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Historic New England awards twentieth annual Book Prize

2014 Historic New England Book Prize

Historic New England awards its twentieth annual Book Prize to Curiosities of the Craft: Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection by Aimee E. Newell, Hilary Anderson Stelling, and Catherine Compton Swanson, and "With Éclat": The Boston Athenaeum and the Origin of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Hina Hirayama.

Historic New England Senior Curator of Library and Archives Lorna Condon stated, “Each of these books presents new and compelling research and is eloquently written and beautifully produced. I am delighted that two such stellar publications will receive the twentieth Historic New England Book Prize.”

Curiosities of the Craft examines more than 150 objects from the collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. These historic objects and documents were acquired over the past three centuries and tell the stories of the individual masons, craftsmen, and leaders, and reflect the rich heritage of the Freemasons in Massachusetts by linking the objects to important national and local events.

“With Éclat” is a detailed history of the Boston Athenaeum's important role in the founding of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1870. During the museum’s early years, the Boston Athenaeum provided ongoing advice and support, allocated funds to purchase decorative arts for the museum, lent its own collection of fine arts for display, and hosted the museum’s first exhibitions.

Copies of the books are available on Historic New England’s website as are select past winners of the Historic New England Book Prize.

About Historic New England’s Book Prize: The Historic New England Book Prize recognizes works that advance the understanding of the architecture, landscape, and material culture of New England and the United States from the seventeenth century to the present. This includes works in the decorative arts, archaeology, historic preservation, and the history of photography. To qualify, works need not deal exclusively with New England but must make a significant contribution to our understanding of New England and its relation to the wider world.


About Historic New England: Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation. We bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone interested in exploring the authentic New England experience from the seventeenth century to today. Historic New England owns and operates thirty-six historic homes and landscapes spanning five states. The organization shares the region’s history through vast collections, publications, public programs, museum properties, archives, and family stories that document more than 400 years of life in New England. For more information visit



Historic New England awards twentieth annual Book Prize