Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library | Fall 2015    

3

on vieW through January 30, 2016

T

he Van Gorden-Williams 
Library & Archives recently 
received a generous gift of 
archival records from the 

Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, 
Malden, Massachusetts. Minute books, 
ledgers, membership files, and mark 
books from the donation are on view 
in the library’s reading room.  
 Said Jeffrey Croteau, Manager  
of the Library & Archives, “The gift 
from the Royal Arch Chapter of  the 
Tabernacle is important to us. Archives 
are essential to research about Free-
masonry. Unlike published materials,  
archival records are often unique. These 
records contain information that often 
cannot be found anywhere else, and 
are valuable for that reason. We are 
pleased to add this material to our 
collection, and encourage other   
Masonic organizations to be in touch 
if they are interested in donating 
books or other archival material.”  
 Two mark books, dating from 
1946–1963 from the Bethsaida Royal 
Arch Chapter in Everett, Massachusetts, 
are on view. The Mark Master degree 
is conferred in Royal Arch Chapters. 
As part of the degree, each candidate 
selects a unique, personal “mark,” an 
allusion to the marks that working 
stonemasons left on medieval stone 
work. Marks often rep-resent or in-
corporate a Mason’s name or occupa-
tion, or feature Masonic symbols. 
Founded in 1911, Bethsaida Chapter 
later merged with Shekinah Royal 
Arch Chapter. Bethsaida-Shekinah 
then merged with Tabernacle Chapter 
in 1996.   
 A minute book (1922–1930) 
shows the records of eight years of 

Converse Lodge meetings. Established 
in 1887, Converse Lodge still meets 
today in Malden, Massachusetts. 
Founders named the lodge after   
Elisha Slade Converse (1820–1904),  
a Massachusetts Mason and the first 
mayor of Malden. President of the 
Boston Rubber Shoe Company, Con-
verse was a cousin of the more famous 
Marquis Mills Converse (1861–1931), 
also of Malden, whose sneaker  
company still bears his name. 
 A “Ladies’ Night” pamphlet — 
produced for a New Year’s Eve party 
held to usher in 1916—includes a 
dance card, a list of the evening’s  
entertainment, and a dinner menu.
 The Van Gorden-Williams Library 
& Archives is one of the premiere  
repositories in the United States for 
the study of Freemasonry and frater-
nalism. The Library & Archives holds 

comprehensive collections on the  
subject of American Freemasonry, as 
well as other fraternal organizations, 
such as the Independent Order of 
Odd Fellows and the Knights of   
Pythias. We also collect material on 
various subjects in American history, 
which serve to provide broader con-
text for the Masonic and fraternal 
collections.
 Since its inception, the Library  
& Archives has continued to acquire 
items—from unique manuscripts to 
the latest scholarship on fraternalism 
—through purchases and donations.  
 If you have a question about our 
collections or would like to discuss  
a donation of books or archival   
materials to the Library & Archives, 
please e-mail library@monh.org or 
call 781-457-4109.

left: samuel Charles Jacobus’s “mark” 

from bethsaida Royal arch Chapter Mark 

book, 1957, Everett, Massachusetts. Gift of 

the Royal arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, 

Malden, Massachusetts, Ma 300.

Gift from the  

Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle 

on ViEw in THE THE Van GoRDEn-williaMs libRaRY & aRCHiVEs

above: william august Mietzner’s “mark” 

from bethsaida Royal arch Chapter Mark 

book, 1957, Everett, Massachusetts. Gift of 

the Royal arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, 

Malden, Massachusetts, Ma 300.