Masonic medals

New to the Collection: Mark Medal Owned by William C. Rudman

Rudman mark side Stacks sale
Mark Medal Made for William C. Rudman, 1829. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Special Acquisitions Fund, 2022.068.2. Photo courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries, Inc.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently added this silver mark medal once owned by Philadelphian William C. Rudman (1799-1856) to its collection. In choosing a personal emblem for himself Rudman, like many Masons taking the Mark degree, selected symbols related to his profession as his own personal emblem. An engraver delineated Rudman’s choice of symbolic tools and implements related to his occupation on this keystone-shaped silver badge within the circle surrounded by the letters HTWSSTKS (at left).

The artist John Neagle (1796-1865) painted portraits of Rudman and members of his family. A publication about Neagle's work noted that William Crook Rudman, born in England, moved to Philadelphia and became a naturalized American citizen who was “noted for his philanthropy.” Records at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania show that Rudman, at age 27, took the first three degrees of Freemasonry at Kensington Lodge No. 211 in Philadelphia. These records note that Rudman earned his living as a brewer.

An enthusiastic marketer, Rudman took out many advertisements that described his brewery at 121 Green Street. There, he stated, “Tavern keepers and families” could “be supplied with first rate Beer at the shortest notice.” One October, in 1841, Rudman announced that “he has commenced BREWING for the season, [and] is now prepared to deliver, and will have constantly on hand, fine PALE ALE, PORTER, STRONG and TABLE BEER.” A few years before, Rudman commissioned a lithograph that noted he sold “Philadelphia PALE ALE on Draught, Warranted free from all pernicious DRUGS and ALCOHOLIC admixture” along with an image depicting workers, an office, and other structures at Rudman’s brewery.

In selecting a personal emblem as part of the Mark degree, Rudman chose Masonic symbols: an all-seeing eye, the sun and the moon, and a level, plumb, and square, combined with three objects that were part of his work as a brewer: a barrel, a sheaf of grain, and what appears to be a cooper’s ax. Taken together these symbols underscored two aspects of Rudman’s identity, his association with Freemasonry and his profession.

Rudman received the Mark degree in January of 1829, the month and year inscribed on the front of this jewel. Soon after, he took an extended break from Freemasonry--he withdrew from his lodge in February 1830. What prompted Rudman to leave his lodge is unknown. Members demitted from lodges for many reasons, some personal, such as uncertain finances, ill health, or the press of business. Alternately we can speculate that Rudman may have decided to turn away from his lodge because of the rise of public sentiment against Freemasonry during the late 1820s and the 1830s, an era when many men left their lodges. Regardless of why Rudman stepped away from the lodge, his choice may have shaped the engraving on this jewel. The side of the  badge bearing his name and mark is complete. The reverse side is unfinished (below). The engraver never filled in the banner at the top of the badge, and the line that would have defined the top edge of the arch is missing.

After a time, in 1844 Rudman rejoined Kensington Lodge. He soon left to become a member of Columbia Lodge No. 91, also in Philadelphia, in 1847. When he died, after a “long and painful illness,” he was still involved in Freemasonry. An announcement of his death in 1856 invited members of Columbia Lodge and of the “Sons of St. George” (a charitable group that assisted English immigrants) to attend his funeral. Years later this engraved medal recalls Rudman’s time as a Freemason and his work as a brewer.

Rudman symbol side Stacks sale
Mark Medal Made for William C. Rudman, 1829. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Special Acquisitions Fund, 2022.068.2. Photo courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries, Inc.


“Deaths,” North American (Philadelphia, PA), April 19, 1856, page 2.

Exhibition of Portraits by John Neagle (Philadelphia: The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1925), catalog number 37.

John Neagle, William Crook Rudman, Sr., 1845.  Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts .

“Notice…” United States’ Gazette for the Country (Philadelphia, PA), October 9, 1827, page 3.

“Notice…” Daily Chronicle (Philadelphia, PA), October 9, 1841, page 3.

