•  Spring 2015 | Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library


alled “the badge of a Free-
mason” in Masonic ritual, 
the fraternity’s apron was 
adapted from the protec-

tive aprons worn by working stone-
masons during the 1600s and 1700s.  
Still worn by members today, the 
apron remains one of the iconic sym-
bols of Freemasonry.  This catalogue 
presents more than 100 aprons from 
the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum  
& Library collection with full-color 
photographs and new research.  
Many of the aprons have never been 
published before. Worn by Freema-
sons throughout the centuries, aprons 
feature eye-catching colors and mate-
rials and show the symbols essential 
to Masonic lessons.  The aprons are 
organized chronologically to help 
demonstrate their evolution in shape, 

The Badge of a Freemason

Masonic Aprons from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

style and materials from the eighteenth 
century through the twentieth century.
 The book tells many new stories 
about apron makers, owners, the 
practice of Freemasonry and how 
fashion and style influenced regalia.  
Entries include the Scottish Rite 32



degree apron from about 1861 that 
was owned by James H. Freeland 
(1927–1902).  Freeland became a 
Master Mason at Hampden Lodge in 
Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1850.  
Active as a clothing manufacturer  
and retailer, Freeland founded the 
Continental Clothing House in Bos-
ton with Silas Loomis in 1873. Well 
after Freeland died, the company was 
purchased by William Filene’s Sons 
Company in 1923. Freeland joined 
the Scottish Rite in 1859 and later 

neW bOOk! nOW avaiLabLe FOR pRe-ORDeR!

special pre-order discount for Museum & Library members and members 
of the scottish rite northern Masonic Jurisdiction—$33 (plus shipping,  
and tax for Massachusetts addresses). after June 1, book will be available 
for full price of $39.95 (plus tax and shipping).

received its honorary 33



in 1863.
 Another featured apron is in-
scribed on the back “Captured at the 
battle of Logan’s Field, KY. Jan. 19, 
1862, by M.D. Manson Com[man]
d[in]g 2d Brigade.” Research into  
this statement, as well as the family 

history that accompanied 

the donation of the apron 
in 2004, led to the discov-

ery that this apron was 

found on a Civil War  
battlefield in 1862 by 

General Mahlon D.  

Manson (1820–1895). 

Manson was born in 
Ohio where he joined  

Piqua’s Warren Lodge 

No. 24 in 1841, later  

sample page  

from The Badge  

of a Freemason