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July 2019

Templars of Honor Membership Badge

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Templars of Honor Membership Badge for C. F. Adams, 1850-1900.  United States. Special Acquisitions Fund, 79.3.3a.  Photo by David Bohl.

In 1846, members of the Sons of Temperance formally established a new, but related group, the Templars of Honor and Temperance in New York City.  Members of this group, like the Sons of Temperance, swore an oath “…of abstinence and fraternity.”  They also declared, “our enemy is alcohol; our war one of extermination.”

The Templars of Honor developed, in part, because some members of the Sons of Temperance, founded in 1842, desired a more secret and  elaborate ritual for their ceremonies.  Initially the Templars of Honor's ritual included three degrees: Love, Purity and Fidelity.  In 1851, members adopted three more degrees: Tried, Approved and Select Templar.  In developing all their degrees, the Templars of Honor drew on Masonic and other fraternal rituals for inspiration.  As well, their regalia included aprons and collars and they employed some of the same symbols that as were used in Freemasonry.

Intriguingly, as in the case of the Mark Degree, part of Royal Arch Freemasonry, the Templars of Honor asked members to select a personal, meaningful emblem.  These emblems were engraved onto membership badges that bore symbols related to the group in relief, along with the Templar of Honor’s name.  These round, coin-like badges, because they featured a personal symbol, resemble Masonic mark medals and illustrate another way that the Templars of Honor used Masonic degrees as models for their work. 

Although these badges, or signets, were given to members, surviving personalized examples are uncommon.  One is pictured to the left.  On it, an engraver incised the name of an unknown member, C. F. Adams, and his symbol, a horse’s head, within an equilateral triangle.  His badge hangs from a larger badge made from purple ribbon and silver cut and engraved to resemble an altar with steps above a temple.  It also bears symbols related to the group, such as the emblem of the organization, the nine-pointed Star of Fulfillment enclosed within a triangle, at the center.  Letters on the columns holding up the temple's domed roof refer to virtues valued by the Templars of Honor:  truth, love, purity, and fidelity.  The other side of the round membership badge, pictured below, is not personalized. It bears different symbols important to the group--a lamp, a serpent biting its tail, an altar, and others--in relief.  The Templars made the round signets out of white metal and with silver and gold finishes.

The 1877 Manual of the Templars of Honor and Temperance featured illustrations and a description of the group’s membership badge.  The author noted how members should use this badge, advising them to “Bear this Signet and Symbol with you.  Wear it next to your heart.... Study well its lines, and angles…figures, and letters, and mystic characters.  It will speak to your heart, and its lessons and talismanic power will, if occasion should require…revive your drooping spirit.”

If you have any comments about this Templars of Honor membership badge, or know of other examples, please let us know below.

 

 

 

References:

Rev. George B. Jocelyn, Manual of the Templars of Honor and Temperance, (New York, NY: J. N. Stearns, 1877).

Albert C. Stevens, The Cyclopaedia of Fraternities, (New York, NY: Hamilton Printing and Publishing Company, 1899), 410-412.

“Notes and Queries Temple of Honor Medal,” American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. XIII, July, 1878-July, 1879, October, 1878, 47-48.

 

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Detail, Reverse of Templars of Honor Membership Badge for C. F. Adams, 1850-1900.  United States. Special Acquisitions Fund, 79.3.3a.  Photo by David Bohl.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Digital Collections Highlight: 1855 Masonic Festival Notice

A2010_015_1dDS_webThe Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives' Digital Collections website features a rich collection of digitized documents from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. This week, we highlight a Masonic festival notice from 1855.

