Library & Archives Recent Acquisitions
Through January 30, 2016
The Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives recently received a generous gift of archival records from the Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle, Malden, Massachusetts. Minute books, ledgers, membership files, and mark books from the donation are on view in the library’s reading room.
Said Jeffrey Croteau, Manager of the Library & Archives, “The gift from the Royal Arch Chapter of the Tabernacle is important to us. Archives are essential to research about Freemasonry. Unlike published books, archival records are often unique. These records contain information that often cannot be found anywhere else, and are valuable for that reason. We are pleased to add this material to our collection, and encourage other Masonic organizations to be in touch if they are interested in donating books or other archival material.”
Two mark Books, dating from 1946-1963 from the Bethsaida Royal Arch Chapter in Everett, Massachusetts, will be on view. The Mark Master degree is conferred in Royal Arch Chapters. As part of the degree, each candidate selects a unique, personal “mark,” an allusion to the marks that working stonemasons left on medieval stone work. Marks often represent or incorporate a Mason’s name or occupation, or feature Masonic symbols. The two volumes of marks on view are from a set from Bethsaida Royal Arch Chapter. Founded in 1911, Bethsaida Chapter later merged with Shekinah Royal Arch Chapter. Bethsaida-Shekinah then merged with Tabernacle Chapter in 1996.
A minute book (1922-1930) shows the records of eight years of Converse Lodge meetings. Established in 1887, Converse Lodge still meets today in Malden, Massachusetts. Founders named the lodge after Elisha Slade Converse (1820-1904), a Massachusetts Mason and the first mayor of Malden. President of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company, Converse was a cousin of the more famous Marquis Mills Converse (1861-1931), also of Malden, whose sneaker company still bears his name.
A Ladies’ Night pamphlet —produced for a New Year’s Eve party held to usher in 1916—includes a dance card, a list of the evening’s entertainment, and a dinner menu.
The Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives is one of the premiere repositories in the United States for the study of Freemasonry and fraternalism. The Library & Archives holds comprehensive collections on the subject of American Freemasonry, as well as other fraternal organizations, such as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias. We also collect material on various subjects in American history, including the American Revolution, decorative arts, material culture, and other topics which serve to provide broader context for the Masonic and fraternal collections.
Since its inception, the Library & Archives has continued to acquire items—from unique manuscripts to the latest scholarship on fraternalism—through purchases and donations.
If you have a question about our collections or would like to discuss a donation of books or archival materials to the Library & Archives, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781-457-4109.