The Grand Lodge of New York Correspondence Collection Exhibit

By Alexander Vastola, Director

At the end of April 2022, the rehousing project of the Grand Lodge Collection was complete.  In the process of completing the Collection, I drafted a basic finding aid of the Collection.  This finding aid will be used for staff reference, but when it is revised, it will be uploaded to the Library’s website for patrons’ reference.

Upon completion of the Grand Lodge Correspondence Collection, many new and interesting letters were discovered.  For example, discovered were correspondences relating to the schismatic New York Grand Lodges of the 1840s and 1850s, including rare letters from the St. John’s Grand Lodge and many letters relating to the Phillips Grand Lodge.  Furthermore, there were letters in the Collection that documented the Grand Lodge of New York’s establishment of lodges in Columbia, Cuba, Haiti, and Panama.  These letters were not in the exhibit for Grand Lodge Week but are filed in the Grand Lodge Correspondence Collection.


Correspondences exhibit


For Grand Lodge Week, an exhibit was created of some of the letters from this Collection that were signed by noteworthy New York Masons who all served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New York.  The first three letters in the exhibit were signed by Chancellor Robert R Livingston and document his acceptance of his election as Grand Master in 1784, his appointment of his new Grand Secretary in 1799, and the letter of appreciation to the New York Freemasons for the gift of a Masonic jewel.  There were four letters on display signed by New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, documenting his decision to be re-elected as Grand Master and his reception of petitions to form lodges in various parts of New York State.  Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins also had a signed letter in this exhibit, which revealed his list of Freemasons who he selected to be his Grand Lodge Officers.


These letters were on display at the Library, throughout the month of May.