Montgomery Lodge, located in Milford, Massachusetts, sent this invitation out to a number of Masonic lodges, inviting them to a St. John's Day celebration that they were planning for Saturday, June 23, 1855. This particular notice was sent to Richard Colton, Master of Harmony Lodge, inviting him, the officers and members of the lodge to the Masonic festival hosted by Montgomery Lodge. A handwritten notice at the bottom of the invitation reads "Fare on B.W.R.R. reduced one half. Please send date of your charter." While it is not clear why Montgomery Lodge was requesting the charter date for lodges that it invited, it is clear that they had arranged for half-fare tickets for those invitees traveling on the Boston & Worcester railroad line.

detailed, 8-page account of the day's events was published in the August 1855 issue of Freemason's Monthly Magazine. The event was large - "probably between four and five hundred Brethren in the procession" - and the food and drink clearly left a lot to be desired. The article was hardly without editorial comments. While praising the day's events - "We heard but one expression among the audience, — that of hearty approval and gratification" - the writer also had a few choice words about the meal that was served after the church services, while also making it clear that he doesn't usually expect much in the way of good food on "such occasions":

After the Benediction the procession was again formed and marched to the new Town Hall, where the tables were spread with the worst dinner we ever sat down to; and we have often been severely tried in this interesting particular, — albeit we are not usually very fastidious on such occasions. Experience has pretty effectually cured us of all such nonsense; but there is a point at which the gastronomic organs revolt! We give the caterer for this occasion, the credit of having reached that point of physical sufferance!

Making dinner speeches on empty stomachs, and drinking toasts in turpentine water, is a rather hazardous experiment! Nevertheless, some of the Brethren present had the courage to attempt it, and under the able presidency of Col. Thompson, succeeded to great satisfaction, and, probably, to their own astonishment! Among the number was the M. W. Grand Master, Dr. [Winslow] Lewis [Jr.], who, in response to a complimentary toast to the Grand Lodge, spoke substantially as follows...[Curious readers may read Lewis's speech here.]

St. John's Day, the June celebration of the birth of St. John the Baptist, has a long tradition in Freemasonry. As early as 1739, the day was well-known enough that Joseph Green (1706-1780) published a satirical anti-Masonic poem about it. A broadside publication of that poem can also be found on our Digital Collections website.

 

Caption:

Masonic Festival Notice, 1855. Milford, Massachusetts. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Gift of Maria Rogers, MA 001.392.


Jewels in Blue

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Cyanotype of a Past Master's Jewel made for Otis E. Weld, 33°. Probably Boston, Massachusetts. Loaned by The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.10643g.

In 1842, British scientist and astronomer Sir John Herschel (1792-1871) invented the cyanotype process—a photographic printing method that produces a cyan-blue print, commonly known as a blueprint. Engineers, scientists and photographers used the process as a simple and low-cost way to produce copies of drawings, photographs, and technical and architectural plans, from the 1870s through the 1950s.

Some cyanotype examples are in the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts collection at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. These particular cyanotypes are photographs of Masonic jewels and likely belonged to Otis Everett Weld, 33°(1840-1897). They are part of a larger group that appear to be documenting jewels owned by Weld. Weld, born in Boston, was head of the Otis E. Weld & Co, wine merchants and director of the Third National Bank and Bolyston Insurance Company.

Initiated in 1866 in the Lodge of Eleusis, he served as Junior Grand Warden and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1880 and 1894, respectively. Weld was also a member of St. Bernard Commandery and St. Andrew’s Chapter, both in Boston, and a trustee and financial benefactor for Masonic organizations.

In the June 1897 Grand Lodge of Massachusetts proceedings Thomas W. Davis (1844-1914) offered these kind words in his memorial, "His advancement in our Order was due not alone to his gifts of popularity, boundless though they seemed; not because he was an appreciative student of the ritual, but because the teachings of the Institution permeated his very being...".

These photographs show the varied ways the cyanotype process could be utilized beyond architectural plans. Have you encountered images using this photographic process? Have you seen jewels similar to Otis E. Welds's? Let us know in the comments section below.

References:

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, (Boston, Massachusetts: Rockwell & Churchill, 1897) 101.

Cyanotypes, The Atlas of Analytical Signatures of Photographic Processes The Getty Conservation Institute,https://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/atlas_cyanotype.pdf, accessed June 2019.

GL2004_10641eDS1
Cyanotype of Grand Master's Jewel made for Otis E. Weld, 33°. Probably Boston, Massachusetts. Loaned by The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.10643e