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•  Summer 2014 | Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

I

n 1923 Dorothy Richardson, 
just 9, and her younger brother, 
Albert, received a card describing 
a special gift coming to them from 

their cousin, Caroline Pitkin. Pitkin, an 
artist living in New York City, packed 
a small cardboard box containing natu-
ral treasures—bark, small stones and 
a seal’s tooth—and carefully selected 
souvenirs from her travels to Europe, 
California and other places. With the 
present she gave the siblings instruc-
tions to “start your museum” and the 
promise of more artifacts to come. 
 “Prized Relics: Historic Souvenirs 
from the Collection,” explores the 
souvenirs and relics that fascinated many 
Americans in the 1800s and into the 
1900s. The show features more than 
80 of these intriguing artifacts from 
the Museum & Library collection, 
and from the collection of the Grand 
Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. 
The exhibition explores different 
kinds of relics and souvenirs connected 
to domestic life, tourism, Masonic  
institutions and historic events dating 
from the 1700s through the 1900s. 
“Prized Relics” is now open and  
is ongoing.

 One of the fascinating artifacts on 
view is an urn made by Paul Revere 
to hold a lock of George Washington’s 
hair, on loan from the Grand Lodge 
of Masons in Massachusetts. Washing-
ton’s death in 1799 prompted mourning 
across the country. Members of the 
Grand Lodge wrote to Washington’s 
widow, Martha, to express their sym-
pathy and to request a lock of the  
former president’s hair. The Grand 
Lodge commissioned silversmith and 
Past Grand Master Paul Revere to design 
and manufacture an urn made out  
of gold to enshrine the lock of hair— 

moccasins, 1800s. attributed to Penobscot, 

maine. Gift of Charles W. skinner, 81.27a-b. 

Photograph by David bohl. 

Prized Relics

HisToriC souVenirs from THe CoLLeCTion

a physical link to the much admired 
leader. Massachusetts Masons treasure 
the gold urn and display it every three 
years at the ceremony marking the 
installation of a new Grand Master.  
 

A unique lamp and lighter on view 

in the exhibition—possibly designed 
for use on a cigar store counter—both 
memorialized the tragedy that befell 
the USS Maine and advertised Bill  
Anthony cigars. In 1898 the USS Maine 
was docked in Havana, Cuba, to look 
after American interests. An explosion  

destroyed the battleship, killing more 
than 250 crew members. Cigar maker 
Jacob Stahl, Jr. & Co., capitalized on 
the wide interest in the tragedy and 
named a line of cigars after Anthony, 
a surviving hero of the sinking. 
 Quilt fragments may seem unusual 
artifacts to preserve, but when the quilt’s 
history is remembered and recorded 
they can be meaningful. Included in the 
exhibition are pieces cut out of a quilt 
made for Hannah Morgan Russell upon 

now on view

urn, 1800-1801. Paul revere (1734-1818), 

boston, massachusetts. Loaned by the 

Grand Lodge of masons in massachusetts. 

Photograph by David bohl.

Trench art Lamp, 1922. france or america. 

museum Purchase, 2000.059.8. Photograph  

by David bohl.

Quilt fragments, 1820–1830. Probably  

massachusetts. Gift of mrs. Joseph e. belcher, 

83.44.3a-b. Photograph by David bohl.

continued on page 7