The Papers of Edward R. Cusick (AR 1999.27)

Papers of Edward R. Cusick

( c.1920-1970)
(1 00 Folders)

IntroductionScope and Content NoteDescription of SeriesMuseum Collection
A significant collection of documents and published materials related to Freemasonry in African-American communities has recently been catalogued and made available to researchers by the Livingston Masonic Library. These materials were collected, primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, by Edward R. Cusick (ca. 1900 -1971). Cusick was the author of numerous articles published in Masonic periodicals and served as Master of New York City’s prominent Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2 in 1945.

The Cusick collection includes many printed items created by and for Masonic organizations established in New York State by Americans of African descent. Groups represented include the Alpha Grand Lodge, the Enoch Grand Lodge, the Hiram Grand Lodge, the King Solomon Grand Lodge, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the St. John’s Grand Lodge, and the Universal Grand Lodge, among others. Souvenir journals and other ephemera published by African-American Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Shrine organizations are in the collection as are newspaper clippings and articles from popular periodicals. Although materials from New York State comprise the bulk of the holdings, Masonic bodies from other localities, including California, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Ohio, are also present. The vast majority of the organizations represented in the Cusick collection traditionally had been characterized as clandestine or spurious by the Anglo-American Masonic establishment. Most bodies now enjoy fraternal relations and are recognized by their respective Grand bodies.

Archival material related to Cusick’s research into the history of African-American Freemasonry forms a significant facet of the collection. Noteworthy within this material is his correspondence with writers such as Harry A. Williamson and Harold Van Buren Voorhis.

The Cusick collection, when added to the Livingston Masonic Library’s already strong holdings of African-American Masonic materials, solidifies the institution’s position as a leading center for the study of all aspects of American Masonic history. For more information concerning the Cusick collection, or to make a donation to support the Library’s mission, please contact us. Donations of historic publications related to African-American Freemasonry are particularly welcome.

The papers of Edward R. Cusick, along with a separate collection of books and other printed materials were found in the collection of the Livingston Masonic Library in 1999. They had originally been stored in a warehouse for a number of years. The books and some souvenir journals were catalogued according to the Boyden system and accessioned into the main part of the collection. Edward R. Cusick ( ca.1900-1971) was the author of many articles about African-American Freemasonry, and compiled a vast amount of research on this subject. The archival materials described here reflect this research and the contacts he made throughout the African-American Masonic community.
The collection was separated into 7 series. Where applicable, 3 copies of each document were saved.

This collection comprises 1. 7 linear feet of the papers of Edward R. Cusick. The collection contains materials from the 1920’s through the 1970’s. The records are in good to poor condition. Some of the correspondence, printed materials and photographs are in good condition, but the large amount of newspaper clippings and the carbon copies of correspondence are highly acidic and brittle. When time and finances permit, acid-free photocopies should be made and used for research purposes instead of the original documents.

The collection has been divided into 7 series. They are housed in 4 records cartons, in the stacks with the archives (last row on the right). The documents were originally housed in acidic folders, envelopes and boxes. Where possible, these items have been discarded. Some of the envelopes and folders contained handwritten notes from Cusick on them which provided important descriptions of the materials contained within. These materials have been saved, but placed within acid-free folders. All paperclips and staples have been removed. All of the documents have been arranged chronologically within folders.

Series I–Materials Related to Individual Grand Lodges and Other African-American Masonic Organizations:
This series is comprised of correspondence, souvenir journals, programs, letterheads and notes about various African-American Masonic Grand Lodges, such as the Most Worshipful Enoch
Grand Lodge, and the United Supreme Council, as well as other Afro-American Masonic organizations, such as the General Grand Masonic Congress and International Masons, Inc. The
folders have been organized alphabetically by name of the organization.

Series II–Correspondence:
This series is comprised of Cusick’s correspondence regarding his research into the history of African-American Freemasomy. The folders have been arranged alphabetically by name of the

Series III–Dr. Peter W. Ray/Baron A. Hugo DeBulow Papers:
This series is comprised of materials related to a trip Cusick took to Philadelphia to look at the papers of the abovementioned individuals.

Series IV–Legal Suits:
This series is comprised of materials on the various legal battles that many of the “bogus” Masonic African-American organizations were involved in.

Series V–Other Correspondence, Notes and Printed Material:
This series is comprised of short correspondence, research about individuals, and handwritten notes from Cusick.

Series VI–Newspaper and Magazine Clippings:
This series is comprised of newspaper and magazine clippings which usually relate to African-American Freemasomy, or African-American news items. The materials have been arranged chronologically by year.

Series VII–Photographs:
This series is comprised of photographs of African-American Freemasons. It has been separated from the rest of the collection because of its physical format.

