haven Clock Co. (1853–1960), New Haven, Connecticut. Gift of Mrs. Willis R. Michael, 75.66.10a-c. Photograph by David Bohl.

any, income. The clock, however, charms collectors today. We think it, along with the other clocks on view in “Keeping Time,” reflect the talent and vision of their makers—as well as their makers’ passion for clocks. Be sure to make time to come see the exhibition starting Saturday, October 10.



Research into Masonic Dance Card Reveals a Vibrant Fraternal Community in late 19th-Century Vermont

Scan_2015-08-05_19-35-05Outside Cover

Scan_2015-08-05_19-36-49Inside Text

Built along the historic and now-defunct Rutland Railroad line, Todd’s Hotel in Wallingford, Vermont, attracted tourists from Boston and New York who wished to escape the summer heat and desired to experience the rustic scenery or to fish for trout in streams that surrounded the hotel.  Under the proprietorship of Joel Todd, the Hotel enjoyed an enviable reputation, and its dance hall, reputed to be the largest hall connected with a hotel in the state of Vermont, was the site of many elegant balls (including the Masonic ball described in the above dance card) and game suppers, which Todd gave with increasing frequency.

Sadly, Todd’s Hotel was gutted by fire in 1888, but research into this small dance card held in the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library has revealed the presence of a very active and growing fraternal community in late 19th century Rutland County, Vermont. In addition to the 12 Masonic Lodges listed in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Vermont for 1882, Rutland County hosted 4 Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) Lodges and 6 Grand Army of the Republic Posts.

The proprietor of Todd’s Hotel, Joel Todd, was active in fraternal circles, as well, and in 1871 Todd and his older brother Horace, along with several other men, founded Pico Lodge, No. 32, I.O.O.F, in Wallingford, Vermont. As for Todd’s possible ties to Freemasonry, records held at the Grand Lodge of Vermont reveal that Todd took his first Masonic degree on January 7, 1878, in Anchor Lodge, No. 99, but did not continue any further.


Masonic Dance Card: Masonic Ball at Todd's Hotel, 1882. Purchase. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 015.


Smith, Henry Perry, and William S. Rann (1886). History of Rutland County, Vermont: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. (Vol. 2) Syracuse, New York: Heritage Books. https://archive.org/details/historyofrutland00smit 18 August 2015.

Thorpe, Walter (1911). History of Wallingford, Vermont. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle. https://archive.org/details/historyofwalling00thor 18 August 2015.

Skeletons in the Lodge Room


As we often like to remind our readers, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library actively collects materials associated with any and all American Masonic and fraternal groups.  This recent acquisition is a pin that was produced for members of the Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction (SJ) in 1905.  The two American Scottish Rite jurisdictions co-exist in the United States.  The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction (NMJ) oversees Scottish Rite groups in fifteen states in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.  The SJ administers Scottish Rite groups in the other 35 states, as well as Washington, D.C. where their headquarters is located.  The NMJ founded the Museum & Library in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1975.

The two jurisdictions don’t always follow the same ritual, but the symbols on this pin were also used by the NMJ during the 1800s and early 1900s.  An illustration in The Book of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, written by Charles McClenachan (1829-1896) in 1867 – who served as Chair of the NMJ’s Ritual Committee from 1882 to 1896 – shows the same skeleton holding a chalice and a banner (at the left side of the illustration - click on it to see a larger version).  This prop was used in the ritual for the fraternity’s honorary 33rd degree ritual. When McClenachan wrote his book in 1867, the Scottish Rite conferred degrees in much the same way as local lodges.  McClenachan’s illustration shows the men wearing sashes over their street clothes.  A few years later, members changed their rituals to theatrical endeavors complete with sets, costumes and props. RARE14.7.M126 1867DP1DB

The shape and materials of this pin were popular among fraternal groups during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The shield shape relates to fraternal symbolism, while the enamel face allowed for colorful and detailed decoration.  The Museum’s collection includes at least one similar pin associated with the NMJ from 1901, while the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts collection includes several round enamel pins produced for local Knights Templar Commanderies in 1895.

This pin was probably given or sold to attendees of the SJ’s biennial meeting in Washington, D.C., in October 1905.  Along the bottom is the Latin phrase, “Post Tenebras Lux,” which translates to “Light After Darkness.”

Top: Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction pin, 1905, unidentified maker, United States, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library purchase, 2014.057.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Bottom: Frontispiece, The Book of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1867, Charles T. McClenachan, author, Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Company, publisher, New York, New York, Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.  Photograph by David Bohl.



Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle Meeting Notice

Tabernacle meeting notice frontThis meeting notice is among the new acquisitions currently on view in the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives. This notice was sent to all members of Tabernacle Chapter, inviting them to the December 20, 1915 meeting. Depicted on the front of the notice is an illustration of the Biblical Tabernacle, the chapter’s namesake. The illustration has further symbolic resonance as well, since the Royal Arch Chapter’s room is meant to be a representation of the Tabernacle, in the same way that the lodge room of Craft Masonry is patterned after Solomon’s Temple.

The inside of the notice includes information about what business would be conducted on the evening of December 20, 1915. The business of that evening included voting ("balloting") on new candidates, as well as the conferring of two Royal Arch degrees: Mark Master Mason and the Past Master Mason degrees. Near the end of the notice, on the right hand page, is a reminder to members about an upcoming social event. Under the heading "Don't Forget Ladies Night," the notice reminds members that tickets were available for that year's New Year's Eve party, to be held on the last night of 1915.


Tabernacle meeting notice inside




Above and at left:

Meeting Notice, 1915
Tabernacle Chapter
Malden, Massachusetts
Gift of the Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, Malden, Massachusetts, MA 300.