American History - 19th Century

Magic Lanterns and Snow Balls

2008_023_129DS1"The Snow Ball--1. 'Joe made a ball as big as an orange.'" 1895-1925. A. D. Handy Stereopticons and Supplies, Boston, MA. Gift of Anne R. Berntsen, 2008.023.129.

The holidays are here! At this time of year we seek shelter from the cold, staying indoors with loved ones, comfort foods, and, of course, entertainment. In 2020, that last item often comes in the form of glowing images on a screen—but did you know that over a hundred years ago, things weren’t so different as you might imagine? 

In the late 1800s, a device known as the magic lantern was used in American households as well as at schools, churches, and other venues. Also called stereopticons, magic lanterns earned their more common moniker by dazzling audiences with glowing projected images. These machines were invented in the late 1600s. The technology developed and the device became easier to use over the next two centuries. Here at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, we have a number of these early slide projectors—many Masonic lodges used magic lanterns to deliver lectures. You may see examples and read more about their fascinating and varied history at our online exhibition Illuminating Brotherhood: Magic Lanterns and Slides from the Collection.

2008_023_130DS1"The Snow Ball--2. 'And the farther it went the bigger it grew.'" 1895-1925. A. D. Handy Stereopticons and Supplies, Boston, MA. Gift of Anne R. Berntsen, 2008.023.130.

Many types of slides and programs were developed to use with magic lanterns. By the late 1800s their production—largely focused in the northeastern U.S.—was booming, with slides being made for every imaginable purpose, from advertising and entertainment to educational presentations offered in schools, public lecture halls, churches, and fraternal organizations. Some slides featured photographs while others bore hand-colored images. Many told humorous stories with successive images and accompanying text. For example, "The Snow Ball", three slides of which are pictured here, illustrates the amusing hijinks of a group of boys whose snow creation wreaks havoc on a country town. A long-lived Boston stereopticon company named A. D. Handy produced these slides. You may view the rest of the riotous story of the snow ball, as well as more magic lantern slides produced by this company and others, at our Flickr page

 

2008_023_136DS1"The Snow Ball--8. It was Darwin's latest, 'The Descent of Man!'" 1895-1925. A. D. Handy Stereopticons and Supplies, Boston, MA. Gift of Anne R. Berntsen, 2008.023.136.

Do you have any magic lantern stories to share, or perhaps slides or projectors in your attic? Let us know in the comments section below! As always, we invite you to visit our other online exhibitions and explore our collections online. Happy holidays!

 

 


Online Exhibition - Illustrated Patriotic Envelopes of the American Civil War

A1985_012_0733The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library invites you to explore our new online exhibition, “Illustrated Patriotic Envelopes of the American Civil War” now available on the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives Digital Collections website. The objects in the exhibition are from a collection of over 1,000 Illustrated patriotic envelopes of the American Civil War that were donated to the museum by William Caleb Loring, 33° (1925-2011).

Following the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as President of the United States, seven states in which slavery was legal individually seceded from the Union. They did so because of Lincoln’s opposition to the expansion of slavery in the western United States. South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas declared themselves the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.), and established a capital first in Montgomery, Alabama and then in Richmond, Virginia. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina in April 1861, four more slave-holding states joined the Confederacy. The C.S.A. was never officially recognized by the United States or any foreign government. The American Civil War, fought between the Union and the Confederate South, lasted until 1865. Casualties on both sides, from death, disease, and wounds, totaled over one million.

Shortly after the war began, publishers began printing illustrated envelopes (also known as covers) related to the war. The designs treated a variety of subjects, such as soldiers, battles, and patriotism. Publishers released 3,000-4,000 individual Union designs and no more than 160 individual Confederate designs of this form of wartime propaganda. Americans quickly began collecting these envelopes and, as early as 1861, manufacturers marketed albums that consumers could fill with examples that they had acquired. Soldiers also put these envelopes to practical use, using them to mail letters home to their families. These envelopes offer an immediate view on the bold rhetoric and political passions of the American Civil War.

If you haven't already, be sure to visit the Museum's online exhibition website for more online exhibitions.

