Freemasonry and the Civil War

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.

 


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


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 1

 

 

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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.


A Fraternity Goes to War: The History of a Masonic Civil War Certificate


From April 1861 until the end of September 1863, the Grand Lodge of Illinois issued 1,757 Masonic war certificates to Illinois Master Masons, and eventually to the sons of Master Masons, as a type of traveling certificate, which would vouch for their good Masonic standing to their Confederate brothers whom they would meet on the battlefield.

This certificate, a gift to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library from Rushville Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M., had been issued to Corporal Phineas Lovejoy of the 3rd Regiment, Illinois Cavalry on December 23, 1861. Research into his life reveals that Lovejoy had been elected Most Worshipful Master of Columbus Lodge, No. 227, and was the first cousin once removed of abolitionist editor Elijah P. Lovejoy and his brother U.S. Congressman Owen Lovejoy, a friend of Abraham Lincoln.

 

A2015_051_DS1
Masonic War Certificate for Phineas Lovejoy, December 23, 1861.

Census records for the years 1850 and 1860 document that Phineas worked as a farmer, and articles found in the Quincy Whig (provided by the Quincy Public Library) capture his very active political life, including Lovejoy’s election to town clerk for the township of Honey Creek (April 1859). The Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls documents that, like many Illinoisans, Lovejoy swiftly joined the army on August 5, 1861, less than four months after the first shots had been fired upon Fort Sumter, and that he and his regiment took part in the Battle of Pea Ridge.

Phineas Lovejoy did not survive the war, and records consulted for this blog post do not reveal the cause of his death. What we only know for certain is that Lovejoy was mustered out on August 9, 1862, and died on that same day on the Steamer “White Cloud,” somewhere offshore near Memphis, Tennessee. Having said that, after consulting the National Park Service’s website Battle Unit Details, we do know that Lovejoy’s cavalry unit was stationed at Helena, Arkansas, from July 14, 1862, until December 1863. Historian Rhonda M. Kohl explains in her article “This Godforsaken Town”: Death and Disease at Helena, Arkansas, 1862-63, the Union camp at Helena was a sickly place. It “created an unhealthy environment for residents and soldiers,” and “as soon as the Union troops occupied Helena, sickness [dysentery, typhoid, and malaria] overtook the men.” From Kohl’s account of the conditions at Helena, it seems likely that Phineas Lovejoy may have been seriously ill when he was mustered out in August and died while being transported north for medical treatment.   



Caption

Masonic War Certificate for Phineas Lovejoy, December 23, 1861. Gift of Rushville Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M. (Rushville, Illinois). Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 007.

References

Ancestry.com. U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2012.

Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009.

Bateman, Newton, and Paul Selby, eds. (1899). William Owen Lovejoy. In Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and Knox County. (pp. 735-736). New York: Munsell. https://books.google.com/books?id=Oj5JAQAAMAAJ  16 October 2015.

Grand Lodge of Illinois (1861). Returns of Lodges: Columbus Lodge, No. 227. In Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, (pp. 227). Springfield, Illinois: Steam Press of Bailhache and Baker.

Grand Lodge of Illinois (1863). War Certificates. In Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, (pp. 15). Springfield, Illinois: Steam Press of Bailhache and Baker.

Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2009

Kohl, Ronda M. “‘This Godforsaken Town:’ Death and Disease at Helena, Arkansas, 1862-63.” Civil War History 50, no. 2 (June 2004): 109-144.

State of Illinois. “Lovejoy, Phineas.” Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls Database. Accessed: 16 October 2015. http://www.ilsos.gov/isaveterans/civilMusterSearch.do?key=154306

United States National Park Service. “3rd Regiment, Illinois Cavalry.” Battle Unit Details. Accessed: 16 October 2015. http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UIL0003RC


Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth Day

85_41DP1
Ambrotype of Unidentified Man in Masonic Apron and Independent Order of Odd Fellows Collar, 1855-1865, unidentified maker, United States, Museum purchase, 85.41. Photograph by David Bohl.