William Breton, “Wm. C. Rudman’s Philadelphia Pale Ale….” (Philadelphia, Lehman & Duval, lith.), ca. 1835, Free Library of Philadelphia.

New to the Collection: Mark Medal Engraved by John Bower

Poshardt mark side
Mark Medal Made for Conrad Poshardt, 1812. John Bower, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Special Acquisitions Fund, 2022.068.3. Photo courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries, Inc.

Recently the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library added an intriguing mark medal from Pennsylvania to its collection. Along with the name of its owner, Conrad Poshardt, this keystone-shaped badge is inscribed with the name of the craftsman who engraved it, John Bower.

In April 1810 Bower advertised his services in the Democratic Press of Philadelphia, noting that he undertook his business as an engraver “in all its various branches, with neatness and dispatch” at “No. 80 North Fourth, near Race street.” A few months later, in November, he informed the paper’s readers that he had changed the location of his business with this announcement: “John Bower, engraver, has removed to No. 1, Sterling Alley, where the above business is carried on….” Sterling Alley was just a block or so from his previous address. City directories list John Bower as an engraver at these and other addresses in the same neighborhood from 1810 through 1819. In 1810 census takers recorded a Philadelphia resident named John Bower working as an engraver with a family of 3 at two locations in August and again in October, likely reflecting Bower’s change of address during the year.

In the 1830s critic William Dunlap noted that John Bower “made plates of inferior execution in Philadelphia about 1810.” Dunlap’s tepid assessment of his skills notwithstanding, Bower worked a number of projects. Examples of Bower’s work that have survived to this day include illustrations for several books, prints, a trade card for his neighbor, a plaque for a lockable chest, and this mark medal (at left) made for Conrad Poshardt, a member of Herman’s Lodge No. 125.

Bower signed Poshardt’s mark medal “Br. J. Bower, Sculp.” on the side of the jewel decorated with an arch (below). In adding “Br.,” an abbreviation of the word brother, to his signature on this medal, Bower identified himself as a Freemason. Membership records at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania note that a man named John Bower took his degrees at Lodge No. 72 in Philadelphia in the first half of 1811. He withdrew from the lodge in the fall. The lodge readmitted Bower as a Master Mason in 1814. Bower’s profession is not noted in the Grand Lodge records, but the J. Bower who signed this medal is a strong candidate for being the man who belonged to Lodge No. 72.

The medal that Bower created for Conrad Poshardt is in the keystone shape favored by many Pennsylvania Mark Masons in the early 1800s.

Poshardt symbol side
Mark Medal Made for Conrad Poshardt, 1812. John Bower, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Special Acquisitions Fund, 2022.068.3. Photo courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries, Inc.

You can see another example here; a mark medal made for Samuel A. Van Deursen in 1812. In addition to the owner’s name and Poshardt’s personally chosen mark—a group of seven Masonic symbols contained within the letters HTWSSTKS--Bower engraved the name of the owner’s lodge—Herman’s Lodge N[o]. 125—and a date expressed as "Feby 5812", indicating February 1812, on this medal. Two years before, in 1810, a group of Freemasons, who described themselves “all Germans by Birth” who did “not possess a perfect knowledge of the English Language” petitioned the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to form “a Lodge whose Labours are carried on in the German Language.” The Grand Lodge granted this request and issued a warrant for Lodge No. 125, called Herman’s Lodge. As the petitioners had planned, this lodge undertook its business and ritual in German. Hopefully further research will uncover more about Conrad Poshardt, his lodge, and other work undertaken by his brother Freemason, engraver John Bower.


William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States, vol. 3 (Boston: C. E. Goodspeed, 1918), 284.

Mantle Fielding, American Engravers Upon Copper and Steel (Philadelphia, 1917), 70-71.

Reprint of the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, vol. II 1801-1810, vol. III 1811-1816 (Philadelphia: The Grand Lodge, 1897), 497-498, 13.


Many thanks to Cathy Giaimo of The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania.