 


A Supreme Council, and a Nation, Mourns the Death of a President

In commemoration of President Abraham Lincoln's life and the impact that his assassination in April 1865 had upon the nation and the fraternity, the staff of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library wish to present this highlight from the collection, Supreme Council member Benjamin Dean's hand-written preamble and resolutions regarding the death of President Lincoln. This document demonstrates how, as Freemasons, one of the fraternity’s governing bodies, the Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, expressed not only their sorrow for the President's death, but how the Lincoln assassination was an affront to what Freemasonry embodied.  

A2019_097_003DS1Handwritten preamble and resolution of Benjamin Dean, 1865 May 17.
 

In the Supreme Council of Sovereign Inspectors General 33º for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States,

May 17, 1865.

Since the last annual meeting of this Supreme Council the nation has been deprived of its chief magistrate by the hand of an assassin.

It is peculiarly fit + proper that a body assembled from all the States of our Jurisdiction, and representing so largely our numerous + influencial [sic] brotherhood, a brotherhood whose ancient charges inculcate among its first duties – “to be peaceable citizens + cheerfully to conform to the laws of the country in which we reside – to avoid being concerned in plots and conspiracies against government + cheerfully to submit to the decisions of the Supreme Legislature; it is fit + proper that such an assemblage – true to its teachings – should give some expression to the family of our deceased + honored President, of our sympathy with their misfortunes, + pray for the restoration of peace to their troubled minds.

Therefore, resolved – that we deplore the untimely end of our late honored President Abraham Lincoln – cut off by horrid violence – in the midst of the high dignities imposed upon him by this people.

Resolved – that we sympathize with the nation + with his distressed family in their unparallelled [sic] affliction.

Resolved, that this expression of our sympathy be spread upon our records, + a copy thereof be sent by our Secretary General to the family of our deceased President.

Unanimously passed by the Supreme Council, Dean’s measure was only one of many tributes paid by Freemasons to the martyred President throughout the summer of 1865. And although the President was not a Freemason, in an interview in October 1860 with the American poet and Freemason Rob Morris, presidential candidate Lincoln intimated his “great respect” for the fraternity, and it was widely speculated and reported that Lincoln had only “postpone[d] his application for the honors of Masonry” until after his second term as President and the great burden of office had passed.


Captions

Handwritten preamble and resolution of Benjamin Dean, 1865 May 17. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, SC 300.002.

References

“A Conversation with Mr. Lincoln.” Voice of Masonry and Tidings from the Craft 3, no. 6 (June 1865): 248.

 


Recent Acquisitions: A Spanish-American War Commemorative Fan

2019_006_9DP1JF
Fan, ca.1898. United States. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory L. McKinley, 2019.006.9. Julia Featheringill Photography.

Manufacturers made a variety of political and military memorabilia in the late 1800s and early 1900s commemorating William Mckinley’s (1843-1901) presidency and the Spanish-American war (April 1898-August 1898). This 1900 fabric and wood fan featured black and white photographs of President William McKinley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), and seven U.S. naval military leaders who participated in the Spanish-American war, including Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917) and William Rufus Shafter (1835-1906), also known as “Pecos Bill.”

The United States won the brief conflict and effectively ended Spanish rule in the Americas. Their victory produced a peace treaty, in which Spain ceded control of Cuba and relinquished control of Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States. In this same treaty Spain also agreed to sell the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty on February 6, 1899, by only one vote. Author Cynthia Fendel noted that these popular patriotic photographic fans also sometimes featured McKinley’s presidential cabinet or the American and Cuban flags. 

This recently donated fan is part of a collection of nearly fifty campaign and memorial items related to President and Freemason William McKinley. Many of these items are currently on display at the Museum & Library. Visit our website to learn more about these items. 

References:


Cynthia Fendel, Novelty Hand Fans, Fashionable Functional Fun Accessories of the Past, (Dallas, TX: Hand Fan Productions, 2006).


Freemasonry and the Growth of Nursing during the Civil War

Research into this recent acquisition to the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library highlights the Fraternity’s efforts to support the Union through the creation of the Masonic Mission, an agency created and “managed wholly by Masons.”

A2018_146_001DS001Circular letter from W. H. Hadley of the Masonic Mission to Mosaic Lodge, September 20, 1864.

