World War I

Overseas Lodge No. 40

2001_029S1cropped betterIn 1919, in Coblenz, Germany, a group of American military officers serving during World War I, formed the Masonic Club of the Third American Army. Members of the club eventually founded Overseas Lodge No. 40 in Rhode Island.  The club was open to Masons and members of welfare organizations who were wives, daughters, sisters or widows of Masons. Along with regular meetings, the club organized social activities and gatherings, as well as memorial programs for those who died in service. The meetings were held at the German Masonic Temple, the local high school and a German officers club in Coblenz.

A number of Rhode Island Masons had organized the club. They sought to establish a Masonic lodge in Germany and on March 15, 1919, the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island granted dispensation to the group to form Overseas Lodge No. 1. This decree allowed the lodge to “elect, initiate, pass and raise candidates without the usual formalities and requirements of chartered Lodges, provided that such candidates shall be selected only from citizens of the United States serving in the army or navy of the United States, or in any organizations associated with said army or navy.” Between April and July of 1919, the group impressively held eighty meetings and raised 517 candidates. The lodge operated in Germany alongside the Masonic Club until July 31, 1919, when the last American soldiers returned home to the United States.  

The first meeting of the lodge in the United States was held in Freemasons Hall in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 13, 1920. In May of 1920 the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island granted a charter to the lodge, named Overseas Lodge, No. 40, F. & A.M. Members conducted Masonic meetings wearing the uniforms they wore while in service. The photograph above shows officers of the lodge in Cranston, Rhode Island, in 1923. Masonic guests from other lodges in Canada and Britain are also pictured.

This token (at right) is from Overseas Lodge No. 40 and belonged to John A. Marshall (1877-1966). Described as a “devoted and ardent Mason” by his nephew, Marshall belonged to Strafford Lodge No. 29 in Dover, New Hampshire. It is still unknown if Marshall was a member of Overseas Lodge No. 40 or if the token was a gift from a fellow Mason. One side of the token shows Masonic symbols. On the other side is the emblem of the Overseas Lodge which includes an "A" at the center of a circle,  the insignia of the Third United States Army (the United States Army Central). Both sides token overseas lodge

Overseas Lodge No. 40 is still active today in Rhode Island and is open to military veterans or active duty members. They hold an annual meeting and reunion on Armistice Day. It is the only military lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island.

In writing about the formation of the club and Overseas lodge at its close in Germany in 1919, District Deputy Grand Master Lieutenant Colonel Winfield S. Solomon (1876-1954), Past Master of Morning Star Lodge No. 13 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, stated: “These officers and men alike had experienced in practice the meaning of that spirit of brotherhood and equality which we had been taught at home. Through this experience the great truths of Masonry for which our fraternity stands were brought home to us as never before.”

Visit our previous blog posts to learn more about other military lodges. Do you have any items related to Overseas Lodge No. 40? Let us know in the comments below.

Captions: 

Officers of Overseas Lodge No. 40, 1923. Cranston, Rhode Island. Museum Purchase, 2001.029.

Overseas Lodge No. 40 Token, 1919-1966. United States. Gift of the Supreme Council, 33º, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A. from Mr. Clarence Hayfield, SC79.2.

References:

History and Roster of the Masonic Club of the Third American Army and Rhode Island Overseas Lodge (Providence, RI: Press of E. L. Freeman Company, 1919).

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, 1919 (Providence, Rhode Island: Grand Lodge, 1919) 32-35.  


Digital Collections Highlight: WWI Masonic Roll of Honor

A2013_010_1DS1_webThis Veterans Day, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is highlighting how one local Masonic lodge honored its members who served during World War I. We recently digitized the item seen here and added it to our Digital Collections website.

Both during and after World War I, a number of Masonic and fraternal organizations assembled rolls of honor to recognize the service of their members. Constellation Lodge, which was located in Dedham, Massachusetts, issued this Roll of Honor, which listed the names of twenty-nine of its members who served during World War I.

The location of each man's wartime service varied widely. Those who served stateside included Masons like Edward J. Ziegler, who served as a Yeoman at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire, and Edward S. Colburn, who served in the Gas Mask Department in Philadelphia. Many on the list served overseas, including a number of men whose location is simply listed as "Somewhere in France."