Masonic Marks: Lost and Found

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Royal Arch Mason, 1886-1897. John B. Scholl (1857-1924), Chicago, Illinois. Museum Purchase, 97.031.4.

From the middle of the 1800s and through the early 1900s, many well-dressed Freemasons wore fobs that bore the mark that they had selected as part of receiving the Mark Degree. Others sported fobs engraved with not only their mark, but also the names of the different Masonic bodies they belonged to, along with the dates they had joined. The Royal Arch Mason here (at left), wears a keystone-shaped mark as a fob attached to his watch chain, along with a rich red velvet collar and apron, embroidered in gold.

Small, valuable, and connected to a watch chain with only a ring or hook, the fob style of Masonic marks worn by the subject of this portrait, and similar fobs, did get lost or were stolen. Countless advertisements and snippets from newspapers, hint at how frequently these items went astray--and at how much their owners wished for their return.

In 1856, Jason R. Hanna, staying at the Lima House in Lima, Ohio, advertised that his "MASONIC MARK made of gold in the shape of a Key Stone, with a locket enclosure, was lost or STOLEN." For its return he offered a $5 reward "and NO QUESTIONS ASKED." A few years later, newspapers reported on the return of a Masonic mark, "in the shape of a Maltese cross, of solid gold," that had belonged to Col. T. S. Martin, a Union solider that had died at Manassas, to his widow in Philadelphia. Thaddeus Miller, a Mississippi soldier, had retrieved the mark and, after many months, it was delivered to Mrs. Martin.

The same year, in 1868, an advertisement in The Evening Telegraph of Philadelphia sought the owner of "a silver watch and a gold Masonic mark, bearing the inscription, 'Girard Mark Lodge, No. 214'" that had been stolen by an escaped convict called George Black.  Another Philadelphia paper told the story of an unlucky man named John Matsinger who, in 1894, lost his watch, chain, and gold Masonic mark after being drugged at Arthur Chamber's saloon. A policeman intercepted the thief while he was trying to pawn Matsinger's property, and it was restored to its owner.

Another observant police officer received a reward of "a bank note of substantial value and an imported cigar" when he returned a lost Masonic mark decorated with diamonds to its owner, W. L. Marsh of Pittsburgh. Marsh, upon having his mark restored to him explained that "he valued it highly" as the fob had been given to him by his employees.  He rated it "without price...for its associations."

An even more remarkable story of a mark returned to its owner was that of the mark that belonged to Rev. Dr. H. Franklin Schlegel. Around 1911, Rev. Schlegel visited his family's farm at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, and "inspected the big flock of Plymouth Rocks" in the chicken coops. During this visit he wore, "Suspended from his watch chain...his Masonic mark, representing the Blue Lodge, the Chapter, Commandery, Consistory or 32nd degree...." As he examined the chickens "the charm, fell to the ground" only to be eaten by one of the hens, though the bird that ate it could not be identified. Three years later, Dr. Schlegel's gold and diamond mark was discovered during excavation at the farm "in the old hen yard." After a small repair to the damaged enamel, the delighted Dr. Schlegel resumed wearing his fob.

If you have an interesting story about a lost or found Masonic mark or jewel, tell us about it in the comments below.



"Lost or Stolen!," The Times-Democrat (Lima, OH), 5/3/1856, 3.

"A Masonic mark...," The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, TX), 12/9/1868, 1.

"An Owner Wanted," The Evening Telegraph (Philadelphia, PA), 7/18/1868, 8.

"Knocked Out," The Times (Philadelphia, PA), 8/4/1894, 6.

"Policeman Found Fine Masonic Mark," The Morning Post (Camden, NJ), 5/8/1906, 8.

"Dr. Schlegel Recovers Long-Lost Masonic Mark," Mount Carmel Item (Mount Carmel, PA), 7/25/1914, 1.

An Elaborate Royal Arch Jewel Owned by Lambert Keatting

Front, Royal Arch Jewel, 1810. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.6656.

