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Symposia & Lectures
25 Apr 2016

Fraternal Art Symposium

Join leading fraternal art scholars for a half-day symposium organized in conjunction with the exhibition Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection. Ticket price includes refreshments.


A Collector’s Perspective
Kendra and Allan Daniel
Kendra and Allan Daniel discuss the origins of their collection and reflect on the guiding motivations for their pursuit.

Signs and Wonders: The Art of Fraternity
Stacy C. Hollander
Exhibition co-curator Stacy C. Hollander provides an overview of the Kendra and Allan Daniel gift of fraternal folk art to the American Folk Art Museum.

Catechism, Spectacle, Burlesque: American Fraternal Ritual Performance, 1733–1933
William D. Moore
Fraternal organizations, which have often been called “secret societies” or “mystic orders” because of their proprietary rituals, have thrived in America since the 1730s. Membership initiations defined these groups throughout their existence, yet ceremonial practices transformed over time in relation to changing social, political, and economic contexts. This illustrated presentation will examine the historic dynamics of American fraternal ritual performance while simultaneously examining the breadth of sacramental objects produced for these groups.

Stitching Together the Mysteries of Masonry and the Symbols of Odd Fellowship
Aimee E. Newell
Known for their symbolic language and secret rituals, fraternal groups like the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Freemasons have remained a mystery to many scholars, collectors, and curators. But, the material culture of these groups—paintings, costumes, props and more—abounds, once you recognize the symbols. Drawing on examples and themes from the exhibition Mystery and Benevolence, this talk will decode the symbols and history of American fraternal groups. Stories about the makers and users of Masonic aprons, Odd Fellows banners and backdrops, and other objects will build the context of the design and materials of these items, unveiling the intertwined history of fraternalism and American society and culture.
Please note that Newell is regretfully unable to join the symposium in person, but her paper will be distributed to all participants.

Synoptic Visions: Similarities of Odd Fellowship and Freemasonry
Bruce Lee Webb
Bruce Lee Webb will discuss the origins of Freemasonry and Odd Fellowship, as well as their shared ideas and symbolic cosmologies. He will touch upon myths and abstractions associated with fraternal degrees and symbolic traditions that continue to influence American society, art, and culture today.

The Stupendous Works of the Great Architect: Fraternalism and Early American Museums
Timothy Winkle
The creation of museum collections, among other such institutions in the Early Republic, was, in part, the application of lofty Enlightenment principles towards the practical and public goals of education, rational amusement, and the appreciation of the wonder-working nature of God. Originating from this same Enlightenment ethos, American Freemasonry and its offshoots shared these imperatives, which in some cases led to the establishment of museums by fraternal organizations themselves. The presentation will focus on these early fraternal institutions (1790–1820) as well as collecting fraternalism by later museums.


Barbara Franco is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and the Cooperstown Graduate Program. She has had an extensive career in museum administration and exhibition development and has been involved in the opening of new museums and major exhibition projects. She began her career as curator of decorative arts at Munson Williams Proctor Institute in Utica, New York. During her tenure at the National Heritage Museum, in Lexington, Massachusetts, she authored exhibition catalogs on fraternal artifacts. She went on to positions at the Minnesota Historical Society, the Historical Society of Washington, DC, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Her most recent project was the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum, which opened in 2013. Her broad interests in the cultural and intellectual history of the nineteenth century has included research on decorative and fine arts, communal societies, fraternal organizations, and the role of religion in American history.

Speakers’ Biographies

Allan Daniel was born and raised in Manhattan and graduated from Horace Mann and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He found his calling as an art and antiques dealer when he bought a 250-year-old farm in Massachusetts and began looking for items to fill it. This led to an appreciation for the early work of artists and artisans in New England with a special emphasis on American folk art. Throughout his career as a dealer and collector, Allan has become an acknowledged expert in the fields of painting and sculpture in the form of woodcarving and weathervanes. His gallery, the American Folk Art Gallery, was one of the first in New York City. Daniel serves as a vetter of American Folk Art at the Winter Antiques Show and a trustee of the American Folk Art Museum.

Kendra Daniel began her career as a painter, which led to designing picture frames and eventually to becoming an art dealer specializing in American painting. In the mid-1980s, she pioneered the field of original art by illustrators for children by becoming a dealer/collector concentrating on the “golden age” of this art, from 1890 to 1940. The art from this collection has been shared in exhibitions throughout the world, including Flights into Fantasy, featuring the Daniels’ own collection. In addition, together Kendra and Allan Daniel have created the largest known collection of haute couture fashion jewelry by Yves Saint Laurent, which includes related examples of clothing. Their life is a treasure hunt.

