october 13, 2012 – JaNuary 6, 2013

4

  summer 2013 | scottish rite masonic museum & library

A Sublime Brotherhood 

Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry  

in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction

and Judeo-Christian teachings. It 
seeks to enhance and strengthen a 
man’s character by providing oppor-
tunities for fellowship, charity, educa-
tion and leadership. Freemasons often 
call the Scottish Rite “the University 
of Freemasonry,” as the higher degrees 
it confers supplement and amplify 
philosophical lessons by exploring the 
values, history and moral principles 
that guide members.
 While most people assume the 
Scottish Rite was established in  
Scotland, it was actually founded in 
France in the mid-1700s. Early Scot-
tish Rite organizations were started  
in places like the Dominican Republic 
and the West Indies, eventually taking 
root in upstate New York, New  
Orleans, and Philadelphia. On May 31, 
1801, the Scottish Rite formalized its 
existence in the United States when 
members gathered in Charleston, South 
Carolina, and opened a meeting of 
the “Supreme Council 33° of Free-
masonry.” This body has survived to 
the present day and is now known as 
the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, 
U.S.A. In the early 1800s, several 
prominent Masons established orga-
nizations in New York that competed 
with the Charleston Supreme Council. 
After much deliberation, in 1813 the 
Charleston Supreme Council granted 
a charter that established and gave 
sovereignty to the Supreme Council, 
33°, for the Northern Masonic Juris-
diction of the United States of America. 
This historic charter is included in  
the exhibition. 
 “A Sublime Brotherhood” delves 
into many facets of Masonic history 
including the era of growth and pros-
perity from 1867 through the 1920s. 
During these years, the Northern  

Auditorium Showing Stage, Masonic Cathedral, A.A.S.R., Bloomsburg, Pa., 1908. 

J.e. roys, bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. scottish rite masonic museum & Library Purchase, 

a96/066/1150. Photograph by David bohl.

T

he Scottish Rite Masonic 
Museum & Library an-
nounces the opening of  
the major exhibition, “A 

Sublime Brotherhood: Two Hundred 
Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in 
the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.” 
The exhibition celebrates the 200th 
anniversary of the fraternity, which 
today encompasses 165,000 mem-
bers in fifteen states.
  Through more than 100 objects 
and images ranging from decorative 
arts and paintings to stage costumes 
and folk art, “A Sublime Brotherhood” 
invites the visitor to travel through 
time to learn about the people who 
shaped the Scottish Rite’s Northern 
Masonic Jurisdiction and also about 
the fraternity’s contribution to its com-
munities. Freemasonry is a fraternal 
organization for men that teaches a 
system of ethics using symbols, rituals 
and ideas drawn from stonemasons’ 
regulations, Enlightenment philosophy 

scottish rite  

active member 

sculpture, 1983. 

robert burdette, 

Pekin, illinois. 

Gift of the  

supreme Council, 

33°, ancient  

accepted scottish 

rite, northern 

masonic Juris-

diction, u.s.a., 

2009.066.43. 

Photograph  

by David bohl.