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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Title:masonic apron
Date Made:ca. 1820
Materials:leather (probably sheepskin), paint, textile: silk
Place Made:United States; New Hampshire; Peterborough
Accession Number:  HD 2002.78
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund

Masonic painted, leather apron with pleated silk ribbon around the shaped edges, which was owned by the Morrison Family of Peterborough, NH in the 1820s according to the auction house. The front surface is painted with a variety of symbols - a sunburst, a moon, a long entwined tassel or cord, the pillars of Solomon's Temple, two trophies of tools associated with the mason's trade, a chisel and adze with two stone blocks, stairs leading to a wooden board with a skull, and the compass and ruler with G in the center. The symbols, mottoes, and poem refer to the teachings and practices of the secret fraternal organization of the Free and Accepted Masons. Upholding the principles of morality, charity, and obedience to the law, Masons became a very popular and powerful civic organization in colonial and early America. Their members included many of the most famous Americans such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere. Traditionally, masons were buried with an apron of this sort. This apron was probably made for that purpose, but never used.

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