ISSUE 17, April 2006
Editorial
Historic: The Brother who designed the Spitfire
Travel: The charm of Kerala
Grand Lodge: Pro Grand Master's speech and Quarterly Communication
Public Relations: Hottest spot in town
International: Emulation in Bulgaria and Mauritius takes a leap forward and Hungary's Royal Arch library
Library & Museum: Recent acquisitions
Masonic Bibles: Lodges and their Bibles
    Royal Masonic Girls' School: My thanks to the Freemasons
Holocaust: The Count of Auschwitz
Education: International conference on the history of Freemasonry and Events
Specialist Lodges: Masonry universal - via radio
Masonic Charities: Grand Charity continues to help those in need and New Masonic Samaritan Fund and Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys
Grand Charity: The Tsunami - one year on and Important Gift Aid information
Letters, Book Reviews, and Gardening

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It was not appreciated at the time, as it was expensive to produce and did not sell well, but has since become one of the classics of type design. Baskerville died in 1775, and any Lodge possessing a copy of his edition of 1763 may treasure it as a highly valuable item.
    Masonic Lodges around the world have become custodians of not only rare and valuable Bibles, but Bibles with important historical significance.
    The George Washington Inaugural Bible is considered an important historical relic for being the historical text sworn upon for the very first Presidency of the United States. The bible itself has subsequently been used in the inauguration ceremonies of several other presidents.
    Bound in London in 1767, this Bible was brought to the colonies and given by Jonathan Hampton to the St. Johnís Lodge in lower Manhattan three years later when he became its Grand Master.
    Just before Washington was to take his oath of office on the steps of Federal Hall in New York City on 30 April 1789, it was discovered that there was no Bible on hand. The then New York Governor, Robert Livingston, a Masonic Grand Master, borrowed the Bible from St. Johnís Lodge, which had meeting rooms just a short distance away. A statue of Washington marks the site in front of the present-day Federal Hall on Wall Street.
    No printer in the colonies produced Bibles at the time, and the price of the London import, bound in maroon Moroccan leather with silver clasps, was probably close to a yearís wages for the average man.
    Many Lodges may not have realised that they may be custodians of hidden treasures. Many innocent-looking VSLs could turn out to have very interesting histories.
    Although these volumes are much loved, they may be badly thumbed and close to disintegrating and in need of rescuing now, before it becomes too late.
    On a visit to Mother Kilwinning Lodge No. 0, I was shown two 16th century Geneva Bibles that had been stuck together with duct tape. These and other Masonic artefacts need to be sensitively restored to retain their value and preserved for future generations.


Paul Tronson is a Master Bookbinder who restores antiquarian books to period using traditional materials Ė hand-made to exacting formulae as his work here shows. Paul has also restored many rare and valuable Lodge Bibles and demonstrates in his work not only an in-depth knowledge of Masonic history, but also a rare grasp of traditional bookbinding techniques. You can learn more about his techniques at Period Fine Bindings periodfinebindings.typepad.com or T. 01564 793800.

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