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Apurple,whiteandgoldapronfrom

themid-1940s(nowinthecollectionof

theGrandLodgeofMassachusetts)has

anemblematbottomcentershowing

thesymboloftheDistrictDeputy

GrandMaster—acompassesandrule

withacrescentmooninthemiddle.

Aroundthetopofthesymbolisap-

pliedbraidspelling“China.”Indeed,

theapronhasamaker’slabelunderthe

flapreading,“KongSunGeneralTailor

andMasonicRegaliaSpecialistShang-

hai.”

ThefirstlodgeinChinawaschar-

teredin1865inShanghaibytheGrand

LodgeofMassachusetts.By1920,there

werefivelodgesinthatcountry.

Afterinitialsuccessandincreasing

membership,WorldWarIIbrought

darkdaystotheChineselodges.Allof

thecountry’slodgeswentintorecess

afterPearlHarborwithworsetocome.

Lodgepropertieswereseizedbythe

JapaneseandmanyMasonswerear-

rested,imprisonedorputintointern-

mentcamps.

Afterthewar,manyofthesesame

Masonsworkedtore-establishthefra-

ternityinChinaandtorebuildthetem-

ples.ThisapronwaswornbyDistrict

DeputyGrandMasterFranklinC.Fette,

thelastDistrictGrandMasterofChina.

Fettewasinstalledinthatpositionin

Bostonin1946.

Afterreviewingthelodge’srecords

housedinMassachusetts,hereturned

toChinatoworkonbringingtheBroth-

ersbacktogether.

AccordingtotheJune12,1946,Grand

LodgeofMassachusettsProceedings,

“newregaliaforeachofthefive[Chi-

nese]Lodgesisnowbeingmadeinthis

countryandwillbesentforwardas

soonaspossiblewiththecompliments

oftheGrandLodge.”

Judgingbythelabelsewntothis

apron,thatsameregaliawassupple-

mentedbyaprons,andperhapsother

items,madebyChineseregaliamak-

ers.

Inaddition,thisapronhelpsillus-

tratetheresiliencyofFreemasonryin

Chinabyshowingthattherewas

enoughdemandandresourcestosup-

portatleastoneregaliamakersosoon

afterthedefeatoftheJapanese.

Freemasonry’sRelationshipto
AmericanIndustry

Fromthe1700sthroughthepresent,

Masonicapronsillustratetheriseand

innovationsofAmericanmanufactur-

ing.Theyemployprevalentdecorative

andmanufacturingtechniquesoftheir

time.

Manylate1700sandearly1800s

apronswereprintedusinganengraving

plateandthenhand-paintedtofillin

details.

Otherearlyapronswerepaintedfree-

hand,usingpublishedbooksand

broadsidesforinspiration.Onepopular

designwasengravedbyEdwardHors-

manaround1815andwasparticularly

popularamongNewEnglandFreema-

sons.

TheGrandLodgeofMassachusetts

consideredtheemblemstobearranged

with“tasteandpropriety.”

TheVanGorden-WilliamsLibrary

andArchivesincludesmanyprinted

certificatesandbookswithdesignsthat

werealsoadaptedforaprons.

6

THENORTHERNLIGHT/MAY2007

MasonicDistrictDeputyGrandMasterofChinaapronwornby

R.W.FranklinC.Fette,circa1946,madebyKongSun,Shanghai,China.

LoanedbytheGrandLodgeofMasonsinMassachusetts.

MasonicapronownedbySovereignGrandCommanderWalterE.Webber

(1943-2006),circa1980-1990,MacoyPublishingandMasonic

SupplyCompany,Inc.,Richmond,Virginia.Collectionof

NationalHeritageMuseum,GiftofLeslieWebber.