Constellation Lodge mailed this particular copy of the Roll of Honor to one of the Masons honored. William Crawford, Jr. (1896-1987) received the Roll of Honor while he was still serving at the Aerial Station in Chatham, Massachusetts, a town located on the elbow of Cape Cod. The Chatham Naval Air Station was only in existence from 1917 until 1922 and served an important role during the war, by patrolling for German U-boats off the coast of the United States. The air station was also involved in defending against the only attack on U.S. soil during WWI. The Chatham Historical Society has a number of images related to the Chatham Naval Air Station digitized and available on their website.

The Roll of Honor pictured here is one of nearly 900 digitized items that can be found at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's Van Gorden-Williams Digital Collections website. Also, be sure to check out our previous blog posts related to WWI.

Caption:
Constellation Lodge Roll of Honor, 1918. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, Massachusetts, Gift of William Douglas Crawford, A2013/010/1.


Women in the Great War: The Yeoman (F) of World War I

 

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Yeoman (F), 1918. New London, Connecticut. Gift of Kitty Stayskal, 2016.061.4.

Yeoman (F)—often referred to as “yeomanettes”—were enlisted women who served in the United States Navy during World War I. They served  as yeoman—enlisted personnel who fulfill administrative and clerical duties. They worked as radio operators, stenographers, draftsman, recruiting agents, messengers, or filled any necessary role in naval district operations. Vague language in the Naval Reserve Act of 1916 made no specific gender requirements for service. This opened the door to the over 11,000 women who enlisted as yeoman (F) from 1917 to 1918.

Thousands of men volunteered or were drafted into the Navy after the Act of 1916. Despite the growth in membership, the Navy remained shorthanded, and lacked personnel in critical clerical and administrative work.  Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) utilized the unclear language in the 1916 Naval Reserve Act to address the shortage. On March 19, 1917, the Bureau of Navigation sent letters to naval district commanders informing them they could recruit women into the Naval Coast Defense.

The yeomen (F) enlisted for the standard four years. The Navy added the suffix (F) for female after yeoman to make it easier to separate the women from the men. Most women were discharged by July 1919, as the Navy returned to peacetime activities. Yeoman (F) served for two to three years and many continued to work for the United States Military in a civilian capacity after the war. This 1918 photograph in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection shows a group of women identified as the yeoman (F) first class of New London, Connecticut.  

The women pictured wear the yeoman (F) uniform—a "Norfolk" style navy blue jacket with gold buttons, a navy colored A-line cloth skirt, and a felt navy blue wide-brimmed, flat-crowned hat. The Navy took several months to create and issue a formal uniform to the newly enlisted female yeoman. In intervening months, yeoman (F) uniforms included multicolored variations of either homemade or locally purchased items. In a June 19, 1917, New York Times article, detailed specifications for the new uniform going out for contract included the measurements, fabric, cut, and style of the new uniforms.  

A handwritten note on the back of the photograph includes a name and address,“Ruth A. Styffe Paull 25 Heroult Road, Worcester, Mass, 01606.”  According to naval records, Ruth A. Styffe Paull (1899-1988) enrolled in in September of 1918. In the 1930 U.S. census records for Worcester County, a Ruth Paull is listed as living at 25 Heroult road in Worcester, Massachusetts, confirming the address on the photograph. We are still trying to identify Styffe in the group photograph. 

Want to learn more about World War I related items in our collection? Visit the current exhibition “Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters,” on view through August 2018. 

References:

Nathaniel Patch, The Story of the Female Yeomen during the First World War, Prologue Magazine, National Archives and Records Administration, Fall 2006, Vol. 38, No. 3, www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2006/fall/yeoman-f.html, accessed July 2018.

Sophie Platt, Last surviving ‘yeomanette’ dies, The Flagship, April 5, 2007, www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/news/top_stories/last-surviving-yeomanette-dies/article_63657a3a-ccc2-5d11-8d64-89842ba4be34.html, accessed July 2018. 

 

Life Aboard the 𝙐.𝙎.𝙎 𝘿𝙚𝙡𝙖𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙚

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George Newbury and Shipmates, ca. 1918. Gift of George A. Newbury, 78.48.60.

In April of 1917 the United States declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. Thousands of men registered for the draft in the month following the declaration, including George A. Newbury (1895-1984), former Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction from 1965-1975.

Newbury, aged 21, registered for the United States Navy, in Ripley, New York, on April 21, 1917. He served in the Navy on the U.S.S. Delaware, one of five American battleships in the 6th Battle Squadron sent to assist the British Grand Fleet around the Orkney Islands near Scotland. Newbury left the Navy in June 1919 with the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, seven months after the war ended in November 1918.

