Happy Holidays from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library! At this celebratory time of year, thoughts turn to festive beverages of all types. The next time you visit the Museum, you may want to take a look at some of the special vessels we have on display in “Prized Relics: Historic Souvenirs from the Collection.”
Many years ago this wooden cup (pictured at left) held festive beverages made with alcohol, sugar and spices mixed to share on special occasions. Originally, this vessel likely had a bowl adorning the handle on the middle of the lid, as well as small cups—made from the same material as the large cup—arranged on small pegs set into the lid. You can see a similar example here. Celebrants filled their small individual cups from the large shared standing cup. Although quite stylish in its day, this type of wooden vessel eventually fell out of fashion. Even when it was out of date, worn and missing pieces, this cup was saved. The cup’s association with Pieter von Stoutenburg (1613-1689/9), a prominent resident of New Amsterdam, likely contributed to its preservation.
Members of Grecian Lodge of Lawrence, Massachusetts, made this blue and white punch bowl (pictured at right) part of their ceremonial occasions from the 1890s into the twentieth century. Age and damage eventually rendered the bowl too fragile to be used, but it was preserved at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as a tangible part of Grecian Lodge’s history.
A member of Saint Paul Lodge in Groton, Massachusetts, John Walton (1770-1862) of Pepperell, Massachusetts, gave this huge decorated pitcher (pictured below) to his lodge (a staff favorite, you can read more about it here). A lodge history suggested that members may have used the pitcher to fuel toasts “that Records tell us were frequently drank.” Decades later, Walton’s gift served as a striking table decoration at special events. In the 1850s, the elderly Walton attended selected lodge ceremonies, where his brothers feted him as an original member and living link to the lodge’s founding in the late 1700s. Walton also presented the silver ladles displayed in the same case to Saint Paul Lodge. Unlike the pitcher, which Walton purchased new, these ladles—old-fashioned in style by the time Walton presented them—may have belonged to Walton before he gave them to his lodge. Crafted by well-known Mason and silversmith Paul Revere (1734-1818) and connected to the lodge’s early history, the lodge valued these ladles as “unique and notable” treasures in later years.
No matter how you celebrate the holidays, we wish you all the best from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library.
All pictured in “Prized Relics: Historic Souvenirs from the Collection.”
Covered Cup, 1600s. Possibly Netherlands. Gift of Mr. Lawrence B. Hunt, 77.73a-b.
Punch Bowl, 1893-ca. 1900. Maddocks Lamberton Works (1893-1924), Trenton, New Jersey. Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.7703.
Pitcher, 1802. Wedgwood, Staffordshire, England. Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.10165.
Ladles, 1760-1780. Paul Revere (1734-1818), Boston, Massachusetts. Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.1869 and 2088.