New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism

National Heritage Museum Symposium

The National Heritage Museum has been working diligently at putting together their upcoming symposium in April.

Over the holiday they published an update to their site announcing the list of speakers, and I have to admit, what an interesting list it is.

The symposium is aptly titled New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism and is going to be held in Lexington, Massachusetts.

What the symposium is looking to present is the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day.

Interestingly, the museum previews the topic to us saying:

By 1900, over 250 fraternal groups existed in America, numbering six million participants.  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.

I couldn’t agree more, so much of our past is overlooked or presumed to be solved, until we can look at it with a new eye or a fresh perspective.

In their offering, Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida, and author of Builders of Empire: Freemasons and British Imperialism, 1717-1927, will keynote in a work titled “Worlds of Brothers,” in which she will survey and asses the scholarship on American fraternalism and Freemasonry. Citing examples from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, Harland-Jacobs will demonstrate that applying world history methodologies pays great dividends for our understanding of fraternalism as a historical phenomenon.

For those who may not remember, Professor Harland-Jacob was a guest on Masonic Central in 2008.  For a preview of her work, I highly recommend you listen the pod cast on her book Builders of Empire.

Rounding out the programs schedule are six scholars from the United States, Canada, and Britain.

  • Damien Amblard, doctoral student, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, “French Counter-Enlightenment Intellectuals and American Antimasonry: A Transatlantic Approach, 1789-1800”
  • Hannah M. Lane, Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University, “Freemasonry and Identity/ies in 19th-Century New Brunswick and Eastern Maine”
  • Nicholas Bell, Curator, Renwick Gallery of the Simthsonian American Art Museum, “An Ark of the New Republic”
  • David Bjelajac, Professor of Art History, George Washington University, “Freemasonry, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and the Fraternal Ethos of American Art”
  • Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan – Flint, “Brothers of a Vow: Secret Fraternal Orders in Antebellum Virginia”
  • Kristofer Allerfeldt, Exeter University, “Nationalism, Masons, Klansmen and Kansas in the 1920s”

Sponsored in part by the Supreme Council, 33°, N. M. J., U.S.A., registration is open NOW and is a very reasonable $50 for the day long event ($45 for museum members), and includes morning refreshments, a mid day lunch, and end of day reception where you can meet and mingle with the speakers.  To register, visit the symposium website and download and complete the reception form, then fax to 781-861-9846 or mail to Claudia Roche, National Heritage Museum, 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421. 

Registration deadline is March 24th, 2010.

For more information, you can contact  Claudia Roche at or by phone at 781-861-6559, x 4142.

If you go, you have to send us photos or let us know what you thought about it.

Posted in Masonic Traveler and tagged .

A devoted student of the Western Mystery Traditions, Greg is a firm believer in the Masonic connections to the Hermetic traditions of antiquity, its evolution through the ages and into its present configuration as the antecedent to all contemporary esoteric and occult traditions. He is a self-called searcher for that which was lost, a Hermetic Hermit and a believer in “that which is above is so too below.” Read more about Greg Stewart.

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