This elaborate gilded Royal Arch jewel belonged to Lambert Keatting (1773-1847), a member of Harmony Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 52 in Philadelphia. Founded in 1794, the chapter—like others in Pennsylvania at the time—worked under the authority of a craft lodge warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and took its name from that lodge, Harmony Lodge No. 52. In spite of its connection with Harmony Lodge No. 52, the chapter drew its membership from several different craft lodges in Philadelphia. Lambert Keatting belonged to Lodge No. 67, where he was elected Master in 1811 and 1812. Later, in 1820, he became a member of Lodge No. 2, also in Philadelphia.

A boot and shoemaker, Keatting joined the Harmony Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 52 in 1810. A few years later, in 1816 and 1817, he served as the presiding officer, or High Priest, of the chapter. Around the same time, he was appointed to be the Senior Grand Deacon at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Keatting had a life-long connection to Freemasonry. When he died, in 1847, his friends and acquaintances were requested to attend his funeral. The notice of this event in the newspaper invited specifically, “The Brethren of the Masonic Order generally, and particularly Lodge No. 2….”  

Keatting’s intriguing jewel, part of the collection of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, appears to have been made from two separate jewels(at left). The inner jewel—the round element topped with a bow at the top a banner at the bottom—is a Royal Arch jewel . This style of jewel—in the shape of a circle containing two interlaced triangles—was first worn by English Royal Arch Masons in the mid-1700s. On this jewel, at the center of the star, is a triangle that, on one side, has an engraving of a compasses surrounding a globe, and, on the other side, a circle with the letters of the mnemonic associated with the Mark Master Degree (below, at left). The space within the circle is left blank, suggesting that Keatting may have not taken the degree. Or, if he did, he did not have his personal mark or emblem engraved on this jewel. The banner at the base of the jewel threads beneath an oval with the letter G (a symbol for God or geometry) engraved on it. On the circle and on the arms of the triangle, on both sides of the jewel, an engraver cut phrases in Latin, English, and Greek that relate to the Royal Arch Degree (you can read about these inscriptions here, as they appear on another Royal Arch jewel made in England around 1791). On the back of the jewel, the engraver added Keatting’s name on one of the horizontal arms of the triangle, as well as a Latin phrase and the date (1810) on the circle. On the back of the jewel, the banner at the bottom bears the name of Keatting’s chapter, Harmony Royal Arch Chapter.

The outer element of the jewel is in the shape of an arch supported by two columns, spanned by four steps at the base. At the peak of the arch, above a keystone engraved with an all-seeing eye, is a hanging loop. A ladder (representing Jacob’s Ladder) connects the arch to the bow at the top of the round jewel. To join the arch to the round jewel, a craftsman cut away part of the bow. The round jewel is also connected to the inner sides of the columns and the top of the stairs. On the back side of the jewel, at the base, an engraver cut the initials of the name of the chapter and its number, “H. H. R  A. C. N[o] 52.” This inscription suggests that the arch and columns surrounding Keatting’s jewel may have come from a jewel owned by the chapter. Why Keatting’s jewel and another were joined together is unknown. If you have an idea or theory, we would love to hear  it. Please share it in the comments section below.

Back, Royal Arch Jewel, 1810. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.6656.


John Curtis, Centennial Celebration and History of Harmony Chapter No. 52 (Philadelphia, PA: Dunlap Printing Co., 1894).

Bernard E. Jones, Freemasons’ Book of the Royal Arch (London, England: George G. Harrap & Company Ltd), 1969,258-271.

Joshua L. Lyte, Reprint of the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA: The Grand Lodge, 1897).

Public Ledger, (Philadelphia, PA) August 6, 1847), [2].

American Institution and Mason: Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin, Famous Masons Medallion, 1998. Gift of Carl Chatto. 2007.007.2.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library holds ten commemorative medallions celebrating “Famous Masons” in U.S. history, issued between 1992 and 2001 by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Seventh in this series and pictured here is one honoring a hugely influential figure in American culture: the songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989).

