Friday, September 30, 2022

‘Lodge by lantern light’

Warren Lodge 32’s Masonic Hall was built in 1865 in the Italianate style.
It was relocated to its present site in 2011.

I’ll conclude September with my scattered recollections of a terrific night seven weeks ago at Warren Lodge 32 way up in Schulztville for the occasion of a most enjoyable festive board by lantern light.

I’ll tell ya: If you ever want to hold a meeting or meal outside at night by lantern light, go for it.

Warren 32 is New York’s last remaining “moon lodge,” meaning a lodge that meets on or about the night of the full moon. This special festive board was hosted on Saturday the thirteenth, which actually was two nights after August’s full moon (a Sturgeon Moon), so the convenience of the guests was accommodated by waiting for the weekend. And we guests turned out in force. I think I counted about sixty seated around the U-shaped “lodge” outdoors under the tent, and the travelers greatly outnumbered our hosts. A caravan of Grand Lodge officers, headed by Grand Master Kessler and Deputy Grand Master Rubin, arrived, obviously having come from a previous event somewhere.

Other brethren visited from around New York, New England, and elsewhere. I was invited to sit between Masons from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. There’s clearly a special energy present when meeting traveling Masons and being able to talk about things in common, however small. I told the brother from New Hampshire that I had been to the Manchester Temple two months prior for Masonic Con, and told the Massachusetts brother about my visits to two lodges on Cape Cod last year. Conversely, I was told about a tour of Masonic Hall in Manhattan.

Portrait of Augustus Schultz hangs in the East.

The Warren Lodge brethren made this a history nerd-friendly event. They had a brother appear in the character of Bro. Augustus Schultz, the benefactor of the lodge who died too young at 26 in the 1860s, and bequeathed to Warren Lodge the funds that enabled it to purchase the land and construct the meeting hall where Warren was at labor until 2011. (Bro. Schultz did likewise for a local church.) That’s Schultz, as in Schultzville, the lodge’s original hometown until the building was picked up and relocated half a mile north to stand next to the Clinton town hall.

You may have guessed the lodge was named for Revolutionary War hero Joseph Warren, and an additional attraction of the night was the attendance of a descendant of Warren. I think his name is Keith, but don’t quote me. Grand Master DeWitt Clinton issued its warrant.

A small altar, as was furnished centuries ago.

The U.S. flag featured fifteen stars from 1795 to 1818.

The festive board was great. Unlimited quantities of good food plus red wine for the usual toasts. The vino was Cribari, a label unknown to me. I’ll have to ask Bro. Cupschalk if he knows it, because we were drinking from shot glasses, for the obvious reason, and tasting was not a priority.

The weather was perfect: sunny blue skies during the day; cool and dry after sundown. Great company. A satiating meal amid a mellow ambiance thanks to the scores of small lambent flames in the lanterns. I failed to bring a briar and a sweet Virginia mixture, thinking it would have been forbidden, but evidently I could have joined RW Rubin, who was savoring his vanilla cavendish. I hope Warren does it again next August—and I’m bringing a pipe if they do. Harry says they’re looking at July 29, 2023.

Masonic Hall from the rear at dusk.
The octagonal cupola is a hallmark of Italianate architecture.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

‘1730 Fellow-Craft’s Degree’


Thank you for reading The Magpie Mason. Today, we begin our fifteenth year together.

Publicity Lodge 1000 returned from its Summer Refreshment on Monday the twelfth, beginning a new year of Masonic labor. The Magpie Mason was scheduled to present a discussion of Masonic educational value, so, with a Ceremony of Passing on the trestleboard for an upcoming meeting, I chose the Fellow Craft Degree as that topic of conversation. And not just any second degree, but the one printed in 1730 by one Samuel Prichard in his essential ritual exposure Masonry Dissected, newly published by the Masonic Book Club. Masonic rituals, Masonic lodges, Masonic grand lodges, Masonic everythings were very different 300 years ago. All of it was very basic compared to what we have today.

I explained how when Masons think of lodges, we understandably envision the modern lodge room, with its varied furniture, seating arrangement, equipment, décor, etc., but things were primitive in the early eighteenth century when lodges met in tavern dining rooms or in private homes. There were no tall pillars flanking the Inner Door (there was no Inner Door!), and instead the brethren spoke ritually of J and B, explaining their purposes and describing their looks, using language similar enough to what we know today.

