Masonic Apron, Neck Sash & Medal of U.S. Mint - California Gold Refiner James Booth, with a Lithograph of Him
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[JAMES CURTIS BOOTH].
The collection consists of:
- a blue silk Masonic apron, 16 x 13 ½ in., with bullion trim and devices, “No. 134” above hand-painted portrait of Benjamin Franklin in starburst, with attached tassels. Maker’s tag of “Horstmann Bros. &c. Military Depot, 5th & Cherry St's. Philadelphia,” in original box.
- a blue silk Masonic neck sash, 22 in.
- a silver Masonic medal inscribed on verso, “James C. Booth / Franklin Lodge No. 134 AYM”
- a lithograph print of Booth by A. Newsam, produced from a daguerreotype by M. A. Root. circa mid-nineteenth century. 13 x 17 in. Some minor staining.
James Curtis Booth (1810-1888) became known as a chemist after he opened a teaching laboratory in Pennsylvania in the 1830s. In 1849, President Zachary Taylor appointed him a smelter and refiner at the U.S. Mint. While at the mint until his retirement in 1887, Booth invented new ways to refine California gold. He also designed a new wind furnace to melt the large amounts of California gold entering the market.
Franklin Lodge 134 Ancient York Masons was founded in Philadelphia in 1812. During the anti-masonic craze, it closed in 1831, but was re-constituted in 1846. Vice President George M. Dallas was a prominent member.