 

As many readers may know, the support and care of sick and wounded soldiers throughout the war was carried out by private relief agencies and not by the federal government. The most well-known of these private agencies was the United States Sanitary Commission, which was created by an act of federal legislation in 1861 and was responsible for the set-up, staffing, and management of almost all Union hospitals during the war.

However, as Union losses mounted in the early years of the Civil War, the Sanitary Commission found it more and more difficult to drum up the necessary support to meet the demand for female nurses by late 1862. As William Hobart Hadley, the author of this circular letter, a Mason, and an agent for the Sanitary Commission in the New England states, reported, anti-Republican sentiment permeated the areas he had canvassed for help. The hearts of people throughout the North had hardened to the fate of the Union by April 1863.

During this same period, another member of the Masonic family tree, Sarah P. Edson, a volunteer nurse, and possibly a holder of all the Adoptive Degrees, sought to address the growing need for nurses on the front lines. After her first effort to create a training school for women nurses met with opposition from the Sanitary Commission and the Surgeon General of the United States in a Senate committee, Edson sought the help of New York’s Freemasons. In response to Edson’s pleas, the “Army Nurses’ Association was formed . . . and commenced work under the auspices of the Masons” in the winter of 1862.

By the time of the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864), Union surgeons on the front lines requested that Edson, who had rushed to help at the front, send ten of her “nurses then receiving instruction as part of her class at Clinton Hall, New York.” The Masonic Mission was formed shortly after, and by the time of the Battle of the Crater (July 30, 1864), the agency worked in partnership with the Sanitary Commission, the Christian Commission, and other state and local agencies to help the Army create a “hospital tent city, which could care for twelve thousand patients.”

After a brief period of success, political clashes with the Sanitary Commission and the failure of its managers to pay its female nurses led to the demise of the Masonic Mission as a school for Army nurses. The Mission would refocus its efforts on aiding the North’s poor who were hit especially hard by the rising cost of coal for heating and flour. Sarah P. Edson’s ambitious plan to create an Army-based school for nursing would have to wait until Congress established the United States Army Nurse Corps in 1901, and the Navy followed suit in 1908.


Captions

Circular letter from W. H. Hadley of the Masonic Mission to Mosaic Lodge, September 20, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 260.006.


References

Attie, Jeanie. 1998. Patriotic Toil: Northern Women and the American Civil War. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Brockett, L. P. and Mary C. Vaughan. 1867. “Mrs. Sarah P. Edson.” In Woman’s Work in the Civil War: A Record of Heroism, Patriotism and Patience, 440-447. Philadelphia: Zeigler, McCurdy & Co. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=0aDhAAAAMAAJ

Carpenter, C. C. 1903. “William Hobart Hadley, 21, Waterford Vt.” In Biographical Catalogue of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Phillips Academy, Andover, 1778-1830, 143. Andover, Mass.: Andover Press. Accessed: 5 February 2019.https://books.google.com/books?id=HbNBAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA143

Edson, Sarah P. 1865. “The Masonic Mission and the Five Points Mission.” New York Herald, January 9 1865. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030313/1865-01-09/ed-1/seq-2/#date1=1865&index=0&date2=1865

Frank, Linda C. 2012. “Our Famous Women, Part 1.” Auburnpub.com, March 11, 2012. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/our-famous-women-part-i/article_33d1b54c-6b05-11e1-a597-0019bb2963f4.html

Mitchell, E. L. “Masonic Charities.” Masonic Monthly 2, no. 3 (January): 118-120. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://archive.org/details/MasonicMonthlyVolII1864/page/n129

Morris, Rob. 1864. “The Masonic Mission.” The Voice of Masonry and Tidings from the Craft 2, no. 6 (June): 276-277. Accessed: 5 February 2019. https://books.google.com/books?id=zd0cAQAAMAAJ&dq="masonic%20mission" 1864&pg=PA276   

Oates, Stephen B. 1994. Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War. New York: The Free Press.

Sarnecky, Mary T. 1999. A History of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Slotkin, Richard. 2009. No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864. New York: Random House.




