masonic royal arch apron, 1847–1865. Worcester, probably boston. Gift of francis Karwowski, 

2014.022.2. Photograph by David bohl.

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library | Summer 2014  

  5

A

t the Scottish Rite Masonic 
Museum & Library, we  
are fortunate to have more 
than 400 aprons in the col-

lection—most are Masonic, but many 
were used by members of other frater-
nal organizations. Our existing collec-
tion allows us to be choosy when we 
add to it—we can look for designs we 
don’t have and aprons with compelling 
stories about their owners or their 
use. Recently a member of the Scottish 
Rite Valley of Schenectady made a gen-
erous gift of six aprons. The one shown 
here is a Royal Arch apron with a de-
sign copied from Jeremy L. Cross’s well-
known 1819 book, The True Masonic 
Chart, or Hieroglyphic Monitor.
 The back of the apron bears a 
mark stamped by its seller: “From 
A.W. Pollard’s, 6 Court Street, Boston.” 
Abner W. Pollard (1808–1886) was 
raised a Master Mason in Boston’s 
Mount Lebanon Lodge in 1846. Soon 
after, he began advertising that he 
sold Masonic regalia. He continued 
this business until the mid-1860s 
when he retired and his son Byron 
(1841–1919) took over, forming a 
partnership with Samuel P. Leighton 
(1836–1916).
 Another recent apron acquisition  
is this unusual example that was used 
by an unidentified member of the Inde-
pendent Order of Odd Fellows. Its shield 
shape and silver bullion fringe suggest 
that it dates to the 1840s or 1850s and 
the three-link chain symbol along the 
bottom helps identify it as an Odd 
Fellows apron. Originally founded in 
England in 1745, the American branch 
of the Odd Fellows was organized in 
Baltimore in 1819 by Thomas Wildey 
(1782–1861). The Odd Fellows took 
inspiration from the Freemasons—
they conferred degrees through rituals 
and wore aprons. However, the group 

Recent Acquisitions – Adding to the Apron Collection

stopped wearing aprons during the 
1800s, while Freemasons continue  
to use them to this day.
 While we only have room to show 
two aprons here, we are pleased to 
announce that Aimee E. Newell, Ph.D., 
our Director of Collections, has recently 

completed the manuscript for a catalog 
of our Masonic apron collection. The 
book, which includes more than 80 
examples from the Museum’s collection, 
will be available next spring. Please 
check our website for details as we 
get closer to the publication date.

independent order of odd fellows apron, 1840–1860. unidentified maker, united states.

museum purchase, 2014.010. Photograph by David bohl.