There are many great reasons to celebrate Berlin today, at the thirtieth anniversary of his death on September 22, 1989. Of his staggering musical contributions, these are but a few: the jazz standards, “Cheek to Cheek,” “Blue Skies,” and “Always;” show tunes like “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better);” and the beloved holiday classics, “White Christmas” and “Happy Holiday.”

His song “God Bless America”—originally composed during his service in World War I, but not made public until Armistice Day, 1938—became so renowned that many called for it to replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem. But Berlin would not hear of it, saying, “There’s only one national anthem, which can never be replaced.”

It was his own roots as a Jewish immigrant that made Berlin (born Israel Beilin) feel so strongly for America. When he was five, his family fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe to the relative refuge of New York City’s Lower East Side. Their existence there was hardscrabble; Berlin busked on street corners for pennies, and climbed his way up through a combination of talent, wits, and hard work. Once he was a rich man, he credited his success to his adopted country. Over the years, he donated millions in song royalties to the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Boy and Girl Scouts of America, in addition to other causes. He was also a staunch believer in paying his share of taxes, and once balked at his lawyers’ advice to use tax shelters, reputedly saying, “I want to pay taxes. I love this country.”

Berlin was also a devoted Mason. A member of New York City’s Munn Lodge No. 190, he became a Master Mason in 1910 and a 32° Scottish Rite Mason later the same year. In 1911 he was initiated into Mecca Shrine Temple, and by 1936 had been designated a lifetime member of both groups. True to Masonic ideals in myriad ways, Berlin worked for peace among all humankind. Among many awards he received was a 1944 honor by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for “advancing the aims of the conference to eliminate religious and racial conflict.”

Read more about SRMML’s holdings related to this admirable American Mason here.


“Irving Berlin (1888-1989).” Jewish Virtual Library. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, c. 1998-2019,

Jablonski, Edward. Irving Berlin: American Troubadour. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1999, 192-3.

McCorkle, Susanna. “Always: A singer’s journey through the life of Irving Berlin." American Heritage Magazine, Vol. 49, Issue 7, November 1998. Free Republic,


New to the Collection: William L. Peet’s Mark Medal

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Medal made for William L. Peets, 1824. Connecticut. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.1. Photograph by David Bohl.

Readers who subscribe to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library know we can’t get enough of the intriguing engraved medals created for Freemasons in the early 1800s, especially those associated with the mark degree. We’ve posted about mark medals in the past.  Today we want to introduce a recent acquisition—a mark medal that can, unusually, be attributed to a designer or engraver who put his name on similarly decorated examples.

In October of 1824 William Leavenworth Peet (or Peets, as noted on the medal) affiliated with the Masonic lodge St. John’s No. 3 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  In April of the same year he had joined Jerusalem Chapter No. 13, also in Bridgeport.  To commemorate his taking the mark degree at Jerusalem Chapter, Peet (1788-1866) commissioned a silver shield-shaped medal inscribed with his name, his chapter, its location and the date (illustrated at left).  On the other side of his medal Peet had engraved an emblem that he selected for himself as part of the mark degree--a letter “W” (illustrated below at right).  The letter may have referred to his first name or symbolized Wisdom, one of the supports of the lodge, often represented by the letter W or by an Ionic column.   

The craftsman who decorated Peet’s medal did so with flair.  He added vine-like lines to the edges of the metal and cut out tiny pieces of the medal in different patterns to give the medal a richly textured border.    A very similar style of engraving decorates a medal made for Lockwood N. DeForest in 1826, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a medal crafted for Silas Wooster Sherman in 1826, owned by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.  DeForest, like Peet, belonged to St. John’s No. 3 and Jerusalem Chapter.  Sherman was a member of Hiram Chapter No. 1 in Newtown, Connecticut.  An engraver or designer, C. Foote, signed these medals at the bottom of the circle that enclosed the owners’ personal emblems.  These medals, and two others in private collections that are signed by Foote, all belonged to Royal Arch Masons that lived in Connecticut. 