I told the lodge I was going to read the ritual of the degree. Read the ritual?! That could take hours! Yet the ritual of that period was very basic as well, consisting of a call-and-response dialog among the Worshipful Master and the brethren (not unlike our current Opening and Closing rituals) that spans only five pages of the MBC edition. The Fellow Craft Degree of 1730 included no elaborate floor work, no lengthy monolog lecture or other ceremonious orations, no hoodwink, nor other elements we today expect. Some of those features already were revealed to the candidate during the “Enter’d ’Prentice’s Degree,” and so went forsaken in the second degree. Anyway, reading the entire “Fellow-Craft’s Degree” ritual required only a couple of minutes. I won’t transcribe it all here, but do recommend to you the new book from the MBC. They will have more copies for sale after the subscription sales have been satisfied. (I saw Lewis Masonic had it listed for sale the other day, but it seems to be gone from their website now.)

Unsurprisingly, the letter G is very significant to the degree. I’ll share this brief passage. It rhymes and is in question-and-answer form. The dialog is between the Master and different brethren in the lodge (not the candidate, who wouldn’t be capable of answering), so you really had to know your ritual because you wouldn’t know which answers you’d be expected to recite on any given evening.

Q. Can you repeat the letter G?

A. I’ll do my endeavor. In the midst of Solomon’s Temple there stands a G, a letter fair to all to read and see, but few there be that understands what means that letter G.

Q. My friend, if you pretend to be of this fraternity, you can forthwith and rightly tell what means that letter G.

A. By sciences are brought to light bodies of various kinds, which do appear to perfect sight, but none but males shall know my mind.

Q. The Right shall.

A. If Worshipful.

Q. Both Right and Worshipful I am, to hail you I have command, that you do forthwith let me know, as I you may understand.

A. By Letters Four [the Word of EA] and Science Five [the fifth science, Geometry] this G aright does stand, in a due art and proportion, you have your answer, friend.

Q. My friend, you answer well, if Right and Free Principles you discover, I’ll change your name from friend, and henceforth call you Brother.

A. The Sciences are well composed of noble structure’s verse, a Point, a Line, and an Outside, but a Solid is the last.

Q. God’s good greeting be to this our happy meeting.

A. And all the Right Worshipful Brothers and Fellows.

Q. Of the Right Worshipful and Holy Lodge of St. John’s.

A. From whence I came.

Q. Greet you, greet you, greet you thrice, heartily well, craving your name.

A. (Candidate gives his name.)

Q. Welcome, Brother, by the grace of God.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

‘The great mission of our fraternity’


The hundredth anniversary of the constitution of my lodge is a month away, so I am reading about that occasion and about the concurrent activities of Freemasonry in the State of New York. The latter is particularly impressive.

The Grand Lodge of New York obviously was a huge jurisdiction. Its lodges numbered 921 and had 272,634 Master Masons on the rolls in 1922-23. And it was a force internationally, having chartered lodges in Finland and Romania, with more planned in Hungary.

Europe’s wounds from the First World War were still being triaged, and the Grand Lodge became a leader in trying to establish an international federation of Masonic grand lodges to reconnect the fraternal bonds severed by the war. Ultimately, the Masonic International Association, the first of its kind in the Order’s history, did not come to fruition, but the Grand Lodge of New York was alone among the forty-nine U.S. jurisdictions to make the effort. Grand Master Arthur Tompkins, in his address to the Grand Lodge at the close of that term, said:

MW Arthur S. Tompkins
The spirit of strife is abroad in the world. National hatred, racial hatred, class prejudices, religious hatred, and individual hatreds are the curse of humanity and a blight upon the civilization of the twentieth century, and the world needs the influences of religion and the precepts of the Great Light in Masonry and the practical application of the Doctrine of the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man to cure its ills and heal its wounds and calm the passions and subdue the prejudices of men and classes of men and nations and to bring concord, peace, and happiness to all nations. These are the only forces that can reach and regenerate the hearts of men and transform their brutal, selfish, and intolerance instincts into the attributes of love and service and toleration, and we American nations should welcome every opportunity to extend our activities and influences throughout the world….

