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December 2017

In Keeping with the Holiday Spirit

In the spirit of the holiday season, the staff of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library would like to thank the readers of the museum’s official blog for their support and to wish all our patrons happy and healthy Holidays. In this last post for 2017, we would like to highlight this festive panoramic document from the collection, a 1924 Christmas program created by the Al Malaikah Temple Shriners of Los Angeles, California.  

[obverse panel 1] A2016_086_DS1


[obverse panel 3] A2016_086_DS3

[obverse panel 2]

[obverse panel 4]

[obverse panel 5] A2016_086_DS5

[reverse panels]
Panel 2

If you happen to be in the metro Boston area during the holidays, please consult our website for more information regarding the museum's current exhibitions, including a wonderful exhibition of World War I posters, which celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of America’s entry into the First World War. If you cannot make it to Lexington during the busy holiday season, please explore the Library and Archives' Digital Collections or the Museum's online collections.


Christmas Ceremonial and Cornerstone Ceremony program, 1924. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 014.


Happy Holidays from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library!

A Merry Christmas, Peace Your Gift to the Nation, 1918. Gordon Hope Grant (1875-1962), Washington, D. C. Gift of Mrs. G. Gardner Cook, A1997/028/0018.

In 1918 artist Gordon Hope Grant (1875-1962) designed and drew this cheerful poster of a young doughboy, an older man--likely meant to represent Uncle Sam--and Santa Claus wishing all a Merry Christmas. The smiling, rosy-cheeked figures are companionably grouped together in front of a shield bearing the colors and symbols of the American flag. Two holiday wreaths adorn the shield. In addition to the wish of “A Merry Christmas” at the top, text at the bottom of the poster thanks soldiers for their help. This text calls out solders’ contribution to a significant accomplishment with the phrase: “Peace, Your Gift to the Nation.”

World War I formally concluded in November, 1918. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers needed to come home from Europe to the United States or from locations within the United States. Many of these service members completed their duties in Europe and the United States and then waited for the Army to arrange transportation for their return home. Several organizations, such as the American Red Cross, sought to ease the waiting period by providing soldiers with laundry facilities, wholesome food and leisure activities, but it was still a challenge.  Repatriation of soldiers from Europe lasted well into the summer of 1919. 

Gordon Grant, who created this poster, achieved the rank of Captain working for the Army’s Morale Branch, a group that produced propaganda to support the war effort. After fighting ended in 1918, he produced a series of posters that encouraged soldiers to complete their periods of service. Some of his posters lauded the value of an Honorable Discharge. Others sought to inspire soldiers to take pride in their service and encouraged them to be patient through the demobilization process. Examples of these posters are on view at the Museum in the exhibition, “Americans, Do Your Bit:  World War I in Posters.”  Grants' posters  are just some of the millions American artists produced in support of the war effort.  These images delight and intrigue viewers today and serve as a reminder of Americans’ shared effort and sacrifice during World War I.






Fraternal Order of Orioles

Fraternal Order of Orioles Plate, 1913. Buffalo Pottery, Buffalo, New York. Museum Purchase, 2017.007.3. Photograph by David Bohl.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently acquired a group of ceramics related to a variety of fraternal groups, including the interesting Fraternal Order of Orioles. The Fraternal Order of Orioles, now called the Fraternal Order Orioles, was an offshoot of the Order of Owls. The spinoff group originally went by the name of the American Order of Owls, but changed to more distinct Order of Orioles at a meeting in Rochester, New York, in 1910 . The related Orioles, American Order of Owls, and the Order of Owls, were loosely modeled after well-known fraternal groups like the Oddfellows and Freemasons. Local Oriole groups still meet today in "subordinate nests," regional groups in “grand nests,” and the national governing group in “supreme nests.”  They continue to fundraise for charitable causes and for provide benefits for members and their families.

Buffalo Pottery, an American ceramics company, made these particular Oriole steins and plate in Buffalo, New York, in 1913. The date, April 16-27, 1913 and the German words “Deutscher Jahrmarkt,” which translates to “German Fair,” are printed on all three pieces accompanied by an image of an oriole or the Buffalo Orioles hall. The name and dates suggest the wares may have been created to commemorate a German cultural fair sponsored by the Orioles in Buffalo in 1913. The Orioles were headquartered in Buffalo in the early 1900s and Buffalo Nest #1 built a hall in downtown Buffalo in 1914. The Buffalo hall is printed on one of the steins pictured below. A Ukrainian American community group purchased the building in 1955. Members established the group as the Fraternal Order of Orioles (now the Fraternal Order Orioles) in Rochester in 1910

Orioles blog
Fraternal Order of Orioles steins, 1913. Buffalo Pottery, Buffalo, New York. Museum Purchase, 2017.007.6 & 8. Photographs by David Bohl

In 1901, the Larkin Soap Co., a Buffalo soap manufacturer, created Buffalo Pottery to produce premiums for soap products. Premium products included pottery and art wares, handkerchiefs, small lithographs, and furniture. They were included in single or bulk soap purchases made by mail order or at certain retail outlets and meant to entice customers to buy more soap products.The Larkin Soap Co. was one of the country’s largest mail-order companies in the early 1900s. Buffalo pottery created individualized commemorative wares for different organizations and civic groups in the early 1900s. Many of these wares were similar in design with the same deep blue-green edges and gold trim seen on these examples. 

Buffalo pottery changed its name to Buffalo China, Inc. in 1956 and became one of the largest suppliers of commercial dinnerware through the 1960s. Oneida Limited company purchased Buffalo China in the early 1980s. The Buffalo production facility closed down in the mid-2000s. Are you or someone in your family a member of the Orioles? Do you have any items, information, or photographs related to the Orioles?  Let us know in the comments below.



Seymour and Violet Altman, The Book of Buffalo Pottery (New York: Crown Publishers Inc., 1969)

"The Change of Names." Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) 8/15/1910, page 6.