The signer was likely Charles Foote (1793-1862), a member of St. John’s No. 3 and of Jerusalem Chapter.  Intriguingly, Foote worked as a bank cashier, not as far as we know, as an engraver, artist or silversmith.  Records have not shed light on Foote’s interest or skill in engraving.  Hopefully further research will  uncover more information about Foote.  Alternately, Foote may have designed rather than engraved the medals or the Charles Foote who belonged to the same lodge and chapter as William L. Peet may not have been the C. Foote who signed the medals.   If you have any ideas about C. Foote and the medals he signed, be sure to leave us a comment below. 

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Medal made for William L. Peets, 1824. Connecticut. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.1. Photograph by David Bohl.


Theodore H. Sommers, Jr., 200th Anniversary of the Found of St. John's Lodge No. 3 (Bridgeport, Connecticut:  Masonic Temple, 1962).

Thanks to Richard C. Memmott, Sr., Grand Secretary, Grand Lodge of Connecticut.


New to the Collection: Mark Medals from Dutchess County, New York

Mark Medal made for William Ely, 1797-1800. Dutchess County, New York. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.5.  Photo by David Bohl.

As always, we are excited about some of our recent acquisitions! Just a few weeks ago, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library was able to add two beautifully engraved mark medals to our growing collection.  These two medals are each interesting on their own. They also prompted intriguing questions when viewed side by side.

In previous posts we have discussed other mark medals in the collection. These engraved badges feature a specially selected symbol—often related to Freemasonry or the owner’s profession—sometimes along with the owner’s name and his lodge’s name and location. These two shield-shaped mark medals are embellished with intricate pierced tops.  These carefully made decorative elements were designed to allow the owner to wear his badge around his neck, suspended from a ribbon. 

Each of these medals bears an owner’s name and Masonic lodge. William Ely (dates unknown) belonged to Solomon’s Mark Lodge in Poughkeepsie, New York and commissioned the medal with top pierced to look like a ribbon tied in a bow (see at left). Ely chose a complicated symbol, or mark, for himself:  a young woman holding a vine in her left hand and a set of scales in her right. She stands next to a table or counter, decorated with a square and compasses. A mortar and pestle and a bottle sit on it, possibly suggesting apothecary work. The other medal belonged to John Dutcher (dates unknown), a member of Hiram Lodge No. 27 in Amenia, New York.  His mark, surrounded by the mnemonic associated with the mark degree and a circle enclosing 15 different Masonic symbols, was a top hat and what looks to be a gavel (see image below at right)—symbols often associated with the office of lodge master.

Mark Medal made for John Dutcher, early 1800s. Dutchess County, New York. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.6. Photo by David Bohl.

Ely’s lodge, Solomon’s Lodge of Poughkeepsie, first chartered in 1771, had several numbers over the years it met—1, 56 (the number on this medal and used by the lodge from 1797-1800), 5 and 6.  Members are thought to have established a mark lodge, called Solomon’s Mark Lodge, during the late 1700s.  Hiram Lodge No. 27—first founded in 1793 as Payne Lodge, called Hiram Lodge after 1797—received a dispensation for a mark lodge in 1810. The Grand Chapter approved the charter for Hiram Mark Lodge No. 65 in 1811.

Mark Medal made for William Ely, 1797-1800. Dutchess County, New York. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.5. Photo by David Bohl.

The Ely and the Dutcher medals are both shield-shaped with different pierced elements.  A close look at the sides of the two medals that bear Ely’s and Dutcher’s names show like symbols—an open Bible with a corner of a page folded back—engraved in a similar style (see images at left and below). The image is embellished with the same flourishes at the top and bottom of the open volume. This and other similarities shared by the medals suggests a question: did the same craftsman design and engrave these medals? Hopefully, with further research, we will learn more about these medals' owners and makers. If you have any ideas or insights, be sure to leave a comment below!



Mark Medal made for John Dutcher, early 1800s. Dutchess County, New York. Museum Purchase, 2015.014.6.


