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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes January 2010

National Heritage Museum Symposium – Friday, April 9, 2010

New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism
Lexington, Massachusetts

The Symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day. By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members. The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture.

A keynote paper by Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida, and author of Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927, will open the day. Titled “Worlds of Brothers,” Harland-Jacobs’ paper will survey and assess the scholarship on American fraternalism and Freemasonry. Drawing on examples from the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, she will demonstrate that applying world history methodologies pays great dividends for our understanding of fraternalism as a historical phenomenon. Harland-Jacobs will conclude with some thoughts on how global perspectives can benefit contemporary American brotherhoods.

Registration deadline is March 24, 2010. For further information contact CLAUDIA ROCHE at [email protected] Phone 781-861-6559 Ext. 4142

Sojourner Tales

         John Cole became a Freemason in Capital View Lodge #640, Atlanta, GA. He has also been extremely active in National Sojourners and still continues to serve the Masonic Service Association as our MSA Rep at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

         John wrote the Walter Reed Chapter #303 newsletter for many years. He often included articles known as the “Back Page” on Masonic, military, or related subjects. These articles have led to a number of National Sojourner awards.

         A collection of these articles has been compiled and turned into a book titled Sojourner Tales.

         The book is being sold privately and for more information contact:

Louis M. Numkin
2712 Finch Street
Silver Spring, MD 20902
Phone: 301-933-0537 – Email [email protected]

Michigan Masons – Putting Michigan On The Map

            Despite being home to many of America’s intellectual and industrial greats, many of them Masons, the “mitten” state has had its share of economic ups and downs. But as copper mines and lumber mills have closed and mineral ores have dried up, other industries have always risen to revive and restore Michigan’s economy. One industry in particular stands out among the others as one that reflects the ingenuity and perseverance that keeps our great state going. Not only has the automotive business been integral to the commercial well-being of Michigan, it’s also one most closely linked to Michigan Masons.

Ransom E. Olds

           Michigan’s auto industry can be traced to 1887, when one of Lansing’s most famous residents, Ransom Eli Olds, built a three-wheeled vehicle with a one-horsepower steam engine. Rumor has it that Olds tested his invention under cover, in predawn darkness, to “avoid the embarrassment of being laughed at.”

            Though Olds was only active during the automobile industry’s formative years, his influence, through the numerous patents granted to him, marked him as one of the field’s most important founders.

            In addition to his industrial career, Ransom Olds had an active Masonic career as well. Olds became a Mason in Capital S.O. Lodge #66 in May of 1908 and was exalted in Capital Chapter #9, R.A.M. in April of 1909. Olds was Knighted in Commandery #25, K.T. in May of 1909, raised to 32ºAASR (NJ) in DeWitt Consistory in Grand Rapids in May of 1913 and was crowned 33º on September 5, 1925. Olds was also an active Shriner.

Henry Ford

            Another “father of the automobile” and Master Mason, Henry Ford, was born in what is now known as Dearborn, MI in 1863. In later life, Ford with his partners, created the Ford Motor Company where Ford would go on to revolutionize American industry through the conceptualization and introduction of the moving assembly line.

            Ford became a Mason in Detroit’s Palestine Lodge # 357 on November 28, 1895, was made a Life Member in 1935, and remained a member for nearly 53 years, until his death. In 1928 he was made an honorary member of Zion Lodge # 1. Ford received his 33º AASR (NJ) in September of 1940.

Walter P. Chrysler

            Hard work paid off for Walter P. Chrysler, the son of a Kansas railroad engineer. Chrysler accepted a challenge put forth by vested bankers and worked to salvage the Willys-Overland Motor Company from bankruptcy before moving on to do the same as chairman of the Reorganizing Committee at the Maxwell Motor Company. After negotiating a significant interest in Maxwell, Chrysler soon retired the Maxwell brand which would become part of the Chrysler Corporation in 1925.

            Chrysler was made a Master Mason in Apollo Lodge # 297 in Ellis, Kansas, in September of 1900, and later became a member of Fellowship Lodge # 490 in Flint, Michigan. Chrysler was also a 33º Scottish Rite member in Salina, Kansas (SJ).

(Source: Rikka Bos Article – Living Better – Winter 2009)


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