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Masonic Lodge Master
William Edgar Prall (1838-1906)
USA: Tennessee, Knoxville
Photograph on paper mounted on board
Overall: 4"h x 2-3/8" w
Gift of Jacques Noel Jacobsen, Jr.

Carte-de-visite sepia-tone photograph showing full-length portrait of unidentified man in his Masonic regalia. At one side is a patterned floor-length curtain. At the other side is a chair and a table; the subject stands with one foot crossed in front of the other and rests on hand on the table. He has dark hair and a beard and mustache. He wears a dark coat and light pants. Over his clothes he wears a Masonic apron and a sash. Around his neck he wears a Masonic master's jewel (in the shape of a square). He holds a gavel in his right hand. Printed on the back is the maker's name, "W.E. Prall / Photographer / Gay Street, Knoxville, Tennessee / Also, / Army of the Ohio, in the field." Handwritten in pencil on the back, "Civil War / soldier (officer?) / in 4 button blouse / Master of / Military Lodge."

Between 1864 and 1866, Knoxville photographer William Edgar Prall (1838-1906) captured this studio image of an unidentified lodge Master and Civil War era soldier. The subject’s elaborate velvet sash and apron show he is a Mason, and his jewel and the gavel on the table next to him speak to his role at his lodge. Around the time he took this picture, Prall advertised to “Soldiers and Citizens” that he was “prepared to accommodate them with Cartes De Visite…warranted to please all.” Cartes de visites were photographs mounted on cards about 4 inches high by 2 ½ inches wide and were a popular portrait format during the 1860s.

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