Posts by Hilary Anderson Stelling

An Elaborate Royal Arch Jewel Owned by Lambert Keatting

GL2004_6656DP1DB
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.

GL2004_6656DP2DB-1
Back, Royal Arch Jewel, 1810. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.6656.

References:

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].


New to the Collection: A Mark Medal Made for Thomas Colling

2018_017aDP1DB name side  for blog
Mark Medal Made for Thomas Colling, 1817-1830, New York. Museum Purchase, 2018.017a. Photograph by David Bohl.

The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently added an elegant and distinctive mark medal to its collection. In 1817, the owner of this medal, Thomas Colling (d. 1859) received the first three degrees at the newly founded Utica Lodge No. 270, in Utica, New York. The same year, the Grand Chapter of New York gave area Freemasons permission to establish Oneida Royal Arch Chapter No. 57. Thomas Colling joined this organization as well. Sometime after he received the Mark degree at the chapter, he commissioned this sophisticated mark jewel (at left).

Colling’s jewel is a shield-shaped. One side bears the motto of the Royal Arch, “Holiness to the Lord” at the top. At the point of the shield, the engraver cut block and script letters spelling out Colling’s name and chapter within an oval. The center of the medal features a female figure holding a ball and a plumb line, leaning against a plain block with a triangle within a circle drawn on it that supports an urn. A group of Masonic tools, a book (likely a Bible), a compasses, a mallet, and a level, are at the bottom of the block. The figure on Colling’s jewel, dressed in robes and sandals in a classical style, could possibly represent Fortuna, the Roman goddess of fortune, chance, and luck.  She was usually identified by the attributes of a ball, wheel, or cornucopia.

In the early 1800s, the Masonic virtues of faith, hope, and charity, were sometimes represented by female figures shown with particular attributes. Faith carried a cross or Bible, Hope held an anchor, and Charity nursed or carried children. For his mark, engraved on the other side of the medal, Colling selected the virtue of hope (at left, below). The craftsman who engraved Colling’s jewel depicted hope as a woman on the shore, with a ship in the distance, gesturing upward and stepping on a large anchor half obscured by her skirt. At the top of the jewel, the craftsman engraved a square, compasses, and Bible. At the tip of the shield, he depicted a shovel, pick, and rod, the working tools of the Royal Arch degree.

An adept engraver decorated Colling’s medal using a number of techniques such as, line engraving, roulette work, and stipple. Although the name of this engraver is unknown, we hope further research will help uncover more about the craftsman who ornamented this jewel. If you have any suggestions or ideas about this medal, please leave them in the comment section below.

Many thanks to Joseph Patzner of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library at the Grand Lodge of New York.

 

2018_017aDP2DB mark side for blog
Mark Medal Made for Thomas Colling, mark side, 1817-1830, New York. Museum Purchase, 2018.017a. Photograph by David Bohl.

A Jewel Made for Nathaniel Rogers Hill

GL2004_9174DP1DB
Jewel Made for Nathaniel R. Hill, 1827. Probably New Hampshire. Loaned by The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.9174.

An inscription (see below) on the back of this engraved jewel shows that it belonged to “Nath’l R. Hill" who was "Exalted in Belknap Chapter on Jany 30th 1827.” Founders received a charter for Belknap Chapter (which became No. 8) just a few weeks before, on January 11, 1827.  Returns sent to the Grand Chapter of New Hampshire that same year record that Nathaniel R. Hill of Dover, New Hampshire, was among the first group of fifteen men who received degrees at the new chapter.  The jewel’s owner, Nathaniel Rogers Hill (1796-1878), also belonged to Strafford Lodge No. 29 in Dover.

This medal is in an unusual shape that incorporates symbols associated with some of the different degrees that were part of the Royal Arch. At the center is a keystone that bears Hill’s mark and the mnemonic associated with the Mark Degree, HTWSSTKS. The overall shape of the jewel--compasses connected to a quadrant, surrounded by a circle--reflect the Past Master Degree. For his mark at the middle of the jewel, Hill selected a rendition of a distinctive Masonic symbol, the Forty-Seventh Problem of Euclid (at left).  This symbol is a visual representation of the Pythagorean Theorem.  In Freemasonry, this emblem reminds Masons to be lovers of the arts and sciences. The engraver who decorated Hill's jewel used a combination of a burin--to make straight lines and cuts, and a roulette, a texturing tool with a patterned roller, to make the zig-zagging lines that define the circle and compasses on Hill's jewel. 