Why cannot Masonry cooperate throughout the world to help suffering humanity and save the civilization now in jeopardy?

American Freemasonry, with all its prosperity and strength, owes to the Masons of all the countries of the world its sympathy, cooperation, the influence of its ideals, the power of its example, and the benefits of its counsel and leadership. We American Masons should not confine our activities and benefactions to our own country and our own national problems. The Masons of Europe are looking to us for leadership, and I believe that a union of all the Masonic forces in the world will be a great power, a potential force, for the promotion of the spirit of fraternity and brotherhood, peace and goodwill and may materially aid in the moral reconstruction of the world.

It’s a grandiose message to the modern ear. Quite a shift in Masonry’s focus from how Tompkins expressed it then to today. Now it isn’t even “our own national problems” (if only), but is merely the fraternity’s organizational maladies. But a century ago was patriotic times. The Grand Lodge made Masonic holidays of Flag Day and George Washington’s Masonic birthday for the lodges to celebrate. MW Tompkins urged the lodges to support public education, calling it “the cornerstone and bulwark of our liberties, and the only sure guarantee of our stability and perpetuity as a republic.” (Talk about changing times!) And, of course, there was the recent establishment of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Hospital.

Outside the sacred retreat, Arthur Tompkins was a major figure in civic and political life. A party chairman, a holder of judgeships, a U.S. Congressman. During the years he served as deputy grand master and grand master of the Grand Lodge of New York, Arthur S. Tompkins also was a New York Supreme Court justice. From what I’ve read, Tompkins simply could have asked for his party’s gubernatorial nomination in 1926, but he did not, and he endorsed another judge. In the thirties, near the end of his life, Tompkins was an associate justice of the Appellate Division.

And, yes, he was related to Daniel D. Tompkins; theirs was a family that established roots in America in the 1640s.

On Americanism, he was an idealist. In that same speech to the Grand Lodge, he concluded:

I have heard it stated by overzealous Masons that our government is a Masonic government. If by that they mean that Masons had much to do with the early history of our Republic, its birth and growth, they are right, but if intended in the broader sense, they are wrong and such statements are only calculated to cause controversy and resentment. We hear people talk about a white man’s government, and a Protestant government. These statements are true only in the sense that there are more white people and more Protestants in our country than there are people of other colors and creeds. Our Government is not exclusively a white man’s government, or a Catholic, or a Protestant or a Jewish or a Gentile Government, in the sense that the liberties, privileges, opportunities, and all the good things of the American Republic are for one class alone or that one class or race or creed may dominate all others in respect of their liberties, rights and privileges, and never will be such a Government if the ideals and purposes of the patriot fathers, the founders of our Republic, are perpetuated. Ours is a great democracy, made up of all kinds and classes, from all nations and all tongues and creeds. It is a Government as Lincoln declared “of the people, by the people and for the people,” of and by and for all the people, Jew and Gentile, Protestant and Catholic, white and black, and we cannot set up class against class, labor against capital, Protestant against Catholic, Jew against Gentile, the white man against the black man, without impairing the stability and imperiling the perpetuity of our Republic. Our democracy cannot permanently endure unless all classes, creeds, and races are allowed to live and work and worship freely and peaceably under the equal protection of the law. Any movement that is calculated to fan and intensify the fires of religious bigotry or class antagonisms or race prejudices will be deprecated and deplored by men who love their country and who want to keep it noble and make its future greater. There are peaceful and lawful agencies for the punishment of crime, the protection of individual and property rights, the redress of wrong, the vindication of the right and the preservation of our institutions and all the things that we Masons hold dear. Let us then be true to our Masonic faith and by precept and example, by loyalty and steadfastness, strive to allay the bitterness, to close the breach, to heal the wounds that have been and are being caused by these unfortunate and unnecessary antagonisms. Let our aim and all our influence be for a universal brotherhood and a world-wide peace, that is the great mission of our fraternity.

