Board of Directors:
Barbara pintauro~Lobosco - President
Linley Pennebaker Whelan - Vice President
Zachary Studenroth- Treasurer
Robert Espach - Secretary
Peter J. Marcelle
To the Eastward: 200 Years of Freemasonry
in Sag Harbor, New York
Summer Exhibit - May 15
Hand-Painted silk apron worn by Hampton
Lodge, No. 111 member Aaron Clark, c. 1810. Collection, Wamponamon
Lodge No. 437, Sag Harbor
The museum is pleased to host To
the Eastward: 200 Years of Freemasonry in Sag Harbor, New York,
a special exhibition that interprets the impact of Freemasonry on early
Sag Harbor, New York and, by extension, the new Republic. The exhibit
celebrates the 200th anniversary of Sag Harbor’s
Hampton Lodge #111, founded in 1804. The economic, social and cultural
development of this seafaring and whaling community [the country’s
first Port of Entry, 1789] will be explored through the lens of the Masonic
movement and its contribution to our nation’s humanistic ideals.
The project will culminate in a symposium on October 16, 2004, to be
held at museum headquarters in cooperation with the Grand Lodge of New
York State, Suffolk Masonic District, and Wamponamon Lodge #437, Star
of the East Lodge #843 and Old Town Lodge #908. The symposium is planned
in conjunction with New York State Humanities Month.
While the significance of Masonic ideals in the lives of notable Americans
is well documented, their influence on transforming the social order of the
new Republic is less understood. Originating in Scotland in the 1600s, Freemasonry
was dedicated to the tenets of brotherly love, relief and truth, seeking to
unite all men regardless of religion, race or political conviction. Prominent
early American Masons like President George Washington and the “leading” citizens
of Sag Harbor, like gravestone carver Ithuel Hill and ship’s captain
Nathan Y. Fordham, initiated Masonic lodges to elevate the moral character
of their communities, while advancing their own business or social interests.
The exhibition looks at how Freemasonry influenced Sag Harbor’s whaling
industry and other aspects of village life. How were its virtues of equality
and liberty practiced, and did they reflect American aspirations for the new
Republic? Was the tenet of relief practiced to help widows of sailors in Sag
Harbor, and did it help unify the community? Did local Masons use the fraternity
for self-improvement or to increase their knowledge and circle of business
Highlights of the exhibit include rare Masonic objects and artifacts
of historical significance borrowed from Wamponamon Lodge #437, the
Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Library and Museum, and other collections.
A hand-painted ceremonial apron c. 1820, handwritten record books and
memorabilia, masonic scrimshaw and oil paintings portraying prominent
Masons and other Sag Harbor citizens are among the many interesting
objects selected to tell the story of Freemasonry’s
impact on early Sag Harbor village. Many of these objects have never been displayed
to the general public before.
Support for the exhibition has been received from North Fork Bank,
the New York Humanities Council, Suffolk County and the Town of Southampton.
The exhibition runs through October 17, 2004.
Masonic gifts, including money clips, belt buckles
and pocket knives inspired by 19th century scrimshaw, are available in
the museum gift shop.