Hill was a steadfast Mason for many years.  Strafford Lodge No. 29 went dark around 1833 and Belknap Chapter closed around 1835, in response to a political movement which sought to diminish Freemasonry--the Anti-Masonic movement--that flourished from the mid-1820s through the mid-1830s.  In 1848 former members of Strafford Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire to revive their lodge, and Hill was among their number. 

 

References

Harry Morrison Cheney, Chapters, Councils Commanderies and Scottish Rite in New Hampshire, (Concord, NH: Rumford Press, 1935), 28-29.

William Richard Cutter, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, Vol IV., (New York, NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1908), 1750.

John D. Hamilton, Material Culture of the American Freemasons, (Lexington, MA: Museum of Our National Heritage, 1994), 137.

Hamilton Hurd, History of Rockingham and Strafford Counties, New Hampshire, (Philadelphia, PA: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1882), 842.

GL2004_9174DP2DB reverse
Reverse of Jewel Made for Nathaniel R. Hill, 1827. Probably New Hampshire. Loaned by The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.9174.

Proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Hampshire, Vol. 1, (Manchester, NH: W. E. Moore, 1896).

 

 


Templars of Honor Membership Badge

79_3_3aDP1DB
Templars of Honor Membership Badge for C. F. Adams, 1850-1900.  United States. Special Acquisitions Fund, 79.3.3a.  Photo by David Bohl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

References:

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

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

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

 

79_3_3aDP2DB
Detail, Reverse of Templars of Honor Membership Badge for C. F. Adams, 1850-1900.  United States. Special Acquisitions Fund, 79.3.3a.  Photo by David Bohl.

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Past Master's Jewel from London

97_025_1DP1DB
Past Master’s Jewel Made for Robert Scholl, 1819-1820. Probably London, England.  Museum Purchase, 97.025.1.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Last month we posted about a Past Master’s jewel in a style that was distinct to the Boston area.  In the past, we’ve talked about examples of a popular style of Past Master’s jewel that was widespread in New England in the early 1800s. Made around the same time as these jewels--but in a entirely different style--is this jewel (at left), crafted for London Freemason Robert Scholl (ca. 1781-1832).

Listed as a gentlemen in membership records, Scholl worked as a Navy agent, with chambers at Clement’s Inn, in the early 1830s.  He was initiated at the Lodge of Union No. 275 in 1814 and served as Master of his lodge before 1820.  

To thank him for his service in that role, Scholl’s brethren at the Lodge of Union commissioned this gold and enamel jewel.  They had Scholl’s jewel inscribed with a heartfelt message (see below), noting that the elegant badge was, “...a testimony of their fraternal Regard — their Personal attachment and the Sense entertained by them of his exertions for the Benefit of the Lodge.”  Scholl’s jewel is like a watch or locket in that the decoration on the front is protected by a glass bezel.  The bezel covers elements cut from gold in the shape of a square and compasses and a sun. A border of leaves, likely laurel, surrounds the symbols.  All of the gold elements are detailed with engraving to give them depth and definition. The symbols appear to float over a background patterned by machine turning and enameled dark blue.  The deep color contrasts with the bright gold symbols.  An engraver added the inscription on the back of the jewel.  Using the pin on the back, Scholl would have worn this jewel on his coat.  

What extraordinary service Scholl may have undertaken for his lodge is not known, but this handsome jewel suggests how highly this brothers at the Lodge of Union valued his contributions.   

97_025_1DP2DB
Inscripton on the back of a Past Master’s Jewel Made for Robert Scholl, 1819-1820. Probably London, England.  Museum Purchase, 97.025.1.  Photograph by David Bohl.

 

 

References:

Lane’s Masonic Records, version 1.0. (www.hrionline.ac.uk/lanes, October 2011), Published by HRI Online Publications, ISBN 978-0-955-7876-8-3.