Arthur Tompkins cocktail
In my brief reading on Arthur Sydney Tompkins, I see how he was a serious cigar lover, and that the Rockland Tobacco Company of Nyack sold a cigar named Judge Tompkins Corona with the tagline “A Supreme Cigar Verdict.” I also stumbled across the existence of a cocktail named Arthur Tompkins. I haven’t yet found its history (nor have I pinned down his politics vis-à-vis Prohibition), so I can’t conclude it is named for our past grand master, but I’ll keep looking. The recipe is simple though:

 Photos courtesy cocktailpro


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

‘Bolívar’s Scottish Rite regalia’

Magpie file photo
The Thirty-Second Degree collar and apron owned by Simón Bolívar. I shot this photo at Fraunces Tavern Museum twenty years ago when Tom Savini curated an exhibit of Livingston Library treasures there. I had this published in The Northern Light not long after.

One week from tomorrow, the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library will host an online discussion of the Scottish Rite regalia owned by Bro. Simón Bolívar. Bro. Alexander Vastola, Director of the library, will be the presenter, explaining Bolívar’s Masonic life, and how his Thirty-Second Degree collar and apron became the property of the library.

Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. Click here to register.

Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), “the George Washington of South America,” was a military and political leader essential to the liberation of multiple South American nations from Spanish colonial control, including Venezuela, Colombia, and, of course, Bolivia. His Masonic lodge is unknown, but history remembers him, with Argentine José de San Martin and Cuban José Martí, also Freemasons, as heroes of their nations’ wars of independence.

Central Park Conservancy
Our city has been adorned with several Bolívar monuments since 1891. The current statue was dedicated at Bolivar Hill in 1921. President Warren Harding, made a Mason the previous year in Marion Lodge 70 in Ohio, delivered a foreign policy speech on relations among the Americas at the dedication. The statue was moved to Sixth Avenue at 59th Street, at Central Park, in 1951, after Sixth was dubbed the Avenue of the Americas. (The statues of San Martin and Martí were added there later.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

‘EA Degree at DeWint House!’


Something different is planned for Grand Master’s Day next month at DeWint House: an Entered Apprentice Degree!

I’m guessing this will be outdoors under a tent on the beautiful grounds of the historic site.

Sunday, October 2. Lunch at noon. Degree begins at one o’clock. Bring your regalia. Book your seats with RW Alonza Lloyd (I haven’t sat in lodge with him in ages!) by emailing him here.

If you are unacquainted, DeWint House is a seventeenth century house in Tappan that served as one of Gen. George Washington’s headquarters during the Revolution. It is most famously known for its association with the trial and execution of British Maj. John Andre, conspirator with Gen. Benedict Arnold in the attempted betrayal of West Point. The property was acquired by Grand Lodge about ninety years ago, and it has been preserved as a historic site, with a separate museum, open to the public, for as long as anyone can remember. (I think my lodge played an essential role in inspiring Grand Lodge to buy the land, but I haven’t researched that.) The grounds are populated with numerous exotic trees and other flora, plus monuments, historic graves, and more. Click here for some photos.

It’s well worth visiting any day, but this Grand Master’s Day sounds like an unforgettable occasion.

But wait, there’s more!

At the same time, and about a mile away, the lodges of the Ninth Manhattan District will host their annual Traubenfest, a day of German food, drink, and song. It’s a great, family-friendly time in German Masonic Park that goes until sunset. The two events make for a wonderful day, and in my experience, the weather has been perfect every time somehow.

DeWint House is located at 20 Livingston Street. Traubenfest, in German Masonic Park, is found at 89 Western Highway. Both in Tappan.

See you there.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

‘To the King and the Craft’

That’s a loyal toast that hasn’t been heard in British Freemasonry in seventy years, since the death of Bro. Albert Frederick Arthur George—King George VI—but the time for that has come again this hour upon the official announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Condolences to the brethren wherever dispersed about the face of the earth.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and cousin of Her Majesty, is Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England. Prince Michael of Kent is Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons. 

A period of mourning has begun which surely will postpone the quarterly communication of the UGLE.

“God save the King.”

J.A. Foley photo


‘Help wanted: researching the researchers’


I never ask Magpie readers for anything—except to join the Masonic Society—but today I’m hoping some of you would complete a very brief questionnaire if you are authorized to speak for a research lodge, or some similar group, or a website, podcast, etc. in service to the Craft.

Bro. Ken Stuczynski, the Grand Lodge of New York’s webmaster, an author, and a brother in Western New York Lodge of Research, is undertaking research to write a book on research lodges. From the publicity:

Masonic author Ken JP Stuczynski is putting together a book on research lodges, societies, and other bodies. To include your organization, contact him here. For more information, visit here.