Cusick Collection Box 1 Museum Collection

Label               -Mailing label for collection, from Utica

Bill                   – 1787  Photostat, front and back, Prince Hall, John Hancock, Esq.

Certificate       – 1949  Photostat, SR, Honorary Sov. Gr. Commander Italy, MH Johnson

Certificate       – 1950  Photostat, miniature, SR, 33 degree, Italy @ DC, MH Johnson

Photograph      – 1953  Panoramic, Hiram GLNY Inc., Grand Line – STORED W/PHOTOS, MD5

Warrant           – 1933  Photostat, Serenisima Gran Logia de Lengua Espanola Para Estades Unidos de America

Table               – 1944  Photostat, Survey, Adelphi Lodge No. 23, members ideas for higher attendance etc.

Form                – 194-   Used for above table

Warrant           – 19–   Form, Alpha GL of AF+AM NY

Muster             – 177-   Photostat, 38th regiment of foot, John Batt 1775-1777

Muster             – 177-   Photostat, 38th regiment of foot, John Batt 1775-1777

Muster             – 177-   Photostat, 38th regiment of foot, John Batt 1775-1777

Charter            – 1784  Photostat, African Lodge No. 459 MA, (1784 England, 1907 Mass)

Photograph      – 1948  Cuba Lodge No. 742 75th Anniversary – STORED WITH PHOTOGRAPHS – D2

Warrant           – 1947  Photocopy, Centennial Addition of 1947, National Grand Lodge of Color of US

Newspaper      – 1849  Photostat, Public Ledger, PA, National GL, expulsion, clandestine assumption of offices

Newspaper      – 1849  Photostat, Public Ledger, PA, Union of National GL + Hiram GL; 12/3/1849

Newspaper      – 1845  Photostat, Public Ledger, PA, Harmony #5 vs. African GL

Newspaper      – 1845  Photostat, Public Ledger, PA, 1st Ind’t African GL of NA vs. Hiram GL + Harmony #5

Newspaper      – 1818  Photostat, NY Daily Advertiser, African Lodge F+ AMs

Newspaper      – 1848  Photostat, NY Daily Tribune, National GL of FM celebration announcement

Newspaper      – 1843  Photostat, NY Herald, Celebration National GL

Newspaper      – 1848  Photostat, NY Daily Tribune, Celebration of National GL of FM coverage

Newspaper      – 1906  Photostat, Leavenworth Times, Death of Capt. W. D. Matthews, Kansas abolitionist

Print                – 1947  Print of photo, © A. Whyte, non-Masonic skier/ breast, STORED W/POSTERS – D12

Newspaper      – 1956  NY Times, 6/19/1956, Lafayette papers found, STORED W/NEWSPAPERS – MD6

(Rolled in black-wrapped mailing tube w/1877 photostat of Pittsburg C’l Gazette below)

Newspaper      – 1877  Photostat, Pittsburgh Commercial Gaz., Nat’l GL, 7th triennial, officers elected

(Rolled in black-wrapped mailing tube w/1956 NY Times paper, Lafayette article above)

Warrant           – 1898  Photostat, National supreme Council, SR in DC

Certificate       – 1920  Photostat, Grand Orient Haiti, Grand Representative

Newspaper      – 1827  Copy, Boston Daily Advertiser, African Lodge #459, Boston declaring itself independent

Charter             – 1784  African Lodge #459, Boston w/Prince Hall Master, signed by GMMA 1955

Newspaper      – 1849  Photostat, Public Ledger, UGL of S of NY vs. National GL PA

Newspaper      – 1849  Photostat, Public Ledger, National GL vs. UGL has violated national compact of 1847

Charter             – 1939  Photostat, SR, Sov. Gr. Council 33, Uruguay to make 33 degree Council in DC

Letter                – 19–   Translation of 1939 Uruguay SR charter above

Address           – 1849  Photostat, Philanthropic Colored GL of S of NY vs United GL S of NY

Address           – 1849  Photostat, negative copy of above address Philanthropic GL vs. United GL

Certificate       – 19–   Form, mostly blank, St. John’s GL AF+AM, signed by Master, broken, taped, caution

Certificate       – 1926  SR, East Gate Lodge No. 1, OH, MH Johnson 33rd degree

Dispensation   – 1941  Prosperity Lodge No. 6, United GL OH, stamped w/ MH Johnson GM stamp

Charter             – 1910  Photostat, GLMA, signed + founded by 10MA, 11MA, 12MA + 28MA

Photograph      – 1814  Photostat print of apron from African Lodge No. 459, PA

Photograph      – 1814  Photostat print of apron from African Lodge No. 459, PA

Envelope         – 1957  Stamped, Allen reproduction Co., Phila (w/2 apron images above)

Item-level inventory available onsite.