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Masonic Apron
USA: Rhode Island (probably)
Ink, leather, paint
overall: 16"h x 21"w (including ties)
Special Acquisitions Fund

Masonic Apron; animal-shaped white kidskin body with rounded bottom corners and rounded flap; all-seeing eye is painted on the flap; central design on apron of twin pillars with Masonic level and square and compasses on the base pedestals, and chapiters surmounted by urns; pillars stand on a mosaic pavement; various Masonic symbols including a three-step dias on which rests a coffin; above, a shield bearing the Freemasons Arms and a scroll with motto "Honi Soit qui Mal y Pense" and crossed small sword, Acacia branch, 24-inch rule (marking gauge) and plumb rule; other symbols include a single key, trowel, rough ashlar, gavel, small sword, and level; on reverse list of owners and inscribed "1 The Apron of William Burr of Mount [illeg.] AF and AM #4 Providence Rhode Island" "2 marked by his great-grandson Frederic Waterman Cady/ of What Cheer #21 Prov RI AD 1894" "Worn by Frederic C. Cady. Great-Great grandson (St. Andrews #39 WM 1906)" "4 Worn by Howard C. Smith WM Great Great Grandson July 3, 1931, Nath Greene L. #45" "5 Carried by Doris Cady Worthy Matron, Signet Chapter #21 OES Nov. 21, 1931 Great-Great Granddaughter" "6 Carried by Alice Sawden Worthy Advisor Cranston Assembly Rainbow Girls Sept. 30, 1939, Great-Great-Great Granddaughter." Twill tape ties.

The form of Masonic aprons derives from the protective aprons, often leather, worn by stonemasons and other craftsmen. This apron is an unusual survival from the late 1700s. Although its form echoes the shape of the animal that provided the leather it is made from, the apron is small—a departure from the long, clothes-covering shape of craftsmen’s protective aprons. This apron was owned by William Burr who became a member of Mount Vernon Lodge No. 4, Providence, Rhode Island, in 1800.

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