Posts by Catherine Swanson

New Acquisition Sheds Light on President Garfield as a Knight Templar

Garfield 2 (2)As I was flipping through a new acquisition, a minute book from the Hudson River Commandery No.35, I found a touching full-page tribute to President and Sir Knight James Abram Garfield (1831-1881).  His 1881 memorial is prominently displayed in the minute book (left) of this commandery from Newburgh, New York.  The page is written by hand in beautiful calligraphy.  

On the date of September 27, at Newburgh,the minute book reads, "A communication, under date of Sept. 23rd, 1881 was read from the Grand Commander of the State of New York, announcing the death of the late President of the United States:--Sir James A. Garfield, and ordering appropriate draping of asylum and other proper notice of the sad event..."  After considering the communication from the Grand Commander, the Eminent Commander of the Hudson River Commandery No. 35 made a motion that a separate page be written and put in with the records in memory of Garfield.  It is a fitting tribute for a former President and Sir Knight.  The "draping of asylum" referred to the meeting place of a Commandery and means retreat or place of safety. The recommendations to place mourning drapery at the asylum were observed.  Such tributes were recorded all over the United States in Knights Templar, Royal Arch, and other Masonic Proceedings.

On September 23, 1881, Knights Templar groups were part of Garfield's funeral procession and ceremony, along with soldiers, statesmen, and other dignitaries.  Among the Knights Templar groups were members of Columbia Commandery No. 2 of Washington.

In addition to participating in Garfield's funeral, the Knights Templar of Columbia Commandery No. 2 had also accompanied Garfield during his presidential inaugural procession on March 4,1881.  Garfield gave a short inaugural address and lasted in office only a matter of months--from March until July 2, 1881 when he was shot by an assassin at a railroad station.  He died on September 19, 1881 from infection of the wound.

Being a Knight Templar, Garfield had many other Masonic affiliations.  Garfield was made a Master Mason in 1864 at Columbus Lodge No. 30 in Columbus, Ohio and lived nearby in Cuyahoga County.  He attended Williams College, taught classics at Hiram College, became a brigadier general during the Civil War, and then was elected by Ohioans to Congress in 1862.  During the time he was in Washington as a congressman, he was affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge No. 23, as a charter member in 1869.  He became a Knight Templar in 1866 at Columbia Commandery No.2 in Washington and received degrees 4 through 14° in the Scottish Rite in 1872 from Albert Pike(1809-1891) of the Southern Jurisdiction. 


Image Caption:

Minute Book, Hudson River Commandery No. 35, Newburg, New York, 1865-1893.  Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, A2014/19/1.


For Further Reading:

Baldwin, Charles E.  History of Columbia Commandery no. 2, Knights Templar, 1863-1938.  Washington, 1938.    

Brown, E. E.  The Life and Public Services of James A. Garfield. Boston:  Lothrop, 1881.

Conwell, Russell H.  The Life, Speeches, and Public Services of James A. Garfield.  Boston:  B. B. Russell, 1881.

Doyle, Burton T and Homer H. Swaney.  Lives of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur:  With a Brief Sketch of the Assassin. Washington:  R. H. Darby, 1881.


Louis Leander Alexander and the Sons of Temperance

A2014_9_5DS1Louis Leander Alexander (1828-1904) was very active fraternally from 1855 through 1887 in the state of California. The first fraternal organizations he belonged to were the Sons of Temperance and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Grand Divisions of the Sons of Temperance were established in California by 1853 according to the Sacramento Daily Union. Our certificates show that Alexander belonged to Sonora Division No. 16.  During the 1850s and 1860s he lived in the city of Sonora in Tuolumne County, California, with his wife Marta Elizabeth Farr (1840-1898) and six children. Alexander worked as a Mining Superintendent.

The 1849 Gold Rush in California made the state ripe for raucous behavior and insobriety.   Miners, similar to soldiers and sailors on leave, often led solitary lives seeking riches and frequently ended up in taverns, hotels, and gambling palaces or tents, all of which served alcohol.