Stacy C. Hollander is deputy director for curatorial affairs, chief curator, and director of exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum. Along with Aimee E. Newell, Hollander is co-curator of Mystery and Benevolence and co-author of the accompanying exhibition catalog. Selected writings as author and co-author include Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum (2014), The Seduction of Light: Mark Rothko | Ammi Phillip: Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008), American Radiance: The Ralph Esmerian Gift to the American Folk Art Museum (2001), American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (2001), and Harry Lieberman: A Journey of Remembrance (1991). Hollander has also published on a wide range of folk art topics in magazines, journals, catalogs, and encyclopedias, and has lectured in the United States and abroad. She has served as curator of numerous exhibitions for the museum, including Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions (2012), Women Only: Folk Art by Female Hands (2010), The Seduction of Light: Mark Rothko | Ammi Phillip: Compositions in Pink, Green, and Red (2008), and Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing (2008); as co-curator of Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum (2014), Traylor in Motion: Wonders from New York Collections (2013) and Revisiting Ammi Phillips: Fifty Years of American Portraiture (1994); and as project coordinator of Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts (2011). Her upcoming exhibition Securing the Shadow: Posthumous Portraiture in America opens in October. Hollander received her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her MA in American folk art studies from New York University.

William D. Moore is a scholar of American material culture, vernacular architecture, and cultural landscapes. He serves as director of the American & New England Studies Program at Boston University, where he also teaches in the Department of History of Art & Architecture. He holds an AB in Folklore and Mythology from Harvard College and a PhD in American Studies from Boston University. Over the last twenty-five years he has lectured and written extensively about American fraternalism. He is currently working on a book manuscript investigating the American popular fascination with the Shakers in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

Aimee E. Newell is director of collections at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is the former curator of textiles and fine arts at Old Sturbridge Village, as well as the former curator of collections at the Nantucket Historical Association. She holds degrees from Amherst College and Northeastern University and received her PhD in History from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the lead author of Curiosities of the Craft: Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection (2013), co-winner of the 2014 Historic New England Book Prize. She is the author of A Stitch In Time: Needlework by Aging Women in Antebellum America (2014) and The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library (2015). She writes and lectures frequently on the history of American Freemasonry and fraternalism.

Bruce Lee Webb was born in 1966 in Waxahachie, Texas. Webb’s maternal grandparents were evangelical missionaries to India from the late 1930s to the early ’50s who collected books, folklore, and art of the subcontinent. The occult library he inherited from his grandparents was the basis and inspiration for him to begin to collect antiquarian Masonic and occult books, and prompted his knock on the door of Freemasonry in 1987. Webb is a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, Royal Arch Mason, Cryptic Mason, and Knight Templar; he is also an Odd Fellow and is a Royal Purple degree member of the Odd Fellows Encampment. He has been initiated into the Order of the Eastern Star, the Rebekahs, and the Knights of Pythias. Webb has crisscrossed the country in search of American Folk Art with his wife, Julie, for more than twenty-five years. The Webbs operate Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, Texas, which focuses on art by self-taught American artists. With co-author Lynne Adele, Webb recently completed a book published by University of Texas Press, titled As Above So Below: Art of the American Fraternal Society, 1850–1930 (2015).

Timothy Winkle is a curator with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where he serves as the deputy chair of the division of home and community life. He specializes in the material history of firefighting as well as in community groups and voluntary associations, including fraternal organizations. Tim has been the lead curator on exhibitions highlighting the centenary of the Girl Scouts (2012) as well as the development of American firefighting in the antebellum period (2016). Prior to joining the Smithsonian in 2005, he worked at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry at the United Grand Lodge of England in London. He also volunteers his time serving as manager for the diverse collections held by the Alexandria Washington Lodge No. 22 in Alexandria, Virginia. Tim is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and holds an MA in Museum Studies from University College London as well as an MA in Popular Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University. He is currently researching the intersections between American fraternal organizations and the establishment of museum collections in the Early Republic.

Sponsored by the Council for Traditional Folk Art

Image: Chest Lid with Masonic Painting, artist unidentified, probably New England, 1825–1845, paint on pine, 
22 1/4 x 37 1/4 x 2 5/8″
, American Folk Art Museum, New York, gift of Kendra and Allan Daniel, 2015.1.28. 
Photo by José Andrés Ramírez.

9:00 am–2:00 pm

$55 members, students, seniors; $65 non-members