The group photograph above shows Newbury—on the far right—with his fellow shipmates aboard the U.S.S. Delaware sometime in 1918. Newbury donated a collection of photographs from his time in the Navy to the Museum

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Result of Six Months in the War Zone, ca. 1918. Gift of George A. Newbury, 78.48.17

& Library in 1978. The images show daily life on a wartime battleship, from recreational activities to the visits of foreign dignitaries. Almost all of the photographs include the handwritten letters, "McK,"  near the bottom of the prints. Staff is currently researching Naval photographers to learn more about who "McK" was and if there are other similar images attributed to that photographer. To see more photographs from life aboard the U.S.S. Delaware visit our online collections page here.

To learn more about other World War I items in our collection, visit our exhibition “Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters,” on view through June 2018.

 

 

 

References:

Proceedings of the Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors General of the 33 degree, for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America (Lexington, MA: Supreme Council 33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, 1984)

Naval History and Heritage Command. USS Delaware (Battleship # 28, later BB-28), 1910-1924. www.history.navy.mil/. https://www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/photography/us-navy-ships/battleships/delaware-bb-28.html, accessed March 16, 2018.


Happy Holidays from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library!

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A Merry Christmas, Peace Your Gift to the Nation, 1918. Gordon Hope Grant (1875-1962), Washington, D. C. Gift of Mrs. G. Gardner Cook, A1997/028/0018.

In 1918 artist Gordon Hope Grant (1875-1962) designed and drew this cheerful poster of a young doughboy, an older man--likely meant to represent Uncle Sam--and Santa Claus wishing all a Merry Christmas. The smiling, rosy-cheeked figures are companionably grouped together in front of a shield bearing the colors and symbols of the American flag. Two holiday wreaths adorn the shield. In addition to the wish of “A Merry Christmas” at the top, text at the bottom of the poster thanks soldiers for their help. This text calls out solders’ contribution to a significant accomplishment with the phrase: “Peace, Your Gift to the Nation.”

World War I formally concluded in November, 1918. Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers needed to come home from Europe to the United States or from locations within the United States. Many of these service members completed their duties in Europe and the United States and then waited for the Army to arrange transportation for their return home. Several organizations, such as the American Red Cross, sought to ease the waiting period by providing soldiers with laundry facilities, wholesome food and leisure activities, but it was still a challenge.  Repatriation of soldiers from Europe lasted well into the summer of 1919. 

Gordon Grant, who created this poster, achieved the rank of Captain working for the Army’s Morale Branch, a group that produced propaganda to support the war effort. After fighting ended in 1918, he produced a series of posters that encouraged soldiers to complete their periods of service. Some of his posters lauded the value of an Honorable Discharge. Others sought to inspire soldiers to take pride in their service and encouraged them to be patient through the demobilization process. Examples of these posters are on view at the Museum in the exhibition, “Americans, Do Your Bit:  World War I in Posters.”  Grants' posters  are just some of the millions American artists produced in support of the war effort.  These images delight and intrigue viewers today and serve as a reminder of Americans’ shared effort and sacrifice during World War I.

  

 

 

 

 


Now on view: Alice Hendee in “Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters”

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This Is What God Gives Us, 1917-1918. Alice Julia Hendee (1889-1969), New York. Gift of Diana Korzenik and Andrew S. Dibner, A99/81/01. Photograph by David Bohl.

During World War I when the U. S. government sought to persuade citizens to help the war effort, it turned to a group of volunteer artists for help. These artists deployed their enthusiasm and skill to help sell the government’s messages in poster form. Before, during and after America’s twenty-month participation in World War I—from April 1917 through November 1918—the government and private organizations printed more than twenty million posters to encourage citizens to donate money, conserve food, and support war-related charitable efforts.  Some of these posters are now on view in “Americans, Do Your Bit:  World War I in Posters.”

In 1917 volunteer artists formed the Division of Pictorial Publicity, a group within the United States Committee on Public Information. At its height the Division numbered 312 artists in its ranks. Most were experienced illustrators who drew pictures for books, magazines, and all kinds of advertisers. These artists turned their talents to promoting war time initiatives. Their main audience was Americans on the home front. The Division created a host of advertisements, including window cards, subway car cards, and 700 poster designs. Their posters hung in libraries, railway stations, factories, clubs, and schools—citizens could not escape their pressing and persuasive messages.

