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Gavel and Tray
ca. 1921
Maker not marked
a: wood, metal; b: wood
a: 1-7/8"h x 12"w x 3-1/2"d; b: 3/4"h x 14-1/2"w x 4-5/8"d
Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts

a: Brown wooden gavel. Applied to the head is a gold-tone plaque engraved "Presented to / Arthur D. Prince / Most Worshipful Grand Master / of the / Grand Lodge of Massachusetts / A.F. & A.M. / By Canal Zone Lodge A.F. & A.M. / Ancon, Canal Zone, March 9th 1921." b: Oblong brown wooden tray with rounded ends. Inlaid at the center is a square and compasses symbol.

In 1898, the Grand Lodge of Scotland chartered a lodge in Panama, but by 1911, almost all of its members were Americans working to build the Panama Canal. The distance from Scotland slowed communication about lodge business. As well, members experienced difficulty transferring their membership to mainland American lodges when they returned home. In 1912, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted a dispensation for Canal Zone Masons to establish Sojourners Lodge. Today, there are four lodges in Panama. The Grand Master first visited the Panamanian lodges under his jurisdiction in 1914. Subsequent Grand Masters have usually visited once during their term of office (three years). Canal Zone Lodge presented this gavel and tray to Grand Master Arthur D. Prince (1867-1950) during his 1921 tour. The Lodge, with almost 350 members, was the second largest in the Canal Zone at the time. For further information, see Newell, Aimee, et.al., "Curiosities of the Craft: Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection", 2013, p. 142-143; and blog post, September 30, 2010 http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/2010/09/have-you-explored-our-online-collection.html