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Augustus Burt Coolidge, Grand Master, 1908

Brother Coolidge was born at Bouckville, Madison County, New York, September 17, 1857. His collegiate education was obtained at Lawrence Academy, Groton, Mass., and Colgate University, Hamilton, New York. He was appointed a clerk in the Bureau of Pensions in 1882, and while so employed he entered upon the study of medicine in one of the medical schools of the City of Washington, graduating therefrom with the degree of M. D. in 1884. Soon after his graduation he was appointed a Medical Examiner in the Bureau of Pensions, which position he still holds.

Brother Coolidge's Masonic life began in Harmony Lodge, No. 17, this jurisdiction, wherein he was made a Master Mason June 28, 1887. He dimitted from Harmony Lodge December 27, 1888, and affiliated with La-Fayette Lodge, No. 19, February 21, 1889, in which he still holds membership. He filled by appointment and election the several subordinate offices in LaFayette Lodge, and served as its Master in the year 1895. He is an honorary member of Temple Lodge, No. 32, this jurisdiction. He was elected Junior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge at the annual communication in 1897, and thereafter he was elected to each succeeding station in the progressive line of the Grand Lodge. He was elected and installed as Grand Master at the St John's Day communication in 1907, and served as Grand Master one year.

Brother Coolidge's career in Capitular Masonry dates from October 31. 1887, when he was exalted in Mount Vernon Chapter, No. 3, this jurisdiction. In December of the same year he was appointed Master of the Second Vail, and was regularly advanced through the succeeding stations, serving as High Priest in 1894. He was appointed Grand Master of the First Vail in the Grand Chapter in 1897, and after filling every station in the progressive line except that of Grand Principal Sojourner, he was elected and installed as Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia February 12, 1904, serving one year. He received the Cryptic degrees in Washington Council, No. 1, Royal and Select Masters, and is now a member of Adoniram Council, No. 2. He was knighted in Washington Commandery, No. 1, K. T., January 25, 1888, and served for a period in the official line, but refused advancement by reason of other Masonic duties.

In Scottish Rite Masonry M. W. Brother Coolidge has had an active career, his record being as follows: Fourteenth degree in Mithras Lodge of Perfection, February 22, 1888; eighteenth degree in Evangelist Chapter Rose Croix, February 6, 1889; thirtieth degree in Robert de Bruce Council of Kadosh, September 13, 1889; thirty-second degree in Albert Pike Consistory, September 23, 1889; thirty-third degree (honorary) in Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction, October 22, 1897. He was Venerable Master of Mithras Lodge of Perfection in 1896 and 1897, and Venerable Master Kadosh of Albert Pike Consistory in 1898.

He was invested with the Royal Order of Scotland September 16, 1889. He is a member of the Convention of High Priests and the Masonic Veteran Association.

He became a member of Almas Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., January 30, 1888, and served as an officer but declined advancement on account of other duties.

Upon the reorganization of the Board of Managers of the Masonic Temple Association, following the assumption of control of the building by the Grand Lodge, Brother Coolidge was chosen President and assumed that position October 24, 1910.

He is a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Greek letter fraternity. He has been a member of the Cosmos Club of this city since 1892. The membership of this club is composed chiefly of men of note and distinction in the realm of science, literature, and art, and it is among the best known and most noted clubs of the world. He has been for some years the club's treasurer.

The Masonic career of M. W. Brother Coolidge has been one of great activity and usefulness to the Craft. In every position which he has been called upon to fill he has shown marked ability in the discharge of its duties. It is not too much to say that no Grand Master has had a more intelligent conception of the duties of his office, or has performed them with greater diligence and satisfaction to the Craft Because of his kind ness of heart, his broad and generous sympathy, his true courtesy, his sterling character and his genial personality, he has enjoyed in large measure the love and esteem of his brethren.

He has labored zealously for the upbuilding of Masonry in this jurisdiction, and during his administration as Grand Master his constant endeavor was to set the standard of the institution just a little bit higher than it ever was before. His talks and addresses to the brethren were models of clearness of thought and precision of statement and showed him to be a man of broad culture and large familiarity with books and authorities. An easy, quiet, and forceful speaker he had no difficulty in impressing his ideas upon his hearers or making himself fully understood upon all questions discussed by him.

It was Brother Coolidge's opportunity and pleasing duty to dedicate our new Masonic Temple to Freemasonry. If the success and distinction of his administration as Grand Master rested upon nothing else, that ceremony alone, because of its quiet dignity, its impressiveness, its beautiful rendition, and his eloquent words of hope, prophecy, and wisdom, secured for him the unqualified approval and lasting admiration of his brethren, and assured for him and for his administration a place second to none in the history of our Grand Lodge. The beauty and grace of that occasion will abide forever in the minds and hearts of the large concourse of brethren who witnessed it.

AHGP District of Columbia

Source: History of the Grand Lodge and Freemasonry in the District of Columbia, compiled by W. Brother Kenton N. Harper, 1911.

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