Various temperance movements emerged as a result of the Gold Rush in California.  The Sons of Temperance was one of these organizations. Scholar Ralph Mann suggests that the Sons of Temperance offered men a rich symbolic haven outside the home and an alternative masculine image.  In 1855, when Alexander was a member, this fraternal group supported a state bill on the total prohibition of alcohol.  The law did not get passed, but the influence of this organization was clear.

By 1855, Alexander was already a Past Worthy Patriarch of his division in the Sons of Temperance.  He was then appointed District Grand Worthy Patriarch which gave him the power to perform certain duties of the Grand Worthy Patriarch, a state-wide position.  According to an 1856 certificate (above left) Alexander was appointed "Degree Regent" for Sonora and Knights Ferry.  In this role, he supervised the conferral of degrees and the compliance with ritual throughout the district.

The Sons of Temperance invited both men and women to join.  However, according to his chapter in California Women and Politics:  From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression, historian Joshua Paddison suggests that in California men continued to dominate the temperance movement until 1878 when the Woman's Christian Temperance Union became active.  This organization transformed temperance from a male issue to a woman's concern and was embraced by California women.  Members of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union sought to make public life alcohol-free.

By 1880, Alexander and family had moved to Oakland. It was here that he became a Master Mason in Oakland Lodge No. 188. Later, in 1886, Alexander became a 32° Scottish Rite Mason as evidenced by this A2014_LLAlexander_Scottish Rite certificate certificate (below right).


 Photo Credits:

Sons of Temperance Certificate for Louis Leander Alexander, 1856.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Collection, A2014/9/5.

32° Scottish Rite Certificate for Louis Leander Alexander, 1886.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Collection, A2014/9/14.


Further Reading:

Blocker, Jack S., David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell.  Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History.  Santa Barbara, CA:  ABC-CLIO, 2003.

Cherny, Robert W., Mary Ann Irwin, and Ann M. Wilson.  California Women and Politics:  From the Gold Rush to the Great Depression. Lincoln, NB:  University of Nebraska Press, 2011.

Goodman, David.  Gold Seeking:  Victoria and California in the 1850's.  Stanford, CA:  Stanford University Press, 1994.

The Whitney Valentine Company

George C WhitneyThis valentine (at the left) is shown in the display "Victorian Valentines:  From England to America" on view at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. It was created by the Whitney Valentine Company and is dated 1860-1875.

George Clarkson Whitney (1842-1915) began his career as an employee of Esther Allen Howland (1828-1904) making valentines.  In 1862, he signed up with the 51st Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, to fight in the Civil War.  By 1864, Whitney had been discharged from military service and joined his brother Edward and wife Lura Clark in the production of valentines.  At this  point they were advertising themselves as The Whitney Valentine Company.

By 1869, Edward left the company and George was in charge. He and his brothers ran the family business for many years.  George was aggressive and kept buying out his competitors.  For example, during the latter part of the 19th century he purchased the A. J. Fisher Company of New York and Esther Howland's New England Valentine Company of Worcester, Massachusetts.  By 1886, Whitney was producing his own paper, had machine dies, printing presses, and was mass producing valentines and other holiday cards.  He expanded his company and had branch offices in New York, Boston, and Chicago.

In the first decade of the 20th century, the Whitney Valentine Company grew to a large and properous concern, now called the George C. Whitney Company.  The style and sentiment of his cards changed dramatically.  One example is the card (shown below) which uses no paper lace and is made of paper stock or heavy cardboard.  The girl's bobbed hairstyle reflects the new century, much like the card itself.  It has a snappy greeting, "with oceans of love", rather than the sentimental poetry of the 19th century.  It bears the stamp "Whitney Made" on the back.

Every year, to celebrate Valentine's Day, we display a few examples from our collection of several hundred cards.  This year's selection of fifteen cards is on display in the museum lobby until March 5, 2014.  George C Whitney - 20th century example                                                                                                                                                                            



"Fly to me with love", Whitney Valentine Company, 1860-1875.  Gift of Naomi Keast, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A79/001/6.

"With oceans of love", George C. Whitney Company, ca. 1910.  Gift of Robert W. Clarke in memory of Barbara M. Clarke, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A94/090/1.





