Grand Lodge of New York

New to the Collection: Blood Donor Recognition Pin

2022_049DI1
Blood Donation Lapel Pin. ca. 1983. Gift of Kamel Oussayef, 2022.049a-b.

New to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection this month is a small gold-colored lapel pin bearing a square and compasses and a “G” in blue enamel. Masonic lapel pins are abundant in both members’ homes and the Museum’s collection. This, however, is the first pin in the collection in the shape of a drop of blood.

Throughout the United States, more than ten state Grand Lodges sponsor a Masonic blood donation program of some kind. The model for many programs involves a coordinator at each local lodge who schedules blood drives on location and encourages brethren to donate. Each unit of blood donated by individual lodge members is counted towards the total for the whole lodge.

Lapel pins are given to individual members who achieve certain blood donation milestones. Some, like this one, are awarded for an initial donation of one unit. Others are given when the Mason reaches a certain volume of blood donated. For example, the Virginia Grand Lodge Blood Program specifies that new donors and donations under two gallons receive the pin type shown here, with a “G” in the center of the Masonic square and compasses. When an individual donates more than two gallons, each subsequent pin bears the number of gallons, increasing by increments of two.

Some Masons donate impressive volumes of blood throughout their lives, such as Scottish Rite Mason Steven Fishman of Georgia, who has donated over thirty-seven gallons since the 1970s. Given that one gallon is equal to eight one-pint donations and that donors can only give once every eight weeks, achieving that volume would take a minimum of forty-five years.

As mentioned above, individual donations by members are counted towards the one lodge’s contribution to the blood program. In Rhode Island, for example, lodges who seek to earn the Grand Master’s Award are advised to participate in local blood drives and ensure at least ten percent of their eligible members give blood.

This new addition to the collection helps us tell the story of how Masons, as the Virginia Blood Program Manual says, “. . . facilitate donations in an organized and craftsman-like fashion . . .”

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Reference and Further Reading:


Beginning the Next 200 Years

Repro Charter SGCs Actives ResizedIf you read our post yesterday, you know that August 5th, 2013, marked the 200th anniversary of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction,  To commemorate that event and to begin the next 200 years, the Supreme Council celebrated in New York City at the Grand Lodge of New York.  Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton welcomed his counterpart from the Southern Jurisdiction, Sovereign Grand Commander Ronald Seale, as well as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York (see the photo below), and many of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction's Actives and Deputies to New York City.  During a short ceremony,Grand Master of NY with Dignitaries Resized Commander Seale presented Commander McNaughton with a reproduction of the 1813 charter (seen in the photo above).  The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library looks forward to continuing to collect material related to the past, present and future of the fraternity.

 


The Rowlands Family: Freemasonry as a Tradition

A2012_64_1DS_rrowlands family_cropped versionFor the Rowlands family, Freemasonry was a family tradition.  Richard Allison Rowlands (1890-1955) was Grand Master of Masons of the State of New York from 1950 through 1952.  He often shared Masonic events with his family, particularly his wife, Gertrude, and his daughter, Patricia.  They are all seen at a visitation to the Westchester-Putnam District in New York, on April 29, 1950 in the photograph (on the left).  R. A. Rowlands is fifth from the left, Gertrude is on his left and Patricia is on his right.

Gertrude and her three daughters were also members of the Order of the Eastern Star.  Gertrude and Patricia took their turns as Worthy Matron.  Gertrude was Worthy Matron of Schnectady's Corlaer Chapter 528 during 1950 and Patricia was Worthy Matron of the same chapter during 1952.

The Rowlands family lived at 1361 Regent Street in Schnectady, New York with their three daughters:  Shirley, Virginia, and Patricia.  R. A. Rowlands' grandfathers were members of the craft.  Richard Rowlands, Sr. was a member of Stella Lodge No. 485 in Brooklyn, New York, and Gerritt Vervoort was a member of Munn Lodge No. 190 in New York City.   R. A. Rowlands' father, John S. Rowlands, was a member of Lebanon Lodge, No. 191, New York City and served as its Master in 1906.  R. A. Rowlands' mother was a member of Flatbush Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. 

The photograph (on the right) shows Richard A. Rowlands at another Masonic event--throwing out the First Pitch at the 14th Annual Baseball Game and Circus Show, Dexter Park, on June 10, 1950.  The event was sponsored by the Brooklyn Masonic Association for Charity, Inc.  R. A. Rowlands participated in many family Masonic events as well as lodge meetings.                                                                A2012_64_1DS_rrowlands throwing out a pitch_cropped version

R. A. Rowlands' grandson, Richard V. Travis (son of Virginia Rowlands and L. Earl Travis), is the donor of this collection of materials including a photograph album, three scrapbooks, over 20 Masonic, military, and civic certificates, ephemera and museum objects.  Richard V. Travis is also Executive Director of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, here in Lexington, Massachusetts.   He is a Scottish Rite Mason, on the Board of Directors for the museum, and is a member of many Masonic organizations.

This collection is a wonderful example of how Freemasonry flowed from great-great-grandfather to great-grandfather to grandfather to grandson-- through five generations!

 

For Further Reading: 

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, 1950, p. 197-200.

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, 1955,  p.146-149.

Proceedings of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the Thirty-third and Last Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America, 1955, p. 372-373.

 

Captions:

Photograph Album of Richard A. Rowlands.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Libray, Gift of Richard V. Travis, A2012/64/1.