Have you ever taken a moment to look at your Lodge Charter and wonder about the people or symbols on the Charter? Some, like the American and Swedish flags are easy to recognize. While we don’t know all the answers and symbolism on the Charters, here’s what we do know about the Charter artwork.
The GL Charter was designed by C. W. Malmquist, who also selected the phrasing at the first GL Convention. The early Vasa Charters use the old Swedish spelling that was changed to the modern spelling in 1907. The book in the prelate’s hands shows the Ten Commandments and “Fader Var” (Our Lord’s Prayer).
The Symbolism of the Vasa Emblem booklet says the following about C. W. Malmquist, "He was born in Varmland Sweden in 1861 and came to the US in 1882 at the age of 21. He was an artist, steel engraver and printer. He was appointed to draw up a design for the emblem, charters and other official forms for the Order at the first meeting of the Grand Lodge. His drawings and designs were accepted and became official at the next Grand Lodge meeting held in New Haven, CT in March 1899. Malmquist became the 3rd GM and was bestowed with the honor of Honorary Life Membership of the Order."
We’re guessing on this... The man on the left may be King Gustav Vasa and the man on the right is Admiral Clas Fleming leader of the New Sweden colony. The two men on the bottom may be men connected with New Sweden; there are links to possible men below. The wheat sheaf banner we all have in our LL is between Vasa and the priest. The Swedish flag is between the priest and Adm. Fleming. We have no idea who the priest is and there are several Swedish priests that are good candidates. The Bald Eagle is behind the American shield and the Swedish Lion is behind the Swedish shield.
If you have more or better information on who these men are, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us at VasaArchivist@gmail.com or at 309-927-3898 if you have any questions about the Archives or our collections. “Like us” on Facebook for current information on Bishop Hill or the Vasa National Archives.
In Truth and Unity,