Throughout the conflict, the United States Food Administration and the National War Garden Commission, encouraged citizens to use food wisely and to produce food at home. The USFA crafted the official policies and mechanisms that allowed America to feed its citizens and soldiers as well as assist the Allies—mainly in Belgium, England, France and Italy—by controlling the supply, distribution and conservation of food. The National War Garden Commission taught new gardeners how to grow vegetables and how to dry and can food for preservation. These and other efforts at home freed up commercially produced food, which could then be sent to soldiers or Allied civilians. To help achieve their aims, organizations produced leaflets, presented demonstrations, sent out speakers, and offered classes. They also printed thousands of eye-catching posters urging Americans to conserve, preserve, and produce.

One design, illustrated at left, was the work of the artist Alice Julia Hendee (1889-1969).  With this image of an attic stocked with colorful fruits and vegetables, she suggested a bountiful fall harvest. The text encouraged viewers to do without in order to help others. The USFA also practiced conservation of poster designs—it presented this same artwork with a different slogan: “Eat less and let us be thankful that we have enough to share with those who fight for freedom.” Signed A. Hendee at the lower right, a note in a list of food-related wartime publications credited the artist of this poster, No. 17. “Fruits and Vegetables,” as Alice Hendee.  A 1917 New York City directory listed Alice Hendee as an artist living on the upper West Side. 

 

 

References:

“Publications of the U. S. Food Administration,” Food News Notes for Public Libraries, vol. 1, no. 9, June, 1918, p. 20.

Walton H. Rawls, Wake up, America!: World War I and the American Poster (New York : Abbeville Press, Inc., 1988)


New to the Collection: Centennial Odd Fellows Lodge No. 178 World War I Honor Roll

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Centennial Lodge No. 178 Honor Roll, ca. 1919. Massachusetts. Museum Purchase, 2015.030.2.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Along with lodge furniture and banners associated with a group of Massachusetts Odd Fellows, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library recently purchased this painted sign for the collection.  Centennial Odd Fellows Lodge No. 178 in West Boylston, Massachusetts, commissioned this decorative sign to honor eighteen lodge members who fought in World War I.

Museum volunteer researcher Bob Brown recently dug into the service histories of the men listed on the sign in preparation for the exhibition, “Americans Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters,” which opens on June 3, 2017.  To uncover information about the eighteen men listed on the sign, Bob consulted records housed at the National Guard Museum and Archives in Concord, Massachusetts, and resources available online.  His research into the occupations and wartime experiences of the lodge members listed on the honor roll hints at how many men experienced World War I. 

Before they left to join the Army or the Navy, members of Centennial Lodge No. 178 worked locally in different professions.  The largest number of men listed on the sign worked in area factories in different positions.  Two were supervisors, one was a plumber, one was a machinist and another was a tool maker. Four members of the lodge who served in World War I earned their livings as farmers.  The group on the honor roll also included clerks, a doctor, a college student and a college instructor.  Four of the men also belonged to Boylston Masonic Lodge before the war.  Three joined the Masonic lodge afterwards. 

Of the eighteen men in Centennial Lodge who served, the youngest was 21 and the oldest was 42.  Most were in their twenties, reflecting the age of the millions of men who registered for the draft in 1917 and 1918.  The Selective Service Act required that men from age 21 to 31 register. Though many volunteered, over 70% of the American men who served in World War I were drafted.  At least seven of the men listed on Centennial Lodge’s honor roll were drafted and inducted, illustrating the national trend.  The others listed on the honor roll volunteered, were appointed or the records about their service are unclear.  Two of the men listed on the honor roll were foreign born, one in England, the other in Canada. 

Seven of the Centennial Lodge members who served were sent overseas; the rest filled military roles in the United States.  Lodge member and dairy farmer Harold N. Keith (1890-1918), whose name is listed on the sign, was killed in action in France. His fellow member, Arthur I. Hunting (1876-1938) received an injury during his service.  Each surviving member of Centennial Lodge had to resume his life and occupation after his time in the Army or Navy concluded.  The painted sign reminded all who saw it of numerous Americans’ shared effort and, in many cases, sacrifice, during and after the war.     

 


"Down in a Shell Crater We Fought:" World War I Stereoviews

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"Down in a Shell Crater We Fought like Kilkenny Cats--The Battle of Cambrai," 1917. Keystone View Company, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Gift of Karen Jacobsen Lenthall, 2014.074.40.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United States entered World War I, often referred to as “the war to end all wars,” on April 17, 1917. Many Americans on the home front witnessed the war through stereoviews, also known as stereocards or stereographic views. These cards featured two identical photograph prints mounted on card stock. Stereocards were viewed through a stereoscope in order to produce a three-dimensional image. To learn more about stereoviews visit our previous blog posts here.

