4

August2010/

TheNorthernLight

Celebrating

Pennsylvania

ACENTERFORAMERICAN
ANDMASONICHISTORY

ByAIMEEE.NEWELL,Ph.D.

P

ennsylvania,thelocationforthe2011
NorthernMasonicJurisdiction’sannual

meeting,hasalongMasonichistory–and
PhiladelphiaisacenterofAmericanpatriotism
withsitessuchasIndependenceHall,theLiberty
BellandtheNationalConstitutionCenter.The
ScottishRiteMasonicMuseumandLibraryin
Lexington,MA,isfortunatetohavemorethan
700objectsmadeintheKeystoneState.
Highlightedherearejustafewoftheseitemsin
ordertoshowcasethelongMasonichistoryin
thestate,itsrichtraditionofdecorativearts,and
itsfraternalactivitiesduringthe1800sand1900s.

TheBirthplaceofLiberty

Oneofthetreasuresofthemuseumandlibrary

collection,whichisalsooneofthefirstgiftsit
receivedin1975,isthe“porthole”portraitof
GeorgeWashingtonbyPhiladelphiaartist
RembrandtPeale(1778-1860).Peale,whowas
thesonoffamedAmericanartistCharles
WillsonPeale(1741-1827),paintedWashington
fromlifein1795.Hewouldgoontoproduce
about70copiesfromthatoriginal,advertisingit
as“TheNationalPortrait&StandardLikenessof
Washington.”Thepaintinginthemuseum’s
collectiondatestoabout1847andwasoriginally
ownedbyHenryPaulBeck,great-grandfatherof
thepainting’sdonor.Accompanyingtheportrait
wastheoriginalreceiptwhichisnowpartofthe
museum’sarchivescollection.Pealecharged$125
fortheportraitatthetime,aconsiderableprice
whenmanyartisansmade$1perday.

WhileRembrandtPealerecognizedthe

importanceofWashingtontohiscountryasearly
as1795,manyAmericansfullyembracedtheir
historyin1876whentheCentennialExposition
washeldinPhiladelphia.Oneofthemost
popularattractionsatthefairwastheglass
factoryoperatedbyPhiladelphiafirmGillinder

andSons.Founded
in1861asthe
FranklinFlint
GlassWorks,the
companytookthe
nameGillinderand
Sonsin1867.They
offeredafulllineof
glasswareinthe
LibertyBellpattern
whichmayhave
includedtheclear
glasssaltshaker
shownhere.This
pieceisnotsigned,
unfortunately,and
otherfirmsalso
madeLibertyBellitems,butitdoessuggestthe
appearanceoftheGillinderLibertyBellglass
thatwasmadeonsiteattheCentennial
Expositionwhichsoldinlargequantitiesto
fairgoers.Thisshakerhasletteringonbothsides.
Onesidereads“1776/CentennialExposition/
1876,”whiletheotherhastheverse“Proclaim
Liberty/ThroughoutAlltheLand,”fromthe
Bible’sbookofLeviticus.

Pennsylvania’sMasonicTraditions

Freemasonshavecometogetherin

Pennsylvaniaforalmostthreecenturies.For
almostaslong,MassachusettsandPennsylvania
havedebatedwhichstatehastheoldestGrand
Lodge.WhileMassachusettslaysclaimtothe
oldestdulyconstitutedGrandLodge–datingto
1733–adeputationwasgrantedtoDanielCoxe
threeyearsearlierin1730,appointinghimas
ProvincialGrandMasterofNewYork,New
JerseyandPennsylvania.Thereislittlehard
evidencetoshowthatCoxetookanystepsto
fulfilltheconditionsofhisdeputation–especially

GeorgeWashington

(1732-99),ca.1847,

RembrandtPeale

(1778-1860),

Philadelphia.

Giftof

JohnB.Webster.

Photoby

JohnM.Miller.