Wendell P. Dabney      

Guide to African American Resources
at the Cincinnati History Library and Archives

   

 

Introduction

Subject Categories

Index

  

Cincinnati History
Library and Archives

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
African American Freemasons
 
  The history of African American Freemasonry in Cincinnati and Ohio began in 1847 when seven men went to Pittsburgh, the nearest African American lodge, and asked approval to establish a lodge in Cincinnati. Their request was granted and in 1848, they formed the Corinthian Lodge as part of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Two other lodges in Cincinnati soon followed, the True American Lodge and St. John’s Lodge.  
 
In May of 1849 the three lodges came together and decided to no longer be subordinate to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, but to create the Grand Lodge of Ohio. Once established, the Grand Lodge of Ohio granted charters to lodges in many different states in the south and the mid-west that eventually formed their own grand lodges.
 
 


Throughout the years, Cincinnati’s lodges had many prominent leaders in its membership, such as Theodore Berry, the first African American mayor of Cincinnati, and William McClain, Cincinnati’s city solicitor and Municipal Court Judge. Frank A.B. Hall was the Ohio State Grand Master of the Prince Hall Lodge from 1925 to 1930. Today, there are seven different lodges located in Cincinnati, all with a long history of generous contributions to area charities.

 
 


 
To learn more about African American Freemasons, consult the following resources:
 

An Official History of the Most Wonderful Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Ohio
General 366.1 F855f
This 1906 history contains a listing of all lodges in Ohio arranged by county.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
The History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio, 1849-1971
By Charles H. Wesley
General 366.1 W513p
View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Wesley Smith Lodge #107 Presents It’s 50th Year Anniversary
Pamphlets q366.1 W514
A program for the 50th anniversary of the Wesley Smith Lodge of Freemasons in Cincinnati in 1982. Includes a list and pictures of leaders and officers.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
Official Program: One Hundred and Fiftieth Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Mason, State of Ohio…Held at Cincinnati, Ohio, August 6-11, 1999

General 366.1 F855ph
This program details the 150th anniversary celebration of the first African American lodge of Freemasons in Ohio as well as the 112th anniversary of the Order of the Eastern Star. It includes pictures of leaders from lodges across Ohio.    View catalog record   Request slip
 
 
 
William A. McClain Papers, 1927-1989
Mss 916
This collection of Judge William McClain's papers includes materials on the Prince Hall Grand Lodge and the Progressive Masonry Conference. For More information, a detailed register for this collection is available in the library.   View catalog record   Request slip
 
 


Sources Used for Historical Sketch:
  • Wesley, Charles H. The History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio, 1849-1972. Washington, D.C., 1972. General 366.1 W513p. Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
  • Official Program: One Hundredth and Fiftieth Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, State of Ohio...Held at Cincinnati, Ohio, August 6th-11th, 1999. General 366.1 F855ph. Cincinnati History Library and Archives, Cincinnati Museum Center.
 
 

 


Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Mailing address: 250 W. Court Street, Suite 300 East, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Email: library@cincymuseum.org
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This online guide opened on February 10, 2004.