June 19th will be the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth day, also known as Emancipation Day, in the United States.  Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863 declaring that slaves in all states still at war with the federal government were free and would remain so.The proclamation was not fully realized until June 19, 1865, when Union General Gordon Granger (1821-1876) announced freedom for all slaves in the Southwest including Texas, the last rebel state to allow slavery following the end of the Civil War. The day is believed to have been named “Juneteenth” by those freed in Texas in 1865.The 13th amendment outlawing slavery everywhere in the United States was subsequently ratified in December 1865.

Since that time, nationwide grassroots celebrations have commemorated this significant moment in American history. In June 2014, the U.S. Senate passed legislation formally recognizing June 19th as “Juneteenth Independence Day” and supporting the nationwide celebration of the holiday.  In light of this anniversary the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is taking a moment to highlight some of the items in our collection related to African American Freemasonry (commonly referred to as Prince Hall Freemasonry) and fraternalism.

The Prince Hall Monument
The Prince Hall Monument in Cambridge, MA was unveiled on May 15, 2010.  Image courtesy of The Prince Hall Monument Project.

African American Freemasonry emerged in 1775 when Prince Hall (1738-1807), an active Methodist and leading citizen in Boston’s African American community, attempted to join Boston’s Masonic Lodges but was denied membership. In response, he and fourteen other African Americans who had been rejected by the established Boston lodges turned to a Masonic Lodge attached to a British regiment stationed in the city. Initiated in 1775, Hall and his Masonic brothers met as members of the British lodge until the Revolutionary War ended. In 1784 Prince Hall and the other members of the British lodge, petitioned the Grand Lodge of England to form a new lodge on American soil. The governing body granted his request, creating African Lodge No. 459.

When Prince Hall died in 1807, African American masons chose to give their fraternity his name to distinguish it from predominantly white “mainstream” lodges that generally excluded blacks throughout the 1800s and early 1900s. Today, there are reported to be over 4500 Prince Hall Lodges worldwide. After the civil war, Prince Hall Freemasonry and other fraternal groups, like the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows and Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World spread throughout the North and South, helping to establish community institutions and benefits for freed families. Prince Hall and other African American Masonic leaders like Moses Dickson (1824-1901) and Lewis Hayden (1811-1889) were  influential activists in the abolitionist and civil rights movements of their era. Their leadership and influence emphasizes how Freemasonry and fraternalism impacted civil rights efforts and afforded African Americans the opportunity to organize toward an equal and free black citizenship in American society.  

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is continuing to look for items related to African American Freemasonry and fraternalism and welcomes inquiries about potential donations. To see items related to African American Freemasonry and fraternalism currently in our collection please visit our museum Flickr page.

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99_044_7DP1DBThis apron originally belonged to an unidentified member of Wilmington, North Carolina’s James W. Telfair Lodge No. 510 who was initiated in March 1915. The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina was chartered in 1870. The lodge was named for James W. Telfair Jr. (1837-1914), a slave who later became a reverend at St. Stephen’s African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. Telfair served as Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina.  

 

 

Caption: Prince Hall Master Mason Apron, United States, 1915, unidentified maker, United States, Museum purchase, 99.044.7. Photograph by David Bohl.

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  RARE 90_H414 1866In December of 1865, Lewis Hayden, Grand Master of the Massachusetts Prince Hall Grand Lodge, delivered a stirring address to members of that Grand Lodge, calling into question the continued discrimination of African Americans in some Masonic lodges and American society.

Caption: Caste among Masons; address before Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Massachusetts, at the festival of St. John the Evangelist, December 27, 1865 By Lewis Hayden, Grand Master.(Boston, Massachusetts: Edward S. Coombs & Company, [1866])

Call number: RARE 90.H414 1866.

 

 

 

 

 

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80_9_1DI1 The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows was created in Europe and is a fraternal group that includes mutual benefits. Peter Ogden created the American counterpart of GUOOF in 1843 after obtaining a charter from the fraternal society of England. Membership exploded after the Civil War when African Americans were able to organize lodges in the south. The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows reported a membership of 108,000 in the late 1990s.

 Caption: Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Chart, 1881, Currier & Ives, New York, 80.9.1. Photograph by David Bohl.