Library and Museum of Freemasonry; London, England. “Freemasonry Membership Registers 1751-1921,” “Register of Admissions: London, B, #275-648.” “Robert Scholl,” Folios 1 and 2, ancestry.com. 

Robson’s London Commercial Directory for 1830, (London, England: Robson, Blades & Co.), Part II, Commercial Directory, SHE-SHU, n.p.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A Distinctive Style of Past Master’s Jewel

GL2004_5241DP1DB
Past Master’s Jewel Made for Henry Fowle, 1825. Boston, Massachusetts. Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.5241. Photograph by David Bohl.

From the late 1700s through the present day, many American Masonic lodges have followed the tradition of acknowledging the contributions of a lodge master by presenting him with a personalized jewel to mark the conclusion of his term.  Over time and place these jewels, called Past Master’s jewels, have been made of different metals and have come in many sizes and shapes, depending on the jurisdiction, local taste and the issuing lodge’s budget.  Historically, the lodge commissioned an engraver to inscribe Past Master’s jewels with the recipient’s name, lodge and the dates of his term. 

Past Master jewels presented in America in the early 1800s often featured the Masonic symbols of a sun within compasses with a quadrant connecting the legs of the compasses. These jewels, usually made of silver, were often cut from a flat sheet of metal. We have previously we posted about an example crafted in this manner in 1812 that was owned by a Boston Mason.  Other Past Master jewels were cast or included cast parts, sometimes the central symbol of the sun.  Researchers have observed that this style of Past Master jewel design was likely inspired by jewels used by Scottish Freemasons in the 1700s.

In the 1820s some Boston lodges occasionally issued a different—and distinctive—style of Past Master jewel.  This design (illustrated at left and below) featured the symbols of a compasses and a quadrant at the center and was made as a plaque.  Leafy curves in relief decorate the edges of the plaque.  The plaque was cast, then its surface was textured with different tools. An engraver noted the recipient’s name and other information on cartouche at the center of the jewel.  The contrast between the polished, shiny surface at the center and the darker, mostly matte background and borders of the plaque add to this style of jewel’s visual appeal. St. Andrew’s Lodge presented Henry Fowle (1766-1837)—an active Mason in Boston in the early 1800s—this Past Master's jewel in 1825 (above at left).  Fowle served as Master of the lodge in 1793, from 1810 to 1817 and again from 1818 to 1820.  His brethren honored him with this jewel in 1825. Two years before members of St. Andrews presented a Past Master jewel of the same style as Fowle’s to Henry Purkitt (1755-1846), who held the role of Master from 1804-1805. This jewel is now in the collection of the Bostonian Society.

GL2004_3781DP1DB
Past Master’s Jewel Made for George Girdler Smith, 1828. Boston, Massachusetts. Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.3781. Photograph by David Bohl.

Brethren at Columbian Lodge in Boston honored George Girdler Smith (1795-1878) with a similar Past Master’s jewel in 1828 (at right). Later, after he had served several more terms, the lodge had the back of the 1828 jewel engraved with a message (below) thanking Smith for “the faithful and distinguished services he has rendered the Lodge as Master, during the Years 1828, and 1841 to 1844…..”  The brothers of Union Lodge in Dorchester, Massachusetts, gave Past Master Isaac W. Follansbee (d. 1882) a jewel like Fowle’s and Smith’s, more than a decade later, in 1858.  It is now part of the collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.  Although many examples of these distinct-to-Boston style jewels survive, there is a lot more to learn about them, such as who made them and what originally inspired their shape and decoration. If you know of more examples of this kind of Past Master jewel or have other observations about them, please let us know in the comments section below.

 

References:

John Hamilton, Material Culture of the American Freemason (Lexington, Massachusetts: Museum of Our National Heritage), 1994, 124-125, 137-138.

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, 47, 244-5, 151, 195.

GL2004_3781DP2DB
Back of Past Master’s Jewel Made for George Girdler Smith, 1828, engraving added 1844. Boston, Massachusetts. Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.3781. Photograph by David Bohl.

