Quilted Celebrations of Masonic and Fraternal Activity
October 04, 2016
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library received the Masonic quilt at left as a recent gift. It was made in 1981 and helps us bring our fraternal quilt collection closer to the present, allowing us to compare and contrast this quilt with others from the 1800s and early 1900s (see these previous blog posts!). Anyone who quilted or sewed during the late 1970s and early 1980s may recognize some of the fabrics if you look at them closely. We loved the story that the donor told about this quilt's history. His aunt, a lieutenant commander and nurse in the U.S. Navy, made this bed covering for him on the occasion of his installation as Master of Crescent Lodge in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, for the second time. Edith Bowen, the quilt's maker, bought a book about Masonic symbols here at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library to help her design the quilt, which includes appliqued squares and compasses, cornucopias, a lyre and other recognizable symbols.
Shortly after we received this Masonic quilt, we were also given the fraternal quilt at right. Made in 1989, it shows the symbol of the Pythian Sisters, a female auxiliary of the Knights of Pythias (for more on this group, see our posts), which was formed after the Civil War. This quilt was a gift, honoring the accomplishments and volunteer efforts of one Pythian Sisters member, on the occasion of the group's centennial.
Have you made any Masonic or fraternal quilts? Have you received one? If so, we'd love to hear about it in a comment below.
Masonic quilt, 1981, Edith M. Bowen, United States. Gift of Stephen J. Twining, 2011.059. Photograph by David Bohl.
Pythian Sisters quilt, 1989, unidentified maker, United States. Gift of the Estate of Geraldine M. Worley, 2011.066.4. Photograph by David Bohl.