Preserving and sharing our Masonic heritage
Master Masonís apron (c. early 20th century)

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Emblems of Innocence and Honor: The Masonic Apron

The Masonic apron is arguably one of the most recognizable of Masonic symbols. Revered as an emblem of innocence and honor, its evolution has been long and varied: from rough swaths of leathered hides to protect the clothing to richly decorated works of ceremonial folk art. The tradition of decorated aprons began around the 1730s - adorned both by professional engravers and embroiders, and by family members such as daughters and wives. After 1760, printed and engraved aprons became vogue and displayed popular Speculative symbols such as the all-seeing eye, the square and compasses, and columns. In the United States, lecturers of Masonic ritual such as Jeremy Ladd Cross, or scholar/artists like Giles Fonda Yates, were to have a lasting and profound impact upon future generations with their visual codification and depiction of Masonic symbols as represented by the Preston-Webb work, or, American (York) Rite. Following the American Civil War, a massive popularity with fraternal organizations gave rise to a very lucrative industry in the manufacture and sale of Masonic and fraternal regalia.

Click here to view "The Masonic Apron" online exhibit. Watch a short documentary, produced by the Masonic Grand Lodge of California and the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry, that offers new insight into one of Masonry's most treasured ritual garments.

By Our Sides: Brotherly Love as Action and Inspiration

This exhibit displays, through long-lost memoris and their physical articfacts, loving portraylas of Masonic love by individuals who were directly affected by the principlas of charity and philanthropy. It displays the touching story of Walter Wilcox, "The Mason's Boy." Futher, we remember the kindess of Roy Rogers, "The King of the Cowboys," and only one person in this exhibit was not a Mason - Abraham Lincoln. However, his example, though small, forever changed the life of a young Union Soldier, Charles Marshall Austin, whoc was later became a Mason and served his New York lodge with distinction. Click on the links below to see their specific sections of the exhibit.

Continue to Walter Wilcox, “The Mason's Boy”
Continue to Charles Marshall Austin and Abraham Lincoln
Continue to Roy Rogers, “The King of the Cowboys”

Builders of Dreams: The California Masonic Experience 1850-Present

This exhibit debuted in February 2009 at the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America to high acclaim. It was on display at the Henry W. Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry in San Francisco through Nov. 10, 2009. In addition to the artifacts a movie was produced. Watch the movie here.