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Masonic Mark Medal for Ezekiel L. Bascom
ca. 1816
USA: Massachusetts, Boston (probably)
overall: 3"h x 1-15/16"w x .013"d; overall: 7.6 x 4.9 cm; weight: 15.9 g
Acquired through the generosity of the Kane Lodge Foundation, Cogswell Beneficial Trust and William W. Lewis

Silver Masonic mark medal with ring at top center. Shield shaped body with square and compasses symbol at top. An open book lies under the square and compasses. One side of the medal is engraved with concentric circles. Between the circles are letters, "HTWSSTKS." In the center is a globe with a bird standing on top. Inside the globe are three bear heads and a square. The other side shows a leafy garland along the bottom with a flower at the center. At top center is an all-seeing eye. In the middle is an engraved inscription, "Ezl. L. Bascom / King Hiram's / Chapter."

Part of the York Rite, a Masonic organization through which a Freemason may pursue additional degrees, mark medals were often made to order for men who received the Mark Master degree. The degree is named after the marks that stonemasons chiseled into the stones of buildings to identify their work. Like medieval stonemasons, Masonic Mark Masters create their own symbol, which they register in their chapter’s Mark Book. Originally owned by Ezekiel Bascom (1777-1841), this medal was made in Massachusetts around 1816. Ezekiel Lysander Bascom was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts in 1777 and pursued a vocation as a Congregationalist minister. In 1806, he married Ruth Henshaw (1772-1848), who is known today for her prolific work as a rural artist. Ruth Henshaw Bascom drew profile portraits in pencil, pastel and watercolor. Ezekiel joined Boston’s St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter in 1806. Ten years later, in 1816, when King Hiram Chapter was formed in Greenwich, Massachusetts (much closer to his home than Boston), Bascom was its initial High Priest, or leader. The design on the mark medal closely resembles the depiction of Bascom’s mark in the Chapter’s mark book, which is part of the National Heritage Museum's Archives collection.

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