This amazing artifact was listed in the 1886 catalog, the first artifact catalog created after the Committee of Antiquities was organized in September of 1886, and so is one of the earliest artifacts donated to the Grand Lodge Library and Museum. The record states that it is a “Shell stone from the top of Pyramid of Gizeh.” It is unknown whether the fossil was found in this cut and polished state, or whether that was done after its discovery. It measures 9.2 cm x 5.3 cm, and is a fossil of some type of sea creature.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, when Freemasons traveled, they would often bring back items to share with their New York Brethren, and so the Museum collection of the Livingston Masonic Library includes mineral samples and archaeological material, as well as numerous other categories of artifacts.
This fossil was donated by RW Charles T. McClenachan, 33rd degree, a member of Munn Lodge No. 190, New York, NY. Born in 1829, RW McClenachan was one of the most important Masonic authors of all time, his work including the following books (call numbers for the Livingston Masonic Library are included):
“The book of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry : containing instructions in all the degrees…” printed in 1868 [M14.6 M13 1868]
“History of the Most Ancient and honorable fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons in New York, from the earliest date…” a four-volume set printed from 1888-1894 [M17 M13];
“Forms and ceremonials as proposed [and accepted] for use of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, NMJ…” printed in 1878 [M20.6 Un3 1878];
An addendum to “Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry and its kindred sciences…by Albert Gallatin Mackey,” printed in 1896 [M00 M19 1896].
RW McClenachan served as Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge from 1887-1896; as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania near the Grand Lodge of New York from 1889-1895; as Grand Master-General of Ceremonies of the Supreme Council, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and was a member of all the York Rite bodies.
Note: Image and research by Catherine M. Walter, Curator