Catalog notes, Minute Book, Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, Poughkeepsie, New York (1771-1852), Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York. 

Compiled by Gary L. Heinmiller, Craft Freemasonry in Dutchess County, New York, (Onondaga & Oswego Masonic Districts Historical Societies, March 2010).

Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of New York, Volume 1. 1798-1853. (Buffalo, New York:  Grand Chapter, 1871).

New to the Collection: Medal Engraved for James Campbell

2014.100 name sideWe are very excited to add this engraved medal to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection.  This type of personal Masonic medal, embellished with a variety of Masonic symbols and engraved with an owner’s name and his date of initiation, celebrated the wearer’s membership in a lodge.  Owners likely wore them during processions or at lodge meetings.  You can read about another personal Masonic medal in the Museum collection in a previous post

Few engraved Masonic medals that date from the late 1700s and early 1800s come to the museum with much—if any—information about who owned or made them. Digging into the history of a medal like this one, originally the property of a man named James Campbell, and considering how this medal’s history relates to that of comparable medals in craftsmanship, style and iconography, can help us better understand it.  Along with Campbell’s medal, we received two handwritten notes that hinted at the names of  two previous owners of the medal.  One note also stated that Campbell had served as a private in the Revolutionary War.  Since James Campbell is a common name, even for men who served in the Revolutionary War, research into the family histories of prior owners was essential to helping us identify which James Campbell first commissioned the medal.  Born in Windham, New Hampshire in 1759, the James Campbell who orginally owned this badge, lived in Acworth, New Hampshire, and later Walpole, New Hampshire.  A farmer, Campbell also served as the Register of Deeds for Cheshire County, New Hampshire.   When he died in 1825, an obituary in a local paper recorded Campbell was “a man universally esteemed.  He has held the office of Registrar, by universal consent for about 20 years.”  

Intriguingly, this medal is one of four very similarly engraved badges owned by different institutions: 2014.100 reversethe Museum, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, the Grand Lodge of Iowa and the Henry Ford Museum.  Of  like size and displaying the same selections of emblems, manner of engraving and style of script, these badges appear to have been decorated by the same craftsman.  In addition to the names of their owners: James Campbell, Joseph Winslow, Joseph Williams and Roger Ransted, each medal also bears the owner’s initiation date.  These four medals were manufactured between 1796 and 1807. 

Three of the medal owners, Roger Ransted (1769-1852), of Westmoreland, New Hampshire (and later, Thetford, Vermont), Joseph Winslow (dates unknown) of Putney, Vermont, and Campbell lived in the same part of the country on the New Hampshire and Vermont sides of the Connecticut River.  The craftsman who shaped and decorated these medals likely worked in the same area.  Membership records at the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire related to Ransted, Winslow and Campbell showed that they belonged to the same Masonic lodge, Jerusalem Lodge No. 4 of Westmoreland and Walpole, New Hampshire.  There is still more of this history to uncover—such as who engraved these medals.  If you know of any similar Masonic medals or have ideas about James Campbell’s medal, please leave us a comment or drop us a line. 



Masonic Medal, 1798.  New England.  Museum Purchase, 2014.100.


Aimee E. Newell, Hilary Anderson Stelling and Catherine Compton Swanson, Curiosities of the Craft:  Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection (Boston and Lexington, Massachusetts:  Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, 2013), 76-77.   

Barbara Franco, Masonic Symbols in American Decorative Arts (Lexington, Massachusetts:  Museum of Our National Heritage, 1976), 30.

Many thanks to Bill Kreuger, Grand Lodge of Iowa, Donald Campbell, Grand Lodge of Washington and Tom Lowe and Roberta Langis, Grand Lodge of New Hampshire.




An Exciting Recent Acquisition: Frederick Phile's Maverick Mark Medal

2013_019DP1DBHere at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, we are big fans of the personal medals and badges some Masons had made for themselves in the late 1700s and early 1800s. You may have read posts about the mark medal that belonged to Ezekiel Bascom and an associated mark book or saw the post discussing a gold Masonic medal owned in Connecticut. Although the museum counts many personal Masonic medals in its collection, we are always on the lookout for new objects to help us tell the story of American Freemasonry. A few months ago we were thrilled to add a mark medal made for Frederick Phile of Holland Mark Lodge and engraved by "Bror. Maverick" to the collection.