At the website—click here—we may answer his few questions about our avenues of Masonic learning. Takes one minute.

I’m sharing this link with all my friends who are active in lodges of research, chapters of research, research societies, publishers, magazines, and more. Please do the same (although Ken needs only one respondent per organization). Thanks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

'Remembering John Skene from Aberdeen'

Bob Howard photo
The Masonic Kitties of New Jersey were well represented at this memorial. The Kilties is a degree team that confers the Second Section of Master Mason Degree, upon request, and does so in Scottish regalia and with bagpipes. A memorable experience, I can tell you.

I have to catch up on my reporting of a few terrific events here and there recently. The following is a recap of a celebration of Masonic history that took place in New Jersey on August 27.

Brethren from around New Jersey and beyond converged on the Peachfield historic site in Westampton on the afternoon of August 27 to honor the memory of the first Speculative Mason to arrive in North America.

Bro. Robert Howard
The elaborate ceremonies were arranged by RW Bro. Bob Howard, Past Grand Historian and Past Master of the research lodge, acting on behalf of Eclipse Lodge 67 in Rutherford; Beverly-Riverside Lodge 107 in Riverside; and the Masonic Kilties of New Jersey. John Skene was made a Mason in his native Aberdeen, Scotland, a fact recorded in the lodge’s archives one of the very few things known of his life—and he emigrated to West Jersey in 1682. What we know today as New Jersey was at that time two English colonies, West Jersey and East Jersey. Burlington was the capital of West Jersey, and it was there where Skene settled. The reasons for his leaving Scotland are not recorded, although he was a Quaker who left religiously inhospitable Scotland and made a home in an area inhabited by many Quaker families, very near the sect’s stronghold in Pennsylvania.

“Coming of age when religious turmoil was the norm, John Skene’s membership in the Society of Friends provided him anything but the peaceful and pacifist existence that we associate with Quakerism today,” said Bro. Erich Huhn, of New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education 1786 and a candidate for a doctorate in history at Drew University. “The Friends were persecuted throughout his childhood, and, as Skene reached adulthood, he held true to his convictions. As a Quaker, he was persecuted and imprisoned throughout his life in Scotland. In the typical ebbs and flows of seventeenth century religious turmoil, he faced various periods of imprisonment, freedom, house arrest, and discrimination.”

A wreath was sent by Skene’s lodge, still at labor in Aberdeen.

Yet, the seventeenth century also was the age of the Accepted Mason, when lodges of operative builders began welcoming men who had no connection either to the art of architecture or to the trade of stone construction. Robert Moray in 1641 and Elias Ashmole in 1646 probably are the best known, but lodge minutes from 1590s Scotland also record the making of Speculative Masons. Skene was initiated into the lodge at Aberdeen approximately in 1670 possibly on account of his being a merchant and a citizen prominent enough to be made a burgess there. His being a Quaker raises the question of his taking a Masonic oath, but again history is silent on details.

Bro. Bob Cooper
Among the distinguished visitors to New Jersey that day was Bro. Robert L.D. Cooper, recently retired as curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland’s museum and one who has been frequenting New Jersey lodges this year delivering talks on early Scottish Freemasonry. Cooper said he is aware of correspondence being exchanged between West Jerseyan Skene and his family in Aberdeenshire, likely urging emigration to the colony, but availability of any letters cannot be ascertained. Skene’s lodge isn’t as mysterious, however. Cooper described it as a “mixed lodge” consisting of “stone masons and dukes and porridge-makers.” As for life in West Jersey, Cooper said that Skene, as a businessman, partnered with the second Mason to reach North America, Bro. John Coburn, a stonemason, in a construction enterprise that might even be credited with some of the oldest buildings on Staten Island.

Arriving in West Jersey, Skene purchased 500 acres from Governor Edward Byllynge and founded his plantation, which he named Peachfield. Not long thereafter, Byllynge appointed Skene the Deputy Governor. Seventeenth century colonial records being what they are, it is not known how Skene earned the appointment, but the land acquisition preceding it could not have been meaningless. Another quirk of history emerges when Byllynge was succeeded as Governor by Dr. Daniel Coxe, the father of Provincial Grand Master Daniel Coxe, who was appointed by the Grand Lodge of England in 1730 to govern Masonic affairs in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

Dedicated in 1984 by the grand lodge, this stone stands on the land John Skene owned, Peachfield. A different calendar was in use during the seventeenth century, so to commemorate Skene's death, you have to play along.