 

 

 

 

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  95_049_2DI2The Improved Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of the World is an African American fraternal order founded in 1897. The IBPOEW offered leadership training, professional networking opportunities, social fellowship, and community service.

Caption: Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World Apron, 1900-1920, USA, Unidentified maker, Museum purchase. Photograph by David Bohl.

References:

Jeffrey Croteau. "Prince Hall: Masonry and the Man." The Northern Light Feb. 2011: 10-13.

Peter P. Hinks and Stephen Kantrowitz, eds. All Men Free and Brethren: Essays on the History of African American Freemasonry (New York: Cornell University Press, 2013).

Nina Mjagkij, ed. Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations (New York: Garland Publishing, 2001).

Aimee E. Newell, The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library (Lexington, MA: Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, 2015), 222-224.

Previous Blog Posts:

Jeffrey Croteau. "Moses Dickson and the Order of Twelve." Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Blog. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. May 26, 2008

Aimee Newell. "A New Discovery about an old photo." Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Blog. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.May 1, 2012.

Aimee Newell. "From Boston to Washington D.C.: Prince Hall Freemasonry." Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Blog. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. February 4, 2010.


Civil War Lecture Explores Black Activists in Boston: March 23 at 2 p.m.

Our 2013 Civil War Lecture Series begins this weekend! Join us for the first lecture in the series. The series explores the history of this divisive war and its meaning for our nation today.

Stephen Kantrowitz KANTROWITZ
A Citizenship of the Heart: Black Activists and Universal Brotherhood in Civil War-Era Boston
Saturday, March 23 at 2 p.m., free

Stephen Kantrowitz, Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will explore how the fight to abolish slavery was part of a broader campaign by Boston’s African American community to claim full citizenship. The talk will trace the activities of Prince Hall Freemason Lewis Hayden, a fugitive slave and Boston anti-slavery activist. Hayden’s Masonic engagement reflects the development of ideas and practices of black citizenship as tool to remake the republic into a place where all men could belong. Kantrowitz will be available after the talk to sign his book, More than Freedom: Fighting for Black Citizenship in a White Republic, 1829-1889.

The lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Ruby W. and LaVon P. Linn Foundation.

For more information on the Civil War Lecture Series, please refer to the Museum's programs page. For information on visiting the Museum please click here, or call 781 861-6559.

Photo credit: Courtesy Stephen Kantrowitz

 


Lecture and Gallery Talk: Women, Quilting, and the Civil War

Be sure to join us at the Museum on Saturday, October 20. We are offering two free programs about women's contributions to 19th century American public life.

Pam weddingAt 2 pm, Pamela Weeks, Curator of the New England Quilt Museum, will present "Quilts for Civil War Soldiers: Stories from the Home Front and the Battlefield." Weeks is a quilt historian, appraiser, and artist well-known in the region for her expertise. She will share the stories behind three rare surviving Civil War quilts made by caring hands for soldiers fighting for North and South. At her talk, you can learn about the quilts, their makers, life on the home front during the war, and about how civilians organized to get desperately needed aid and supplies to the battlefield.

After the talk, Weeks will sign copies of her 2012 publication, Civil War Quilts, co-authored with Don Beld, which will be available for purchase. Weeks also curated the 2011 New England Quilt Museum exhibition "One Foot Square, Quilted & Bound." The quilts and objects she assembled for it explored a quilting method developed in New England in the nineteenth century. These "potholder quilts" were made from fabric blocks individually layered, quilted and finish-bound, and only then whip-stitched together — "one foot square, quilted and bound." Known in the pre-war period, the technique became a popular way for groups of seamstresses to work together to make quilts for injured and recuperating Civil War soldiers.

This is the final lecture in our 2012 Civil War series of programs. Look for a new Civil War series for 2013 - more information is coming soon! The series explores the history of this divisive conflict, and its meaning for our nation today. It also relates to Museum’s mission of fostering an appreciation of American history, patriotism and Freemasonry, and reflects both current research and exciting themes relevant to our world. The generous sponsorship of Ruby W. Linn permits us to offer the program in both series at no charge to the public. 

