On Friday, April 11, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library presented its third symposium, “Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.” With this program, we seek to present the newest research on American fraternal history. As loyal blog readers know, the study of the activities and influence of Masonic and fraternal groups in the United States—past and present—offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture.
Attendees from Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Tennessee enjoyed six scholarly presentations and special staff-led tours of the exhibition “A Sublime Brotherhood: Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction,” highlights form the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum collections.
The morning started with a presentation by Kristen M. Jeschke, of the University of New Hampshire, who spoke about “Mid-Nineteenth Century Lodges: Middle-Class Families in the Absence of Women,” followed by Jeffrey Tyssens, Professor of Contemporary History, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, with his presentation, “Bragging Brethren and Solid Sisters? Contrasting Mobilization Patterns among Male and Female Orders during the Spanish-American War.” Margaret Goehring, Assistant Professor of Art History at New Mexico State University, ended the morning session with “Painted Ambition: Notes on Some Early Masonic Wall Painting.” In the afternoon, participants heard from Adam Geoffrey Kendall, of the Henry Wilson Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry at the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of California, who discussed “Pilgrimage and Procession: The Knights Templar Triennial Conclaves and the Dream of the American West” and Stephen Hill, Sr., of the Phylaxis Society, with “The Colored Knights of Pythias.” Independent scholar Stephen Canner rounded out the day with his presentation, “’The Farmer Feeds Us All’: The Origins and Evolution of a Grange Anthem.”
Throughout the symposium, attendees—who included members of the Masonic community and interested scholars and researchers—contributed to the lively question and answer sessions following the presentations. Presenters and attendees alike enjoyed meeting fellow enthusiasts and making connections that will last well beyond the event. The symposium was funded in part by the Supreme Council, 33°, N. M. J., U.S. A. We thank our sponsors and all of the enthusiastic attendees and engaging presenters who made it a great day!
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Margaret Goehring, Assistant Professor of Art History at New Mexico State University, presented “Painted Ambition: Notes on Some Early Masonic Wall Painting,” at the symposium.
Symposium attendees enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Museum collections.
Participants examine objects on display in “A Sublime Brotherhood: Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.”
Discussion during “Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.”