New to the Collection: Watercolor Mark Degree Record Made for Joseph Fish

2018_019a-bDP1DB
Watercolor Mark Degree Record Made for Joseph Fish, 1818. William Murray (1756-1828), probably Montgomery County, New York. Museum Purchase, 2018.019.  Photograph by David Bohl.

In 1818 painter William Murray (1756-1828) created this watercolor for Joseph Fish, Sr., likely as a commemoration of Fish receiving the Mark Degree. A veteran of the Revolutionary War and a schoolteacher, Murray also painted colorful and charming family records and other works for friends and family in New York State. When he painted this work, Murray lived in Montgomery County, New York.  In the 1980s, collectors and researchers Arthur and Sybil Kern identified fourteen paintings signed by Murray over the course of his career. The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently purchased this one, formerly part of the Kern collection. It joins a family record signed by Murray that has been in the Museum’s collection for many years.

The Mark Degree commemoration that Murray painted for Joseph Fish shares decorative and stylistic elements with other works done by the artist.  Among these elements are borders of simple round flowers and of heart-shaped tulip-like flowers, different colored wavy lines, a field divided by lines and circular elements. In creating this work for Joseph Fish, Murray employed a palette of light brown, blue, red and yellow. He also, as befit the purpose of the work, included many Masonic symbols. At the top center of the drawing, Murray added an all-seeing eye. In the upper portion of the composition, at each corner, he drew a ladder, an ark, an urn and an anchor—all symbols used in Freemasonry.  Within the circle at the center, Murray included several Masonic symbols, such as an arch with a keystone, a letter G, stars, a plumb, a mallet, the moon and a coffin with a scythe on top of it. Beneath the large circle at the center, between “Joseph” and “Fish,” Murray drew a circle that surrouned Fish’s own mark—a symbol that Fish selected to represent himself—within a border of the letters HTWSSTKS. This group of letters are a mnemonic associated with the Mark Degree.  As his emblem, Fish chose a level. In Freemasonry this symbol represents equality and the lodge office of Senior Warden. Two other symbols in the watercolor related to lodge offices.  Crossed keys indicate the lodge treasurer.  A square and compasses with the sun at the center is an emblem found on many jewels given to lodge members who have served the lodge as Master.

In spite of these clues, little is known of Joseph Fish. The Kerns identified him as “a member of a Masonic lodge in Hoosick, NY.”  The owner of this painting may have been the Joseph Fish noted, in 1795, as the Junior Deacon of Patriot Lodge No. 39 of Pittstown, New York, a town neighboring Hoosick.  Masons established this lodge in 1794.  Short-lived, the lodge closed by 1818. Though its establishment is not noted in the Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of New York, a mark lodge associated with Patriot Lodge No. 39--Patriot Mark Lodge--had two members representing it at a meeting of the Grand Chapter in 1806. Both Federal Mark Lodge No. 37 in Hoosick and Patriot Mark Lodge in Pittstown were recorded as delinquent for at least two years’ worth of dues in 1815, suggesting that neither lodge thrived.  However, they may have been working long enough for Joseph Fish to have received the Mark Degree at one of them before 1818. Hopefully, further research will uncover more about Joseph Fish and about his connection to the artist William Murray. In the meantime, Murray's painting offers colorful evidence of Fish's participation in Freemasonry.

 

References:

George Baker Anderson, Landmarks of Rensselaer County, New York, (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Company, 1897) 194.

Arthur B. and Sybil B. Kern, “Painters of Record:  William Murray and His School,” The Clarion: America’s Folk Art Magazine (New York, NY: The Museum of American Folk Art, Winter, 1987) 28-35.

Arthur B. and Sybil B. Kern, “William Murray: Early New York State Painter,” and “New York State Painters of Family Records: The School of William Murray,” typescripts, 1985. Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, MA.

Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of New York, Vol. 1, 1798-1858, (Buffalo, NY: the Grand Chapter, 1871) 54, 63, 124.

A. J. Weise, History of the Seventeen Towns of Rensselaer County, (Troy, NY: J. M. Francis & Tucker, 1880), 87.


A Gift to Cassia Lodge

Dedication Page smaller
The Holy Bible…, 1803. Printed by and for Samuel Etheridge, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Museum Purchase, RARE 06.25 .E84 1803.