After Skene’s death circa 1690 (accounts of the year vary), his widow gradually sold off tracts of the Peachfield plantation. All that remains today is a stone house built 1725-32, which was damaged by fire in 1929 and restored in the early 1930s, situated on 120 acres. The property is only three miles from the Masonic Village at Burlington. In 1984, the local grand lodge dedicated a headstone memorializing this historic Brother Mason. The exact location of his burial place is unknown, but August 27, 1690 is the date of death engraved in the stone.

Bro. Mark and Bro. Glenn.
Look for them on YouTube.

The event on August 27 featured many participants. Assisting emcee Bob Howard was W. Bro. Christian Stebbins. Leading prayers were RW Glenn Visscher and RW Eugene Margroff, with RW Mark Megee reading from Scripture. Bro. David Palladino-Sinclair of the Kilties serenaded the group with his bagpipes, performing “Flower of Scotland,” “Scotland the Brave,” and “Amazing Grace.” A wreath was placed at the gravestone by Cooper and the Worshipful Masters of both Eclipse and Beverly-Riverside, Patrick Glover and Frederick T. Ocansey, respectively. In his closing remarks, RW Bro. David Tucker, Deputy Grand Master, told the assemblage that looking to the past for role models helps take our focus off ourselves, and that it is fitting to salute John Skene for being the earliest Freemason who deserves credit for helping establish the fraternity in New Jersey.

Bro. David Palladino-Sinclair

Also traveling some distance was Mark Tabbert of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Virginia, who told us of the Scottish Freemasons in America conference there in November.

The celebration of Skene was not over yet. The group caravanned to Mt. Holly Lodge 14 for a catered dinner replete with Masonic toasts following a tour of the historic building.

Peachfield is owned and operated by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Jersey, which makes the site its headquarters. Tours, including for groups, can be arranged by phoning 609.267.6996.

Monday, September 5, 2022

‘Traubenfest 2022’


The Ninth Manhattan District’s annual Traubenfest is such a local success in Tappan, and has been a tradition there since 1890, that the brethren don’t advertise the event, so I try to help by informing those from outside the area who happen to like beer and bratwurst.

The details are in the graphic above, and I promise you it’s a great time. Family-friendly and all that.

Also not being promoted for whatever reason is Grand Master’s Day at DeWint House the same day, where an Entered Apprentice Degree is planned. The two locations are maybe a mile apart, so that’ll be a very satisfying full day for those of us attending both happenings.

Saturday, September 3, 2022


BROTHERS IN ARMS—Italian pipemaking houses Luigi Viprati and Ser Jacopo are united in a new venture: Fraternitas. Okay, and handcuffs too. Fraternitas pairs one pipe from each maker in limited edition sets. So far, they seem to be available from Al Pascia only.

Just announced several hours ago by Al Pascia in Milan, and already selling fast, are the wares crafted jointly by both Ser Jacopo and Viprati, two of Italy’s best skilled makers of briar pipes. Their limited edition Fraternitas sets are comprised of one pipe from each.

Al Pascia

I can’t find any background information yet, except that smooth and sandblasted finishes are available. Each set sells for about $625 without the VAT. (I’m assuming the sandblasted costs a little less.) Al Pascia even giftwraps. That’s a great price for two pipes from those outfits.


Thursday, September 1, 2022

‘What to do when your bylaws are historic’

St. John’s Lodge No. 1 Foundation

September? Really? Well, time flies, but preserving history is a perennial task that requires a lot of our present time, and congratulations to St. John’s Lodge 1 of New York City for ensuring an irreplaceable historic book will survive another couple of centuries.

Acting through its educational foundation, which aims to preserve the lodge’s 1767 King James Bible on which the first American president familiarly placed his hands while taking his Constitutional oath of office, St. John’s has preserved its 1784 book of bylaws also.

The leather-bound volume’s impressive history involves the Revolutionary War, a second lodge named St. John’s, and the signatures of many notable people. Read all about it here.