TheNorthernLight

/August2009

9

momentouschangeincommand.Accordingtothe
CambridgeHistoricalSociety,this“legend”became
popularinthe1830sandwasmadefamousin1876,
whenafictitious“eye-witness”journalwaspublished.

E

lmtreeshavecomeandgoneontheCambridge
common,andthisgavelisoneofhundredsof

souvenirscraftedfromthewoodofthesevarious
trees.AlthoughWashingtondidnotformally“take
command”underanelmtree’sbranches,hedidcome
toCambridgeinJuly1775and,arguably,startedhis
pathtothepresidencyatthattime.Thegavelisstilla
usefulhistoricalartifactteachinglessonsnotonly
abouttheAmericanRevolution,butalsoabouthow
memoriesareformedandhowcarefulwemustbe
whenrecountingtheeventsofhistorydecadesand
centurieslater.Inshort,thisgavelservesasaperfect
exampleoftheimportanceoftheNationalHeritage
Museum’sSupremeCouncilcollection.Theobjects
thatarelefthelptofillintheeventsandideasofthe
past,allowingustolearnandtomoveforward,while
alsoprovidingafoundationthatcanoffercomfort
andreassurance.

Amongtheitemsthatrelatetomorerecent

ScottishRitehistoryisasouvenircharmfromthe
1997annualmeetingheldinGrandRapids.This
charmwaspresentedtotheladiesofthemembersof
the1997classaspartofapilotprogramtoestablisha
logoforeachannualmeeting.Thecharm,nowinthe
NationalHeritageMuseumcollection,wasanearly
sample,madeaspartofthedesignprocess.In
additiontothesilver-toneversionselectedforthe
meeting,agold-toneexamplewasalsomadeasa
possiblechoiceandthecollectionincludesoneof
thesesamplesaswell.Justasduringthe1920sArt
DecoelementswereevidentinMasonicjewelryand
badges,thischarmwasinfluencedbytheaestheticof
thelate1990sandwillhelpfuturehistorianstobetter
understandthevaluesandactivitiesoftheScottish
Riteonehundredyearsfromnow.

Priortothetentative2013exhibitiononthe

historyoftheSupremeCouncil,N.M.J.,U.S.A.,the
NationalHeritageMuseumcontinuestoinclude
itemsfromtheSupremeCouncilcollectioninits
otherexhibitions.Thismonthweopenanew
exhibitiondrawnfromourextensiveclockcollection.
Amongthecollectionofnearly100timepieceson
viewisapocketwatchmadein1877inWaltham,
MA,justdowntheroadfromthemuseumin
Lexington.ThewatchhasbeenintheSupreme
Councilcollectionfordecades.Itisinscribed
“PresentedtoM.E.JosephB.Chaffee,P.G.H.P.by
theGrandRoyalArchChapterS.N.Y.inrecognition
ofFaithfulOfficialServices1877.”Chaffee(1830-
1882)servedtwoconsecutivetermsasGrandHigh
PriestofNewYork,butwasalsoaScottishRite
member,receivingthe33rddegreein1867.His
obituary,intheNorthernMasonicJurisdiction
Proceedingsfrom1883,statesthathisworkasGrand
HighPriest“leftanimprintnotimecanefface,”a
sentimentthatisfittinglyrepresentedbythispocket
watch.

Asthisshortlookatjustafewtreasuresinthe

SupremeCouncilcollectionshows,theseobjectsoffer
fascinatinginsightintothehistoryoftheScottish
Riteandassistusinpreservingthefraternity’spast
whileprovidingguidanceforthefuture.Ifyouhave
anyScottishRiteobjectsthatyouwouldliketo
donatetotheNationalHeritageMuseum’scollection,
pleasecontactAimeeE.Newell,SeniorCuratorof
Collections,anewell@monh.org,781-457-4144.We
areparticularlyinterestedinitemsfromthe1800s
andthosethatrelatetospecificScottishRite
members.

NL

"Washington Elm" Gavel, ca. 1975, 

National Heritage Museum, Supreme Council 

Collection from  Cornelius P. Cronin. 

Photograph by David Bohl.

Scottish Rite Souvenir Charm,

1997, National Heritage Museum.

 Photograph by David Bohl.