For Further Reading:


Shank, Barry. A Token of My Affection:  Greeting Cards and American Business Culture, New York:  Columbia University Press, 2004.

Call number: HD9839.G73 S43 2004


Order of Railway Conductors: A New Member is Initiated in 1904

Certificate for Order of Railway ConductorsThe Order of Railway Conductors was founded in 1868.  The original organization was a fraternal benefit and temperance society rather than a labor union.  It was established in Amboy, Illinois by a group of conductors on the Illinois Central Railroad.

The ORC represented the interests of train conductors.  Like ship's captains, they were the most prestigious and highly compensated railway workers of their time. This particular division of the ORC, the DeSoto Division, was organized in 1889.  At this time, any member that participated in a strike would be expelled from the order.  Because of this, a labor union was formed for railroad conductors, named the Brotherhood of Railway Conductors, in 1885 and continued to be a rival force.

Joseph R. Turner (1868-1926) received this membership certificate (shown at the left) upon his initiation in 1904 to the De Soto Division No. 241 of ORC in DeSoto, Missouri. Turner was a railroad conductor for the Missouri-Pacific railroad and owned his home in DeSoto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  He was married to Ida Alice Tonget (1866-1931) in Broadway, Union County, Ohio in 1889.  They had ten children and lived in DeSoto, Missouri.

Turner's certificate depicts the symbols or emblems of the ORC which are inside the black circle (or wheel).  They are the lantern, representing the conductor's profession, the arm with the chain, and the hand reaching for a device to couple railroad cars.  In the center of the circle are the clasped hands which symbolize perpetual friendship.

Turner would have gone through an elaborate ceremony for his initiation.  The ritual for this initiation consisted of an opening (or introduction), initiation, obligation, closing, and prayer. The teachings, or principles, were Fidelity, Justice, and Charity in Perpetual Friendship.  This ritual has a structure that is similar to Masonic and other fraternal initiation ceremonies.


Photograph Caption:

Membership Certificate for the Order of Railway Conductors, 1904.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/31/1.  Photograph by David Bohl.

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen: A Membership Certificate

Certificate for Brotherhood of Locomotive FiremenThe Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was founded in 1873, in Port Jervis, New York, by Joshua Alexander Leach (1843-1919), as a fraternal mutual benefit society for workers employed as firemen for steam locomotives.  The job of a locomotive firemen was a physically demanding, strenuous, dirty, and dangerous one.  They had to shovel coal into a train engine's firebox, through a narrow opening, feeding the fire.  This regular input of fuel kept the train running.

In 1873, Leach and ten other Erie Railroad firemen had just been forced to notify the widow of a locomotive fireman who had died in a crash, and decided to start an organization for this trade which gave benefits to families of those in this trade.  The major practical purpose of this organization was as a mutual insurance association.  However, it also had a ceremonial initiation for its members like many of the other fraternal societies of the 1870s and 1880s.  Its teachings included charity, industry, sobriety, and protection. As well, there was a women's auxiliary group called the Ladies Society of B of L F.

The membership certificate (shown above) illustrates each of these teachings across the lower edge.  There is an emblem for each principle.  The certificate also includes images of a railroad car, a railroad car falling off a bridge, members of the fraternity visiting a fireman's widow and offering her death benefits, and a fireman's funeral.  According to F. P. Sargent's A Short History of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, 1889, this membership certificate constituted a life insurance policy. Frank Pierce Sargent (1851-1908) was Grand Master of the organization and was a well known labor leader in the United States.

The certificate was issued to  Earl Shoemaker of Rainyday Lodge No. 553. The Grand Lodge of Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen was established in Peoria, Illinois in 1895. This color lithograph, or chromolithograph, is dated approximately 1900 and also includes an image of Leach at the very top.  Noted at the top of the certificate is that there were 22,000 members and 487 lodges of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen at this time.  From 1880 through 1899 there was approximately $4,000,000.00 paid out in life and disability benefits.

In 1969, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen merged with the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen, the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, and the Switchmen's Union of North America to form the United Transportation Union.


Membership Certificate for Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen, ca. 1900.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/32/1.  Photograph by David Bohl.