In 1823 Medfield resident William Felt, along with other Freemasons in his community, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to establish a Masonic lodge in Medfield. William Felt was possibly the William Felt (1766-1843, also spelled Feltt) who received his degrees at St. Andrew’s Lodge in Boston from 1793 to 1794. In September of 1823 seventeen Grand Lodge officers came to Medfield to constitute Cassia Lodge and install its officers. A month before this event William Felt had given the new lodge this 1803 Bible, published by Samuel Etheridge (1769 or 1771-1817) in Charlestown, Massachusetts, along with a square and compasses. The lodge needed these objects to officially open for meetings

Felt's gift was recorded in striking calligraphy on a dedication page in the Bible (at left). John Howe signed the inked calligraphy and ornamentation decorating the dedication page and the page opposite (at left, below). Howe undertook the work in December of 1823, a few months after Felt gave the Bible to the lodge. The dedication honored Felt’s gift grandly, expressing the wish that Felt’s “act of munificence may remain in perpetual remembrance.”  Howe was likely John Howe who took his degrees at Washington Lodge in Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1816.  Later John Howe served as Junior Warden and Master of Washington Lodge. Intriguingly, records surviving from Washington Lodge contain pages ornamented in the same fashion as the page in the Cassia Lodge Bible (see below). Simon Willard, Jr. (1795-1874), a merchant and clockmaker who joined Washington Lodge in 1818 signed the decorations on a page from Washington Lodge's records in 1824. When these calligraphed pages are viewed together, the similar style of decorations suggest members of Cassia and Washington Lodges had shared tastes in decoration.

Though Cassia Lodge got off to a promising start, purchasing a building, “Academy Hall,” which members “fitted up for a lodge room,” the group did not prosper.  By 1830, Cassia Lodge had petitioned the Grand Lodge for help with its debt. The lodge, which claimed just twenty five members in 1830, owed $420. The Grand Lodge was not able to help, finding “no precedent…of the Grand Lodge paying the debts contracted by any subordinate Lodge.”  Though Cassia Lodge had likely stopped meeting years before, a local history recorded that the lodge gave up its charter in 1845, and sold its building “to the town for school purposes.” William Felt’s gift, with its richly decorated dedication page, serves as a tangible reminder of Cassia Lodge and its brief history.

 

References

Louis A. Cook, History of Norfolk County Massachusetts 1622-1918, (New York, NY: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1918), 450.

Commemoration of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge of Saint Andrew, (Boston, MA:  The Lodge of Saint Andrew, 1907), 281.

Versesmaller
The Holy Bible…, 1803. Printed by and for Samuel Etheridge, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Museum Purchase, RARE 06.25 .E84 1803.

Robert A. Domingue, A History of Washington Lodge A. F. & A. M., (Project 1996 Bicentennial Committee, 1996), 315, 345.

Hamilton Hurd, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, (Philadelphia, PA: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1884), 446.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scan_2019-01-11_19-29-46r
Washington Lodge Secretary's Records, 1824. Roxbury, Massachusetts. Extended loan from Washington Lodge, A.F. & A.M., Lexington, Massachusetts, EL77.004.29

 


“Historical Plates” on view in “The Art of American History”

GL2004_2511DP1DB Plate
Boston Tea Party Plate, 1899. Sold by Jones, McDuffee & Stratton Co., Boston, Massachusetts. Manufactured by Wedgwood, Etruria, England. Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.2511.

In 1899 a notice in The Boston Globe announced that a local glass and crockery store, Jones, McDuffee & Stratton Co., had received “Belated Importations” on a steamship called Ultonia.  The announcement went on to say that, “From Wedgwood we will have open on Tuesday new designs of the series of Historical plates….”  This dessert plate (at left), decorated in dark blue with a scene depicting the Boston Tea Party, was among the fresh offerings.  In 1899, when they added this plate to the roster, Jones, McDuffee & Stratton boasted they had 28 different subjects in their series of historical plates.  By 1907, their series included over 70 subjects. A Boston-based importer, Jones, McDuffee & Stratton, commissioned English ceramics manufacturers to make plates and other dishes decorated with historic scenes. Artists working for the importers created the artwork that Wedgwood and other British companies used to decorate items.  From 1899 to 1904 Jones, McDuffee & Stratton sold and directed retailers to sell plates like this one for 50¢ each. By 1907, the company sold these plates for 35¢ in their 10-story wholesale and retail facility on Franklin Street. 