New Acquisition highlights the challenges faced by Freemasonry in Post-Civil War South Carolina

A2018_009_002DS1As Union forces overtook South Carolina during the Civil War and after, many of the state’s Masonic Lodges were forced to suspend operations because of their members’ military service to the Confederacy and/or the displacement of the state’s civilian population. Such was the case in the city of Charleston, where Union shells fired by batteries on Morris Island prompted Charleston’s Masons to relocate their lodge at least twice, and in the city of Columbia, where the city’s lodge buildings were destroyed over the course of the war. At a meeting called by the Grand Lodge of South Carolina to “devise ways to obtain assistance” for the lodges under its jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge acknowledged its helplessness to aid its subordinate lodges and formed a committee to “urge our brethren abroad” to assist the state’s distressed Masons and Masonic Lodges.

While the war had devastated much of the state, including Georgetown, South Carolina’s, rice-growing economy, the city’s Masonic Lodge, Winyah Lodge, No. 40, had flourished. The Lodge’s “fine large building” had remained untouched, and its brothers continued their work uninterrupted until the summer of 1865, when Union soldiers occupied the city. The following circular letter from the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library documents the occupancy and destruction of Winyah Lodge’s building by Union soldiers of the 15th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the months just after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. In it, the authors, two of which served in the Confederate military, petition their fellow Masons, both North and South, to aid Winyah Lodge in the rebuilding of their “lost Temple.” They describe in detail how the white soldiers of the 15th Maine torched their lodge building in response to being “relieved by a Battalion of United States colored Troops” under the command of Colonel A. J. Willard. The circular letter provides a fascinating insight into the difficulties faced by the Fraternity, as well as the country, in post-Civil War America, as well as touching upon issues such as race.

In the aftermath of the destruction of their lodge building and its contents by the 15th Maine, Winyah Lodge’s efforts to collect restitution from the Federal Government for its losses were blocked until the passage of the Tucker Act of 1887. This act waived the sovereign immunity of the United States in certain lawsuits, and allowed citizens to sue the Federal Government. Inexplicably, and for some unknown reason, the Lodge failed to take advantage of this new law until 1906, when the Trustees of Winyah Lodge, No. 40, filed their case. In the following year, the court, which noted this suspiciously long gap between the incident in question and the filing of the case, ruled that it could not determine from the evidence presented who started the fire. 

 

 


Caption

Circular letter from Winyah Lodge, No. 40, to Pacific Lodge, No. 45, June 4, 1873. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 540.001

References

Boyd, Mary, and James H. Clark (2010). Georgetown and Winyah Bay. Charlestown, S.C.: Arcadia Pub.

Emanuel, S. (1909). An Historical Sketch of the Georgetown Rifle Guards and as Co. A of the Tenth Regiment, So. Ca. Volunteers, in the Army of the Confederate States. South Carolina: [no publisher]. Accessed: 27 June 2018. https://archive.org/details/02830886.3413.emory.edu

Shorey, Henry A. (1890). The Story of the Maine Fifteenth. Bridgeton, Me.: Press of the Bridgton News. Accessed: 27 June 2018. https://archive.org/details/storyofmainefif00shor

 “From the Quarries.” American Tyler 8, 1 (1894): 836-837. Accessed: 27 June 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=vctNAAAAMAAJ&dq=%22winyah%20lodge%2C%20No.%2040%22%20masons%20georgetown&pg=PA837#v=onepage&q=%22three%20months'%20vacation%22&f=false

U.S. Congress. Senate. United States Congressional Serial Set. Trustees of Winyah Lodge No. 40, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Georgetown S.C. 59th Cong., 2d sess., 1907. S. Doc. No. 225, serial 5071. Accessed: 27 June 2018. https://books.google.com/books/about/United_States_Congressional_serial_set.html?id=K-o3AQAAIAAJ

United States National Park Service. “Soldiers and Sailors Database: Emanuel, Solomon.” Accessed: 27 June 2018. https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers-detail.htm?soldierId=8FEEAE9A-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A


Illustrated Patriotic Envelopes of the American Civil War - now on view

A1985_012_1020DSNow on view in the reading room of the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library are a selection of 32 illustrated patriotic envelopes of the American Civil War. Nearly all of the envelopes on exhibition are from a collection of over 1,000 illustrated patriotic envelopes of the American Civil War that were donated to the museum by William Caleb Loring, 33° (1925-2011). 