New to the Collection: An Odd Fellows Minute Book from Civil War Era

IOOF Minute Book_web version_2The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library recently acquired an Odd Fellows minute book, from Hopewell Lodge No. 504, dating from 1854 through 1880.  It offers clues as to how the Civil War affected this fraternal organization. 

The decades preceding and after the Civil War were times of enormous growth for the Odd Fellows.  However, during the Civil War, Odd Fellow membership decreased as men put on their military uniforms and set out to serve the Union or the Confederacy.  

According to Stillson's Official History of Odd Fellowship..., in 1861, there was a proposal to form a Grand Lodge of IOOF of the Southern Confederacy.  However, a division of the fraternal order never officially occurred. The representatives from the Southern states just did not attend the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of the United States which was held in Baltimore in 1861.  They were absent again from the 1862 and 1863 sessions in Baltimore and from the session in Boston in 1864.  In 1865, at the close of the Civil War, the Northern and Southern representatives of the Odd Fellows met in Baltimore to formally reunite this organization and members from all but two Southern states were present.  The Odd Fellows were the first fraternal organization to reunite.

Many Odd Fellows lodges went dark, or became inactive, during the war.  Hopewell Lodge No. 504, meeting in West Middletown and Claysville,  and located in Washington county, in western Pennsylvania, is a good example of this. During 1854-1858, the Hopewell Lodge No. 504 accepted applications for many members each meeting and held initiations. 

Then there is are large gap in the minutes for this lodge from May 17, 1862 to  April 22,1872.  This spanned the time of the Civil War (1861-1865) and the beginning of the Reconstruction Era (1863-1877).  According to Boyd Crumrine's History of Washington County, Pennsylvania:  With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, men from this area of Pennsylvania signed up with the Union army immediately and their participation was greater than any other county in the state or in the Union.  The governor held a special state meeting emphasizing that Pennsylvania was particularly vulnerable having a border on the Mason-Dixon line.  Perhaps this explains the high participation rates from Washington County and Pennsylvania in general. 

On April 22, 1872, the minutes resumed and there was "a Petition for the Restoration of the Charter of Hopewell Lodge No. 504" (pictured above).  This suggests that the lodge had gone dark during the Civil War. According to the minutes there was a joint meeting between the Grand Lodge of IOOF and Hopewell Lodge No. 504 during which the petition to restore the charter was accepted and the lodge reopened.  The lodge elected new officers including Thomas A. Bartilson (1816-1906) as Noble Grand.   Other officers included:  P. A. McReath (Vice Grand), Thomas Irvin (Secretary), Allison DeFrance (Financial Secretary), and David McCune (Treasurer).   


Independent Order of Odd Fellows Minute Book, 1854-1880.  Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/25/1.

For Further Reading:

Halleran, Michael A. The Better Angels of Our Nature. Tuscaloosa:  University of Alabama Press, 2010.

Skocpol, Theda, Ariane Liazos, and Marshall Ganz.  What a Mighty  Power We Can Be:  African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality.  Princeton:  Princeton University Press, 2006.

Stillson, Henry Leonard.  The Official History of Odd Fellowship:  The Three-Link Fraternity.  Boston:  The Fraternity Publishing Company, 1914.




Summer Vacation through Postcards

2013_July blog post_postcardsAt our July Collections Committee, we accepted a gift of approximately 400 postcards from Michael Heitke.  Many of these postcards show images of national monuments in the United States and over half the collection are items showing images from Wisconsin, the home state of the donor.  They range in date from 1907 through 1950s.

As Americans are taking their summer vacations, it is revealing to take a look at 1950s postcards. Some of the same destinations that were popular in the 1950s are just as popular today. 

Mount Rushmore  National Monument is a typical tourist destination in South Dakota (see postcard at the left).  Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941) was the artist who supervised the sculpting of Mount Rushmore and many other American public sculptures.  Borglum was an active Freemason and raised in the Howard Lodge No. 35 of New York City in 1904.  He served as its Worshipful Master from 1910 through 1911.  He received his Scottish Rite degrees in the New York City Consistory in 1907.  

