TheNorthernLight

/February2008

9

MasonryoftheNorth
Americancontinent.”

Oneofthefirstgiftswasa

goldcoatofarmsofthe
Warrenfamilydonatedby
JosephWarrenLodge.

Thedelicateitemincludes

adepictionoftheWarren
family’scoatofarms,along
withtwoengravedgoldban-
nersreading,“CoatofArms
oftheWarrenfamilyof
EnglandofwhichPast
GrandMasterGen.Joseph
Warren,wasadescendant”
and“PresentedtotheMost
Wor.GrandLodgeofMass.

ByJosephWarrenLodgeF.andA.M.”

Fromthatbeginning,todaythecollectionin-

cludesalmost12,000objectsanddocumentsand
iscurrentlystoredattheNationalHeritageMu-
seuminLexington,MA,whereitishousedac-
cordingtoacceptedmuseumstandards.

Thiscollectionoffersavaluableresourcefor

studentsofbothMasonichistoryandAmerican
history.Souvenirsandmementoesfromthecele-
brationsdescribedherearepartofthecollection,
offeringauniqueperspectiveontheseeventsand
providingadditionalsourcesofinformationto
enrichthenewspaperaccountsandprintedde-
scriptionsintheGrandLodgeProceedings.

SomeoftheobjectsintheGrandLodgecol-

lectionarevaluablefortheirassociationwiththe
personwhoworeorusedthem.Onesuchexam-
pleisanapronwornbyformerUnitedStates
PresidentWilliamHowardTaft(1857-1930)
whenheattendedtheGrandLodge’sStated
CommunicationonDec.29,1914.

HistermasPresidentendedin1913,andhe

subsequentlybecameaprofessoroflawatYale
UniversityuntilhewasmadeChiefJusticeofthe
UnitedStatesin1921.Taftseemstohavebeen
invitedtotheGrandLodgebyitsGrandMaster,
MelvinM.Johnson(1871-1957),whowasa
professorattheBostonUniversityLawSchool.

Taft’svisitationtotheGrandLodgecapped

offathree-daytouroftheCommonwealth;he
alsospokeinSpringfieldandwasanhonored
guestatthetriennialdinnerfortheBarAssocia-
tionofBoston.

Taft’sfatherwasaMason,belongingtoKil-

winningLodgeinCincinnati,OH.Afterex-
pressinginterestinbecomingaFreemason
shortlybeforehisPresidentialcandidacy,Taft
wasmadeaMason“atsight”onFeb.18,1909by
hisfather’slodge.

HisremarksattheGrandLodgein1914sug-

gesthisunderstandingthatthiswasanunusual,
andsometimescontroversial,wayofbeingraised,
“IdonotfeelthatIgotintoMasonryexactlyin
therightway.Whenyougetintothepresidency
yougetintoagoodmanythingsyoudonotget
intointherightway;andIdidnothavedisci-
plineenoughandthoroughnessoftraining
enoughincomingintoMasonryandthereforeI
alwaysfeel,withMasons,abitunworthy.”

Despitehismodestyandfeelingsofunworthi-

ness,TaftwaswarmlywelcomedbytheGrand
Lodge.Over500MassachusettsMasonsat-
tendedthemeetingandhecompletedhisre-
markstogreatapplause.

TheGrandLodgecelebrateditslastgalain

1983whenitturned250.Locallodgeswereen-
couragedtoplanatleastonecelebratoryevent
andfourparadeswerescheduled—twoinApril
andtwoinJune.

OnApril10,theGrandLodgededicateda

timecapsuletobeopenedatits300thanniver-
saryin2033.Thenextday,onApril11,1983,the
GrandLodgecelebratedits250thAnniversary
Communication.

TheeventwasheldattheBostonParkPlaza

Hotelandincludedabanquetaswellasremarks
byallofthelivingPastGrandMasters(saveone,
inhislate90s,whocouldnottravel).

TheGrandLodgewasjoinedbymanydistin-

guishedforeignguests,areminderofitsposition
asthethirdoldestGrandLodgeintheworld.

Asecond250thcelebrationtookplaceonthe

actualdateoftheanniversary,July30,1983,
whentheGrandLodgeputonare-enactmentof
theConstitutionofFirstLodge,completewith
costumesandareadingofthehistoricdocu-
ments.

ThiscelebrationtookplaceatOldNorth

ChurchinBoston,toaddhistoricalambiance.

Allofthesecelebrations,fromthe1700sto

the1900s,includesimilarelements—proces-
sions,orations,regalia,andmostimportantly,
proudMasonswillingtosharetheirtriumphs
andtheirsorrowwiththeircommunities.

FortheU.S.Presidentswhowerefeatured

speakerstothelocalresidentswhosimply
cheeredtheprocessions,theGrandLodgeof
Massachusettsofferedasetofvirtuestoemulate
andrepresentedaproudhistory.Thesetraditions
continuetoday.

TheGrandLodgelendsahandinitscommu-

nitytorecognizesorrowandtocelebrate
achievements.

BoththeNationalHeritageMuseumandthe

GrandLodgeofMassachusettshopethatyou
willjoininthecelebrationthisyeartocreate
yourownmemories.

NL

Invitation to the 
250th Anniversary
of the Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts,
1983, Collection of
National Heritage
Museum, Gift of
William Caleb 
 Loring.