Frederick Phile (ca. 1740-1793) of Philadelphia likely commissioned the medal when he received the Mark Master degree at Holland Mark Lodge in New York City, sometime between 1788, when members of Holland Lodge No. 8 established Holland Mark Lodge and 1793, when Phile died. Records detailing Phile’s Masonic activity are sketchy, but he seems to have taken the Entered Apprentice degree at Lodge No. 2 (Moderns), in Philadelphia in 1760. He worked as a physician until around 1770, when he took on the duties of naval officer for the Port of Philadelphia; a position Phile held, in different capacities, on and off, until his death. During the Revolutionary War, Phile, a German-born naturalized citizen of Great Britain, served as a surgeon for a Pennsylvania battalion. Although Holland Mark Lodge drew most of its membership from Holland Lodge, occasionally out-of-town Masons, like Phile, who had not taken the Mark Master degree elsewhere would pay the fee (24 shillings in 1791) and receive the degree at Holland Mark Lodge. In 1791, for example, the lodge granted the mark degree to Masonic travelers from France and Rhode Island.

2013_019DP2DBAs part of the ritual for the Mark Master degree, the initiate chose a distinct mark or emblem. The lodge secretary noted this unique mark in his records. For his emblem Phile selected a heart over three crossed arrows. This symbol doubtless held meaning for Phile, but we have not been able to identify what this symbol might have represented. Holland Mark Lodge required that, "Every member shall furnish himself with a Mark which shall be of Silver, with the Name of the Lodge engraved thereon." As described in a research note published in the Transactions of the American Lodge of Research, from 1788 to about 1800, Holland Mark Lodge members recorded their marks with both a written description and an impression of their engraved mark in the lodge’s minute book.

Of the over thirty mark medals in the museum’s collection, only Phile’s is signed by an engraver. The "Bror Maverick" who incised his name under Phile’s on this silver disk is thought to be Peter Rushton Maverick (1755-1811), a member of both Holland Lodge and Holland Mark Lodge. Phile’s medal is one of six known that were crafted for members of Holland Mark Lodge. One, also signed by Maverick, is at the Smithsonian Institution; the museum at the Grand Lodge of England holds another and two form part of a private collection. The library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa counts Peter Rushton Maverick’s own 1789 mark medal as part of its collection. A history of Holland Lodge relates that Peter Rushton Maverick, who joined the lodge in 1789, cut a seal for Holland Lodge the year before. He also engraved maps, bookplates and Masonic certificates, among other things. The museum holds a certificate, estimated to date from around 1790, for Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22 and attributed to Peter Rushton Maverick, in its archives. We are now glad to be able to include another example of Maverick’s work in our collection.

Photo credits:

Mark Medal, 1788-1793. Engraved by Peter Rushton Maverick (1755-1811), New York, New York. Museum Purchase, 2013.019. Photos by David Bohl.


Balestier, Joseph N., Historical Sketches of Holland Lodge (New York, New York: Holland Lodge No. 8, 1862), 40-41, 156

Tows, Ferrars, H., "The Holland Mark Lodge Book," Transactions of the American Lodge of Research, Vol. III, No. 2, 1939-1940, 404-5

Sesquicentennial Commemorative Volume of Holland Lodge No. 8 (New York, New York: Holland Lodge No. 8, 1938), 21-24.

Newell, Aimee E., Hilary Anderson Stelling and Catherine Compton Swanson, Curiosities of the Craft: Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection (Boston and Lexington, Massachusetts: Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, 2013), 101, 113.

Sachse, Julius F., Old Masonic Lodges of Pennsylvania "Moderns" and "Ancients" 1730-1800, (Philadelphia: Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1912-1913), Vol. 1, 76.