Most of the World War I views were created and manufactured by the Keystone View Co. and Underwood & Underwood Publishers, two of the most well-known American stereoview manufacturers. The views were produced over a period of three years and circulated in books and collections long after the war ended in 1918. The stereocards depict life in the trenches, European cities, and military meetings and ceremonies during the war.

The stereocard above shows men hiding in shell craters during the 1917 Battle of Cambrai in France.The battle began on November 20, 1917, when British forces launched a surprise attack on the German front in Cambrai. The attack marked the first large-scale use of tanks in a military offensive. The battle officially finished by December 7th and paved the way for new forms of  warfare in strategic military battles. The title of the stereoview "Down in a Shell Crater, We Fought like Kilkenny Cats" references a famous Irish limerick and story about two tenacious cats, tied to one another by their tails, who fought to their deaths. Many historians and writers believe the story refers to Irish civil disputes and turmoil in the late 1700s and early 1800s and is often used to describe a "no-holds-barred" fight.

The stereocard  below shows a view of an underground trench kitchen along the Salonica Front (also known as the Macedonian Front) which stretched from Albania to the mouth of the Struma River in Greece.

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"View in a Trench Kitchen Underground on the Salonica Front," 1914-1918. Underwood & Underwood Publishers, New York, New York. Gift of Karen Jacobsen Lenthall, 2014.074.13.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit our Flickr page and online collections site to see other World War I stereoviews in our collection.

Interested in learning more about World War I on the home front? Come visit our exhibition, "Americans, Do Your Bit: World War I in Posters," opening June 3, 2017.

 

 

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Workshop: “Exploring the World War I Home Front: How to Discover Your Family and Community History”

November 14, 2015

1:30-3:30 PM

Workshop by Jayne Gordon, Independent Consultant and Former Director of Education and Public Programs, Massachusetts Historical Society

 

Oh Boy! that's the Girl!, 1918. Sackett & Wilhelms Corp., New York. Gift of Andrew S. Dibner, A2000/37/04
"Oh Boy! that's the Girl!," 1918. Sackett & Wilhelms Corp., New York. Gift of Andrew S. Dibner, A2000/37/04.

In this workshop, Jayne Gordon, former Director of Education and Public Programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society, will teach us how to use surviving documents from the World War I home front to recreate the story of a community’s or a family’s past. Gordon will outline how to mine historical resources to discover more about the experience of families and communities on the World War I home front. At the workshop’s end, participants will leave with a set of framing questions to use for examining records related to their own research.

Free workshop; registration required by November 5. Email programs@monh.org or call 781-457-4126 to register.

This workshop at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library is made possible by the generous support of the Ruby W. and LaVon P.  Linn Foundation and is part of the lecture series, “The U.S. Home Front during World War I: Duty Sacrifice, and Obligation.”  


Lecture: “The Boston Red Cross in the 1918-19 Influenza Pandemic: Vanguard Fighter or Rogue Chapter?”

Marian Moser-JonesOctober 17, 2015

2 p.m.

Lecture by Marian Moser Jones, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, Department of Public Health

As World War I drew to a close, a new crisis appeared at home: the worldwide influenza pandemic had reached American shores. In August of 1918 the first influenza cases began to appear in sailors stationed in Boston Harbor. Within months the disease spread across the country sickening as many at 25 million Americans and killing over 550,000 of them. With most nurses still overseas and local authorities overwhelmed, the government turned to the Red Cross to care for the sick.  Boston’s local Red Cross chapter acted quickly to meet the needs of the emergency. However, once the Red Cross National Headquarters stepped in to call the shots, the headstrong Boston chapter ignored or rejected their directives. 

In this, the fourth of a five part series exploring The U.S. Home Front During World War I, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library has invited noted scholar Marian Moser

Jones, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, to explore the Red Cross-led response to the 1918-1919 flu in Boston and New England, and discuss whether the local officials acted wisely in charting their own course during this deadly public health crisis.

This lecture is made possible by the generous support of the Ruby W. and LaVon P.  Linn Foundation and is part of the lecture series, “The U.S. Home Front during World War I: Duty Sacrifice, and Obligation.”

References:

Jones, Marian Moser. The American Red Cross: from Clara Barton to the New Deal. (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).