Unknown potters in Staffordshire, England, crafted this pitcher bearing portraits of American heroes such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Patrick Henry, along with the signatures of some of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence. To the design in dark blue, manufacturers also added a variety of scenes from American history including Washington saying farewell to his officers, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and Washington crossing the Delaware.  The largest images on the pitcher were places where important historic events had occurred, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Faneuil (spelled Faneuiel on the pitcher) Hall in Boston, called put as the “Cradle of Liberty.”  Along the pitcher’s handle, the makers spelled out the words “American Independence 1776.”  The Rowland and Marsellus Company of New York imported this pitcher. They sold it, and a variety of other ceramic souvenir items, to retailers across the country.

GL2004_7122DP1DB Pitcher
Pitcher, ca. 1908. Imported by Rowland & Marsellus Co., New York, New York. Made in Staffordshire, England. Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.7122.

This plate and pitcher, as well as many prints and paintings of scenes from United States history are on view in “The Art of American History,” at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library through November 23, 2019.

 

References:

Ad, “Belated Importations,” The Boston Globe, 24 December 1899, 28.

Ad, “Genuine Wedgwood Old Blue Historical Plates,” The Boston Globe, 28 July 1907, 34.


"Washington's Reception on the Bridge at Trenton in 1785" Designed by John Ludlow Morton

85_8_2DS1 print
"Washington's Reception on the Bridge at Trenton in 1785," 1845-1849. Designed by John Ludlow Morton (1792-1871), New York, New York. Engraved by Thomas Kelley (b. ca. 1795), probably New York, New York. Special Acquisitions Fund, 85.8.2.

In 1789, President-elect George Washington (1732-1799) traveled from his home in Virginia to New York City for his inauguration. On his journey, well-wishers gathered along the road to fête him and to celebrate an important moment—the swearing in of the new nation’s first president. This print, Washington's Reception on the Bridge at Trenton in 1785, (at left) shows an event that took place during Washington’s journey. The image was created at least 50 years after Washington traveled to New York.

In 1776 Washington had won an important battle in Trenton, New Jersey.  Later called the Battle of Trenton, during this conflict on December 26, 1776, Washington routed Hessian soldiers from Trenton, where they had established their winter quarters.  Washington and his troops surprised the Hessians.  After a brief fight, the Continental Army captured over 800 Hessian soldiers.  Historians credit this victory with improving colonists’ moral and helping the Continental Army sign on more recruits in the following weeks and months.  A week or so later, Washington fought a smaller battle at Assunpick Creek, near Trenton.  At this battle, Washington and his troops defended a position near the bridge over the creek and kept the British soldiers from crossing the creek.

As Washington journeyed to his inauguration over ten years after the battle, Trenton residents called attention to Washington’s battles in the area. At the bridge over the Assunpick, townspeople built an evergreen arch decorated with flags for Washington to pass through. This lithograph shows Washington in Trenton as a group of young girls in white dresses pay him tribute by strewing flowers in his path.  In the distance, men doff their hats. The print shows the arch draped with a banner that reads, “The hero who defended the mothers [in] Decem 26, 1775 will protect the daughters."  The motto linked Washington’s work as a military leader with his future role as United States President.

This print, designed by New York artist John Ludlow Morton (1792-1871) for Columbian Magazine, may have been based on the watercolor pictured below.

85_8_1DS1 watercolor
“The Hero who Defended the Mothers will Protect the Daughters,” 1845-1849. John Ludlow Morton (1792-1871), New York, New York. Special Acquisitions Fund, 85.8.1

If you are interested in this and similar prints of scenes from American history, be sure to come to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library to enjoy a new exhibition, “The Art of American History,” which opens to the public Saturday, November 17, 2018.