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Franklin Opening the Lodge
1896
Kurz & Allison
USA: Illinois, Chicago
Lithograph on paper
overall: 28-1/4"h x 22"w
Special Acquisitions Fund
81.56

Lithograph titled "Franklin Opening the Lodge." Scene shows full-length portrait of Benjamin Franklin wearing a Masonic apron and collar. He holds a gavel in right hand. Background shows a variety of lodge furnishings (columns, table with globe, chair with sqaure and compasses at top) and a "G" on the back wall. The collar has a Master's jewel (square) hanging from the point. Franklin's apron shows a square and compass with G and leafy sprigs. An all-seeing eye inside a delta with glory rays surrounding is on the apron flap. Franklin wears a white shirt with ruffled collar and cuffs, a black coat, breeches, vest and stockings. He wears a black tricorn hat and shoes with buckles. His left hand rests on an open book. There are three columns at left and a globe on a table at right. Beneath image is printed text reading, "Copyrighted 1896 by Kurz & Allison, 76-78 Wabash Avenue, Chicago."


Benjamin Franklin's (1706-1790) lifelong commitment to Freemasonry is celebrated in this print. After becoming a Freemason in Philadelphia in 1731, he was active in the fraternity for over fifty years. He served as Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1734 and Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania in 1749. In this print, he wears a Masonic apron and a Master's jewel around his neck. Franklin's status as a cherished hero of the American Revolution made publishers realize that this print would appeal to lodges across the nation.