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THENORTHERNLIGHT/NOVEMBER2006

TheOnly
Tangible
Souvenir

ByAIMEEE.NEWELL

Thebadgeisapleasantreminder

ofthegoodtimesexperienced

H

owmanymeetingbadgesdo

youhaveathome?Doyoucol-

lectthemandstorethemina

cigarboxorashoeboxtoremember

thetrip?Or,doyoutossthemoutasyou

leavethemeeting?

Thecardonthebackofabadgefrom

theSouthernJurisdiction’s1937bien-

nialmeetingasks,“Haveyouthought

ofthis?

Thebadgeisoftentheonlytangible

souvenirthatremainsinthepossession

ofthememberwhoattended.”

Whilethebadge’sproducer,the

Whitehead&HoagCompanyof

Newark,NewJersey,hadcertainulte-

riormotivestoincreaseitsbusinessand

profits,theexplanationprovidedonthe

carddoesringtrue.Itreads,“Thebadge

...isapleasantreminderofallthe...

goodtimesexperienced.”

AttheNationalHeritageMuseum,a

boxofbadgesarrivingfromaprospec-

tivedonoroftenleadsto“oohs”and

“aahs”ofexcitementaswefindabadge

thatwe’veneverseenbefore.

Partofthemuseum’smissionisto

collectandresearchthehistoryof

FreemasonryintheUnitedStatesallthe

wayuptoyesterday.

Personalitemssuchasbadgesoffer

anintriguingwaytolearnaboutseveral

aspectsofthehistoryofMasonry—

whosponsoredeventsandmeetings;

howthestyleofthebadgereflectsthe

erainwhichitwasmade;andthelife

storyofspecificmembers.

TheNationalHeritageMuseumre-

centlyreceivedagiftcontainingover

400badges,pinsandothersmallsou-

venirsfrommorethan20differentfra-

ternalorganizationsanddatingfrom

thelate1800sthroughthe1970s.

Aparticularlystrikingbadgecomes

fromtheSouthernJurisdiction’s1931

meetingheldinWashington,DC.

Althoughwedonotknowwhowore

thisparticularbadge,bothitsoverall

designandthemaker’smarkonthe

backofferpotentialavenuesoffruitful

research.

Badgesofthistype,whicharepartic-

ularlyartistic,showthetwo-waymo-

tionofdesigninfluenceandstylebe-

tweenFreemasonryandAmericansou-

venirsandfurnishings.

PredominantAmericanmotifsand

stylesinfluencetheappearanceofMa-

sonicregaliaandbadges.

Likewise,Masonicmotifsandsym-

bolscanalsobeseenonfurniture,ce-

ramicsandotheritemsfromthe1900s.

MetropolitanArtcraftinNewYork

CitymadethebadgefortheSouthern

Jurisdiction’smeeting.Atthetopisa

pinreading,“Washington,D.C.Oct.

1931.”Suspendedfromthepinisa

medalwithtwostepsatthebottom

reading,“131stYear/TheSupreme

Council33°/A&ASR/SouthernJu-

risdictionUSA.”

Agold-tonesphinxwiththeScottish

Rite’sdouble-headedeaglesymbolon

itschestandacrownaboveitshead

decoratesthecenterofthebadge.Flags

inred,whiteandbluedrapeatthe

sides.

TheSupremeCounciloftheSouthern

JurisdictionmetinWashington,DC,for

afullweekin1931.NorthernJurisdic-

tionmembersattendingthemeetingin-

AMIEEE.NEWELL,istheCuratorofCollections,National
HeritageMuseum.

Asamplingoftheseveralhundredbadgesinthemuseum’scollection.