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Object Name: Fraternal apron and sash
Date: 1780-1800
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Medium: Silk, metal
Dimensions: Overall (a, apron): 23 1/8 × 16 1/8 × 1/8 in. (58.7 × 41 × 0.3 cm) Overall (b, sash): 4 1/8 × 70 1/4 × 1/8 in. (10.5 × 178.4 × 0.3 cm)
Place made: North America, United States
Description: White silk Masonic apron lined with light blue silk and trimmed with blue silk ribbon ruffle on all sides; peaked center-front waist with rounded corners at bottom; two silk ribbon ties extend from top of waist; apron is decorated with tasselled rope suspending a stonemason tool, all embroidered in gold metallic thread at top; center of apron decorated with Masonic compass and square symbols, and an eye in front of two crossed flags, one the American; laurel leaves are also intertwined along square and compass.
Credit Line: Gift of Goodhue Livingston
Object Number: 1951.523ab
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The apron and sash belonged to Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813), who, along with George Washington, was one of the many Freemasons involved in establishing the American Republic. After graduating from King's College (now Columbia University) and taking the bar in 1773, Livingston was elected to the Second Continental Congress. He was one of the five men who drafted the Declaration of Independence, administered the oath to President George Washington in 1789, and served as Chancellor of the Supreme Court of New York State. Masonic aprons were symbols of innocence and honor amongst Freemasons. Livingston served as Grandmaster of the Freemason Grand Lodge of New York from 1794-1801. The Grand Lodge of New York still exists and has dedicated research libraries on Freemasonry in New York City and Utica to Chancellor Livingston.


"Robert R. Livingston and the American Enlightenment," Clermont State Historic Site, June 29–December 18, 1996.