Noteworthy is that among the four presidents carved into stone at Mount Rushmore, two of them were well-known Freemasons--George Washington (1732-1799) and Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and two were not.  Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was not a Freemason.  Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) petitioned to join Tyrian Lodge of Springfield, Illinois after his nomination for president in 1860, but never followed through on receiving his membership.                                      

The Dells of the Wisconsin River is a popular destination especially for Americans in the Midwest (see postcard below). Created by early glaciers, the "Jaws of the Dells" is the sandstone gateway, or corridor to the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River.  It is located in south central Wisconsin.  Access by boat is the only way to see these natural sandstone formations.  Henry Hamilton Bennett (1843-1908) was the landscape photographer who made the Wisconsin Dells a popular tourist destination by his photographs.  This postcard of the Wisconsin Dells is a 1950s reproduction from the H. H. Bennett Studio.  As far as I can tell Bennett was not involved with Freemasonry, though he lived through the "Golden Age of Fraternalism." 2013_July blog post_postcards_2


Postcard of Mount Rushmore National Monument, ca. 1950. Gift of Michael Heitke, USM 082, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library.

Postcard of Gateway to the Upper Dells of the Wisconsin River, ca. 1950. Gift of Michael Heitke, USM 082, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library.

Museum Staff Attend ICHF Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library staff members Aimee Newell, Hilary Anderson Stelling, and Catherine Swanson attended the ICHF conference in Edinburgh, Scotland from May 24 through May 26, 2013.  This was an extraordinary opportunity to hear the latest scholarship on the history of Freemasonry.  The location was  ideal--being held in Edinburgh, Scotland this year. 

Papers were delivered at the Grand Lodge of Scotland (as seen above).  Aimee Newell, Director of Collections, and Hilary Anderson Stelling, Director of Exhibitions, gave papers.  All three attended lecture sessions and networked with colleagues from around the world. 

Newell and Stelling presented their papers on the first day of the conference as part of a session focusing on American Freemasonry. 

Newell's paper was entitled, "A Ludicrous Affair:  Harmonic Lodge and Boston Freemasonry in the 1790s."  Using Harmonic Lodge as a case study, Newell explored how the internal dissent in Boston Freemasonry during the 1790s.  In 1797, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts voted to revoke the charter of Harmonic Lodge because of improper behavior, with Grand Master Paul Revere (1734-1818) voting "Yes" and Isaiah Thomas voting "No."  During the 1790s the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was trying to establish its authority and this act can be seen as an attempt to maintain a sense of order within the fraternity. Newell gave convincing evidence of this during her presentation. For two years after the incident with Harmonic Lodge, starting in 1798, no new lodges were chartered in Massachusetts. 

Stelling's paper was entitled, "Elucidating the Various Masonic Emblems:  The Influence of Jeremy Cross and Amos Doolittle's Engravings on Nineteenth Century American Masonic Material and Visual Culture."  She examined the creative collaboration between Jeremy Cross (1783-1860) and Amos Doolittle (1754-1832) in making The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor and the influence their work had on shaping visual expression in America.  Through extensive analysis of objects, Cross's diary, correspondence, and Masonic publications from the 1800s, Stelling gave a compelling argument for Cross and Doolittle's long-term impact.

The highlights of the conference for Swanson were attending keynote addresses on "The Rise and Fall of Empires: Britain's and the UGLE's Compared" by J. W. Daniel (United Kingdom) and "The Rituals of the Union" by Jan Snoek (Netherlands).  Among the sessions she attended were "The Royal Arch and the 1813 English Union," "Freemasonry in Scotland," and "Enlightenment Visions of Masonry" which were all illuminating.  She enjoyed meeting scholars including Diane Clements, Director, Susan Snell, Archivist, and Martin Cherry, Librarian, from the Library and Museum of the United Grand Lodge of England.




Nicolas Robinot, Charles DeValois and Loge Saint Edoüard

A2013_4_1DS1_Loge Saint EdouardAs I was cataloging recently, I came upon a very early manuscript book of Regulations of the Venerable Loge Saint Edoüard. The manuscript is dated 1748 and contains information about a Masonic lodge which was located in Paris, France. According to French historian Alain Bihan, it was a very early lodge that could have received its constitution and regulations from the Grande Loge de France. Freemasonry was introduced to Paris about 1725 from England, although the official history of the Grand Lodge of France didn't begin until 1743. 