MasonicQuilt 1860For further insights into how women used their needlework to help shape public life in 19th century America, join Director of Collections, Aimee Newell, for a 1 PM talk in the "Threads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles" gallery on the same day, Saturday, October 20. See our previous blog post for more information on the talk.

For more information about visiting the Museum, call 781-861-6559 or see our website, www.nationalheritagemuseum.org.

Photo Credits:

Pamela Weeks. Courtesy of Pamela Weeks

Masonic Quilt, ca. 1860, American. Museum purchase, 95.043.11. Photograph by David Bohl.


Gallery Talks: "Threads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles"

2010_006DP1 Statue Liberty quilt_WebCompressWhat contribution did women’s textiles make to Freemasonry’s vibrant shaping of American families and communities in the 1800s and the 1900s?

To find out, join Director of Collections Aimee E. Newell on Saturday, July 28, 2:00 p.m. in the "Threads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles" exhibition. This free gallery talk will offer visitors insights into how women demonstrated knowledge of Masonic values with their needles and created lasting reminders of their skills. This new exhibition features more than 25 quilts, coverlets, needlework pictures, and hooked rugs drawn from the Museum's collection. It tells a compelling story of connected lives and shared values.

We will offer two "Threads of Brotherhood" gallery talks in the fall:

Saturday, September 15, 2:00 p.m. and Saturday, October 20, 1:00 p.m.

2002_008T1 cover quilt_WebCompressThe October gallery talk is scheduled prior to Pamela Week's 2 p.m. lecture on Civil War quilts for soldiers.  Combined, the two programs provide an ideal opportunity to explore how women used their needlework to help shape public life in 19th century America.

Save the dates! We'll see you at the Museum!

Photo Credits:

Lady Liberty Lights the Way, 1985, Nancy M. Crasco, Massachusetts. Gift of Nancy Crasco, 2010.006.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Masonic Quilt, 1880-1920, unidentified maker, probably Ohio.  Musuem purchase, 2002.008. Photograph by David Bohl.


Don't Miss Our Lecture: Michael Halleran on Civil War Freemasonry

Rollins powder horn cropped 77_11_2We would like to remind our readers about the next lecture in our Civil War series. Michael Halleran will join us this Saturday, April 28, at the special time of 1 p.m. to speak on "Gentlemen of the White Apron: Freemasonry in the American Civil War." To learn more about the talk and the speaker, read our previous blog post about Halleran.

Here at the Museum, staff has done quite a bit of interesting research on the Civil War. Take a look at some of these previous posts - they are sure to engage your interest. If they do, Michael Halleran's lecture on Saturday may be just the way to flex your historical imagination this weekend.

Have you heard of silver badges worn by Freemasons fighting on the battlefields of the Civil War? We have some in our collection. Were they really used to identify a wounded Mason, so he could receive aid and comfort from Masonic brothers fighting under the opposing flag?

What do the Confederate imprints in our Van Gorden-Williams Library reveal about Masonic activities in the Confederacy during the American Civil War?

How hot was an 1863 discussion of what to do about a newly commissioned Confederate officer who was a longstanding member of a Masonic lodge in Indiana

What did we learn about a Union soldier's entry into the world of Freemasonry during the Civil War?

What did inquisitive Museum staff discover about a mysterious Civil War POW powderhorn that entered our collection without a history?

During the Civil War, federally issued currency included gold and silver coins. How did the world of commerce respond when those valuable metals disappeared into hoards and legal tender became scarce?

How did the Harper's Ferry arsenal bell end up on Marlborough, MA's town common?

Help us solve a mystery - If the men in our 19th century photo were not Civil War soldiers, who might they have been?

The Museum is offering the lecture as one in a series dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The series is designed to explore the history of this divisive conflict, and its meaning for our nation today. It is sponsored by Ruby W. Linn.

For more information about visiting the Museum, call 781-861-6559 or see our website, www.nationalheritagemuseum.org.

Photo credit:

Powder horn, ca. 1863, Henry S. P. Rollins (1832-1869), Tyler, Texas, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, 77.11.2.  Photo by David Bohl.