Following the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) as President of the United States, seven states in which slavery was legal individually seceded from the Union. They did so because of Lincoln’s opposition to the expansion of slavery in the western United States. A1985_012_0111DSSouth Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas declared themselves the Confederate States of America (C.S.A.), and established a capital first in Montgomery, Alabama and then in Richmond, Virginia. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina in April 1861, four more slave-holding states joined the Confederacy. The C.S.A. was never officially recognized by the United States or any foreign government. The American Civil War, fought between the Union and the Confederate South, lasted until 1865. Casualties on both sides, from death, disease, and wounds, totaled over one million.

A1985_012_0563DSShortly after the war began, publishers began printing illustrated envelopes (also known as covers) related to the war. The designs treated a variety of subjects, such as soldiers, battles, and patriotism. Publishers released 3,000-4,000 individual Union designs and no more than 160 individual Confederate designs of this form of wartime propaganda.  Americans quickly began collecting these envelopes and, as early as 1861, manufacturers marketed albums that consumers could fill with examples that they had acquired. A1985_012_0297DSSoldiers also put these envelopes to practical use, using them to mail letters home to their families. These envelopes offer an immediate view on the bold rhetoric and political passions of the American Civil War.

Illustrated Patriotic Envelopes of the American Civil War is on view in the reading room through December 1, 2018.

Captions:

Top left:
“USA,” 1861-1865
Published by Car Bell
Hartford, Connecticut
A85/012/1020

Top right:
“Remember Fort Sumter!,” 1861-1865
A85/012/0111

Bottom left:
“Traitor. Patriot,” 1861-1865
Engraved by Carpenter & Allen
Boston, Massachusetts
A85/012/0563

Bottom right:
“Haines’ Envelope Holder,” 1861
Published by J.M. Whittemore & Co.
Boston, Massachusetts
A85/012/0297

 

 


Digital Collections Highlight: Civil War Discharge Certificate

A2011_006_1DS1_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, in commemoration of Veterans’ Day, we highlight this Civil War discharge certificate, issued to James Foran in September 1864 at Philadelphia.

Foran (1840-1906), pictured below in a tintype portrait from the museum's collection, was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1859. Foran entered the service as a Private of Company G, 8th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry on September 2, 1861. He was wounded by a gunshot in the left side at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. James Foran tintypeOne of the major battles of the American Civil War, the Battle of Chancellorsville took place near the village of Chancellorsville, Virginia, from April 30 to May 6, 1863. Foran was wounded on May 3, the fiercest day of fighting of the battle—a day that was also the second bloodiest day of the Civil War. The Battle of Chancellorsville resulted in heavy losses on both the Union and Confederate sides.

Nearly a year later, on May 1, 1864, Foran was transferred to the 162nd Company, 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps where he served at Cuyler General Hospital at Germantown, Pennsylvania. Originally organized as the Invalid Corps in 1863, the renamed Veteran Reserve Corps was organized at Cuyler General Hospital on March 20, 1864. The Corps was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the Civil War. In existence until 1869, its purpose was to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirm soldiers – or former soldiers – to perform light duty. Foran served with the Veteran Reserve Corps for four months, mustering out on September 3, 1864 at the expiration of his term of service.

In 1870, he married Mary Connell (1847-1913), with whom he had three children. Foran died in 1906 at the age of 65 and is buried in Lambertville, New Jersey.

You can check out other tintypes from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection here and other digitized Civil War-related Library & Archives items here.

 

Captions:

Civil War Discharge Certificate, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Gift of George Sommer, USM 001.336.

James Foran, ca. 1861. United States. Gift of George Sommer, 2011.004.2. Photograph by David Bohl.

 

 

 

 


New Acquisitions Brings Attention to the Character and Life of a Freemason

Recently, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library acquired a collection of four Civil War letters written to Reverend Alonzo Hall Quint, the chaplain of the Second Massachusetts Volunteers and a Freemason. Below are images from two of the letters in this collection, as well as a transcription for both, which highlight Quint's humanity and his contributions to the Fraternity.