The lodge members list included in this manuscript gives members names, occupations, and street addresses in Paris. The list reveals that lodge members had diverse occupations: doctors, notaries, painters, professors and many members who were noblemen or had royal positions. These royal positions included Turaut who was Apothecary to the king, Martinet who was a noblemen and valet to the king, and Jandin who was Interpreter of the Affairs of the king. Some are listed as just gentlemen or "Bourgeois de Paris" meaning they came from a very  privileged class of people. Other Masonic members held military posts such as De St. Martin who is described as "Chevalier de l'ordre Militaire de Louis Amien Brigadier de Mousquetaires". Translated  from the French this means that this Mason held a very elite position as Knight of King Louis XV in the Amien Brigade of Musketeers. This certainly was an elite and bourgeois group of Masons.

The "Très Venerable Mâitre" of this lodge was Nicolas Robinot (b. 1713/active 1748-1765). He was an "Ecuyer, Conseilleur secrétaire du Roi, maison et couronne de France et de ses finances", translated to English he was a Nobleman and Secretary and Finance Minister to the King of France, Louis XV (1710-1774) . Robinot was the son of Nicolas Robinot (1679-1735) who held the position of Secretary to the king before him. The "Secrétaire" of the lodge was Charles DeValois (active 1748-1765). He certified the text of the regulations. He was an "Ecuyer" or nobleman.

Robinot and DeValois were also a members of the Ordre de la Coignée, another fraternal order in Paris. Robinot held the position of "Second Inspecteur" and DeValois held the position of "Perpetuel Secrétaire".  Like the Loge Saint Edoüard, the Ordre de la Coignée was composed of elite members of French society.                                                                                                      A2013_4_1DS2_Loge Saint Edouard


Reglements de la très Venerable Loge St. Edoüard, Paris, 1748.  Scottish  Rite Masonic Museum and Library, A2013/4/1.


Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 1927, v. 40, p. 94, 104-105.

Coil, Henry Wilson. Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia. Richmond, VA: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., 1995, p. 258-262. 

Le Bihan, Alain. Loges et Chapitres de la Grand Loge et du Grand Orient de France. Paris: Bibiothèque Nationale, 1967, p. vii-xv, p. 128-130.

Rare J. J. J. Gourgas Manuscript Book Conserved

130015B000BT005In honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Scottish Rite, a rare manuscript book written by J. J. J. Gourgas (1777-1865) was conserved at Northeast Document Conservation Center. J. J. J. Gourgas was one of the earliest founders and charter members of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, was Secretary of the organization for over 20 years, and then served as Sovereign Grand Commander from 1832 until 1851. 

The photograph on the left shows the condition of the manuscript before conservation. According to the conservator's report, the manuscript pages were dirty, discolored, and acidic, yet flexible. There were tears on many pages and detached pages with paper seal had a major tear.  The text block consisted of support leaves of laid paper with entries in iron gall inks. The manuscript book's boards (or front and back covers) were worn at the corners.     

According to the treatment report from the conservator, the manuscript document was washed in filtered water and then alkalized or deacidified with calcium hydroxide.  Tears were mended and folds guarded where necessary with Japanese kozo paper and wheat starch paste.  Buffered barrier sheets were inserted where clippings, paper seals, or heavy ink deposits were causing discoloration on adjacent pages.  The board corners and edges were stabilized using wheat starch paste.  The detached manuscript pages (shown at the right) were placed in a buffered folder.  The volume and folder were housed in a custom drop-spine box. 130015B000AT005 

This document will be featured in the upcoming exhibition opening on June 15, 2013, "A Sublime Brotherhood:  200 Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Jurisdiction" for all to see.   The exhibition staff will turn the pages of the manuscript every month so that the inks do not fade from the light in the gallery. 

This conservation has ensured that the manuscript will have a long life and can safely be used and handled by staff and future researchers.

 For more information on the contents of this manuscript book, see our earlier blog post.


Photographs of Gourgas Manuscript before and after treatment by Northeast Document Conservation Center by NEDCC staff, 2013.