Authority or Auxiliary? Miss Rose Lipp's Masonic Business, 1900-1930
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
Miss Rose Lipp, a female manufacturer and dealer in ‘Masonic Supplies’, maintained her Boston business for over 30 years and was recognized as an authority on masonic regalia, providing the aprons, jewels and uniforms essential to masonic meetings and rituals. This paper employs examples of Lipp’s regalia together with her advertisements and notices in local masonic magazines to explore the role she played in the fraternity. Her experience offers a new perspective on the relationship of women to freemasonry in Boston. Her apparent acceptance by Boston’s freemasons stretches our understanding of the experience of female entrepreneurs during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Lipp pursued a female occupation—that of producing clothing—for a male audience. In this era, when women’s roles were changing, as they entered the American business world in greater numbers than ever before, Rose Lipp—as a woman and a business owner—offers a model to explore how women navigated male worlds—public, private and masonic.
Author: Aimee E. Newell
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