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  Blog image 2Letter from Moses Williams to Alonzo Hall Quint, August 24, 1862

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Boston, Aug. 24 1862
Revd. Alonzo H. Quint
Chaplain of the 2d Regt of Mass. Volunteers

My Dear Sir, I received by Thomas Connolly your letter of the 12th instant. For the account given of my son [William Blackstone Williams], and for your thoughtfulness in sending a lock of his hair, you have the heart felt thanks of myself and all my family. I was not prepared for the sad event, and I feel humbled that I was not, for the life of [a] true soldier is always uncertain. His business is to cheerfully obey orders whatever may be the result. My son, I believed to be cool and courageous, with a quick eye to perceive, and not wreckless [sic], and I had never thought that he would be killed in this war, but he died, as a patriot should die, in the cause of his country. He was my youngest son, and I mourn his loss, for he was a generous, manly, gallant boy. for yourself he had an affectionate regard, and always spoke of you, as the best man he knew, for the place you fill, and

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I am happy to bear testimony of the same expression from other officers in your regiments. In fact, they say you were on the battlefield doing what you could for the dead and wounded all  night after the battle. May God reward you for all your humane and patriotic deeds, and may he save our beloved country in this terrible hour of her tryal [sic]. Tom says he was near my son, when he was shot, that he with another helped him off a short distance, until the suffering was so great, that he ordered them to lay him down, and that when he was found, he was in a different place, and that there was in addition to the shot in the body, an apparent bayonet thrust in the neck. Will you tell me if you noticed any such thing. [sic] For your very kind notice of my son, and your consoling letter, in this my time of severe tryal [sic], you will always have my respect and esteem.

Very Truly,
Your friend, Moses Williams


A2017_048_4DSLetter from Grand Master William Parkman to
Alonzo Hall Quint, November 17, 1864

Boston, Nov. 17, 1864
Rev. A. H. Quint

My Dear Bro.
Yours under date of 8th is to hand and I am very much grateful to learn you are still alive and are about starting the Lodge anew. If you will please insert upon the back of the dispensation you now have the names of the Brethren to be associated with you and the date when added and also [send in/fill in?] the names of the officers you [?] appointed [and send it to me?]. I will make the endorsements that will [legalize?] you to now go, [?] and you will do so with my hearty good wishes for good success and happiness; the [work?] is one of sure success! And which will yield you a rich Reward and bring honor to your Mother Grand Lodge; be assured my heart is with and will do all I can to encourage you. With my very kind regards to all and especially to yourself. I am

Fraternally
William Parkman
Gr. Master

During his three-year military service to the country and throughout his life, Alonzo Hall Quint played an active role in the development and growth of Freemasonry. In 1861, after being mustered into the Army, Quint took on a leadership role in his regiment’s lodge, Bunker Hill Army Lodge, No. 5. He served as the Lodge’s Senior Warden, a position he held for the duration of the Lodge’s existence, and on several occasions served as the Lodge’s Acting Master, a position thrust upon Quint because of personnel changes, battle-related or otherwise. After Quint completed his military service in 1864, he continued his active participation and support of the Fraternity. In 1870, he accepted the appointment to the office of Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in great part to take a stand against the rebirth of the Anti-Masonic movement.

Alonzo Hall Quint died on November 4, 1896; an article in the Boston Evening Transcript commemorated his life, a life well lived.     

 


Captions

Letter from Moses Williams to Alonzo Hall Quint, August 24, 1862. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.

Letter from Grand Master William Parkman to Alonzo Hall Quint, November 17, 1864. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 390.003.


New Acquisition Highlights Masonic Political Resistance to the Anti-Masonic Period in Vermont

Research into a new acquisition to the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, an 1830 letter written by a Freemason to the Past Master of his lodge, reveals a much more complex and interesting story of the Anti-Masonic movement in America. The movement began well before the death of William Morgan in 1826, and may be divided into two distinct periods: the moral opposition to Freemasonry, which began around 1790, and the political opposition to Freemasonry, which began after the election of President Andrew Jackson in 1828. 

