Artifacts From the Second Floor: Diplomas!

The Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library on the second floor of Grand Lodge is home to an incredible collection of historical items. The collection, which is curated by Bro. Walter Hunt, is home to many Masonic artifacts, including an impressive collection of antique Masonic Diplomas that range from the middle of the 1800’s and from as far away as Shanghai, China! 
Masonic diplomas are an incredibly interesting piece of history because regardless of when and where you join the Craft they are something that every brother receives. Diplomas can often act as a window into the history of Freemasonry based on where they are from and the signatures on them. The second floor library is currently the home to a diploma from Sinim Lodge in Shanghai, China (pictured above) the diploma original belonged to a Brother by the name of Fred King Watson. Sinim Lodge was one of seven lodges in China that fell under the governance of Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The library is also home to diplomas from Revere Lodge and Mount Carmel Lodge, each of which has a unique signature. The Revere Lodge diploma bears the signature of Most Worshipful Grand Master William Coolidge from 1862. Most Worshipful Coolidge is the only Grand Master to have been voted out of office and the Revere Lodge diploma that bears his name was signed by him the day he was voted out. Most Worshipful Coolidge was voted out because he lost favor with the members of Massachusetts, due his habit of making men "Masons on Sight." The Mount Carmel diploma was signed in 1893, by Most Worshipful Richard Briggs. This is one of the few diplomas Briggs signed, as he passed away only 7 months into his term.
These are just a few examples of the fantastic treasures in the second floor library, do you want to see these astounding pieces of history in person? Swing by the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library on the second floor Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to take a look! Additionally, you can read about one of the artifacts we've highlighted before by clicking here!

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