This basic timeline for the birth and evolution of Anti-Masonry was typified in the state of Vermont, the home state of both the author and recipient of the Archives’ 1830 letter. Moral opposition to Freemasonry arose as early as 1798 by members of the Baptist Church, and it continued in this form in the state of Vermont until 1829, when President Jackson’s use of the spoils system to remove Democratic office holders prompted the Anti-Masons to form a political party. This letter from the collection provides one Mason’s response to the growth and threat of Anti-Masonry as a political movement. It represents the opinion of a political insider and provides us with a fascinating insight into American politics. 

The letter, written by Justus Burdick (1793-1849) of Burlington, Vermont, to Vermont Secretary of State Norman Williams (1791-1868) of Woodstock, Vermont, is reproduced below, along with a transcription.

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Burlington. Oct. 3 1830

Dear Sir,

I received yours by [Mr. Brown?] last evening who left in the Boat at 9 o’clock for his majesty’s dominions. -- I am well aware that the election in yr [your] town must have been [a] matter of deep regret among you, as well as in other parts of the state. -- We here regretted it the more on account of the effect it would have in favor of the Antis. -- And we see those effects which were anticipated now making their appearance.  -- How it is expected that the “[?]” is coming out, and I believe that Jno N. Pomeroy and Gam Sawyer the partner of Jno. C. broke ground yesterday + we shall be disappointed if it does not turn out that Hon Jno. C. himself and Bill Griswold are at the bottom  of it. -- The state will become Antimason, beyond doubt. The thing will be cut + carved at Montpelier, many very many will act with that party, who wish for office, who we have not yet suspected. There are various reasons for [guessing?] so. -- In the first place, our party expected nothing not even civil treatment from the hands of the Adams men therefore it is six of one and ½ doz of the other with us

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which of the parties rule the State. -- the Antis can do no more than proscribe all of us, and that much the nationals will do. -- Then again, the Clay men must be satisfied that their party can never here after alone make any election in this state, and their troops will desert by dozens + scores. -- The parties will stand at 90 Adams, 80 Antis, 50 Jackson and on the election of Gov. Crafts can get only a part of the Adams men + now the others. -- I therefore set him down as defunct. -- Meech is also out of the question -- his party will sooner go for an Anti candidate than Crafts. -- Then what is to be done? -- We hope that there will some arrangement be made between Crafts + Meech’s friends to go together for some person and elect him. -- If they will join forces the state is saved from disgrace. -- They can make the Gov. Senator, and Supreme Court and if they will act together on these questions this fall, they can go together also in one ticket in 1831 which will insure success. -- but if no overtures are made and accepted between those parties, then the State becomes Antimason -- certain -- Unless we are very much deceived Palmer stands a good chance for Senator as he will have the support of our people in preference to [your?] neighbor. We shall run a Jackson man but without expecting to elect him. -- I have no doubt should the Antis get the reins they will another year at least

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None of those persons, masons, who went with the Antis in [your?] election have disgraced themselves. except [B. F.M.?] the others had no character to lose --

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Turn you out [?] + [?], + Maj. Swan Also -- now I apprehend that if the plan of uniting the two parties should come from [your?] county backed up by the most able men say Mr. Swan, Mr. Marsh, Wyllys Lyman, Mr. Everett + [co?]. You would succeed -- We are willing to do anything which is consistent and honorable, as I believe, to put down Anti-ism. -- I have nothing to lose thank God -- but I would rather lose my liberty one year than Titus should ride into the Senate on the Antimasonic hobby. I have not the least doubt of [your?] election this year. But I think you would stand better another year, if this union of parties can be brought about. And if you are of the same way of thinking you can do much. -- And as I believe risk nothing. -- The train must be set at home and when arrived at Montpelier. Then must be our great caucus, made up of all the members opposed to the Antimasonic rule, and they must agree who shall be Gov. and who shall be senator also and who shall be the Supreme Court. -- [There?] would be no trouble in convening a sufficient number to carry any measure and they would then stand pledged to draw to-gether. -- The measure however must be proposed by Adams men and not by us -- Mr. Marsh must come to Montpelier in good season too. He is no mason and can do much -- say to him so if you please -- these remarks are merely hints for your consideration, I may be wrong.

Yours truly
J. Burdick
 

Captions

Letter from Justus Burdick to Norman Williams, October 3, 1830. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 600.001.