ALBERT WHITMAN CLAFLIN 1885-1956
Grand Master 1946-1947
Albert Whitman Claflin, of Saint John's Lodge No. 1, of Providence was elected and installed the ninety-first Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at the One Hundred and Fifty-Fifth Annual Communication, held at Providence, on Monday, May 20, A. L. 5946, A. D. 1946. He is the fifteenth member of St. John's Lodge, No. 1, of Providence, to be chosen for the exalted position of Grand Master.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, January 31, 1885, the son of Arthur Whitman and Mary Alice (Howard) Claflin, he obtained his early education in the Frobel School and the University School of Providence. He graduated in 1902 and then entered Brown University from which he graduated in 1906 with degree of Ph.B.
In 1907 he received the degree of Sc.M. from Brown University, and in 1909 graduated from the Rhode Island College of Pharmacy & Allied Sciences with degree of Ph.G. In 1910 he received the degree of Ph.C. and in 1912 the degree of Phar. D.
He was a member of Kappa Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Brown University, being President in his senior year; and of Beta Epailon Chapter of Kappa Psi at the College of Pharmacy.
On February 23, 1918 he was married to Harriet Ames Fuller, of Providence, and they have four children, three sons and a daughter,—Brother Robert Christopher Claflin and Brother George Arthur Claflin, both of whom were made Masons by their father in St. Johns Lodge No. 1, of Providence, during his year as Grand Master, and William Howard Claflin and Elizabeth Fuller Claflin.
M. W. Brother Claflin is a descendant of a long line of Claflins in New England, being the direct descendant of Robert MacClaflin who was admitted a townsman in Wenham, Massachusetts, on November 4, 1661. The Claflin Family Association, composed of the descendants of Robert MacClaflin, was established nearly a century ago, and the 93rd Annual Reunion will be held July 25, 1947. Albert W. Claflin has been President of the Association since 1937. His father and grandfather carried on a wholesale pharmaceutical business in Providence for many years, and he is now the President of the outgrowth of that business, The Claflin Co., Wholesale Druggists of Providence.
He has been President of The Rhode Island College of Pharmacy & Allied Science- since April, 11)37. From 1912 to June, 1946 he was Department Head and Professor of Chemistry, having taught thirty-five consecutive classes in Organic Chemistry in that period. On May 17, 1947 he was elected Vice-President of The Barnard Club, which is composed of teachers and professors in the schools anil colleges of Rhode Island.
He is a director of the Rhode Island Electric Protective Co., a member of the Life Governing Group, Rhode Island School of Design, a member of the Rhode Island Historical Society, a member of the Rhode Island Pharmaceutical Association, a member and past president of the Rhode Island Philatelic Society, a member of the Collectors Club of New York, and was sent as a Delegate to the United Stales Pharmacopoeial Convention for the 1 lth Revision in 1930 and again for the 12th Revision in 1940.
The Masonic Record of the Grand Master began March 19, 1913. He was raised a Master Mason on June 3, 1913 in St. John's Lodge No. 1, of Providence, and was elected its Worshipful Master on December 27, 1922.
He was appointed a District Deputy Grand Master in May, 1937 and served five years in different Masonic Districts and was elected R. W. Junior Grand Warden in 1942, R. W. Senior Grand Warden in 1943, Deputy Grand Master in 1944, serving two years in this office, because of Government Regulations during the war, and then was elected M. W. Grand Master.
He holds membership in Providence Chapter No. 1, R. A. M., in the Capitular Rite. He is a member of Providence Council No. 1, R. & S. M., in the Cryptic Rite, serving in 1947 as Deputy Master, and is now Acting Thrice Illustrious Master, due to the death of the Master. In Christian Knighthood, he is a member of St. Johns Coniniandery No. 1, K. T., and was elected its Eminent Commander in October, 1933.
In the A. A. S. Rite N. M. J. in the Valley of Providence, he holds membership in the four Branches of that Rite. He served as Thrice Potent Master, Solomon's Lodge of Perfection for two years, from May, 1942 to May, 1944.
On September 26, 1945, Grand Master Claflin was crowned a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Thirty-third and Last Degree, at Boston, Massachusetts.
On September 11, 1946, at Boston, Massachusetts, he was honored by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, with the presentation of the Henry Price Medal, and on June 26, 1947, at Truro, Nova Scotia, he was again honored by the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, with the presentation of the Erasmus James Phillips Medal of that jurisdiction.
He was made a Tall Cedar of Lebanon at sight by the Supreme Grand Tall Cedar in Massasoit Forest No. 112 on September 14, 1946, at Barrington, Rhode Island, and upon the Institution of Blackstone Valley Forest No. 128, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, became its first Honorary Member.
Grand Master Claflin is a member of Moslem Grotto M. O. V. P. E. R., in Providence, having been one of the members who organized this Grotto, and was Monarch of Suhrab Grotto, of Pawtucket, in 1919.
He has been honored with Honorary Memberships in Ionic Lodge No. 28, of Greene, Unity Lodge No. 34, of Lonsdale, and Orpheus Lodge No. 36, of Providence.
He is also a member of Palestine Temple A. A. O. N. M. S., and a member of the Past Masters' Association and the Masonic Veterans of Rhode Island.
He is a member of the Central Congregational Church, of Providence, having served as Deacon of that Church for a five-year term, and is now a member of the Permanent Diaconate.
He is actively interested in the collect ion of stamps, historical Staffordshire pottery, old coins and antique furniture, and has been a director of the American Association for Stamp Exhibitions, Inc., of New York.
Brother Claflin gave freely of his time and ability to the office of Grand Master during his term. He visited each and every lodge in the jurisdiction at least once, and at every visitation carried Masonic messages of vast importance to the brethren of the jurisdiction, which were received with widespread commendation.
Brother Claflin believed that while the welfare of, and contacts with, Rhode Island Masonry were his first concern, a very important part of his duties consisted of cementing the fraternal relations and the true spirit of brotherhood among neighboring jurisdictions. He, therefore, made it a point to accept as many invitations to attend their Annual Communications as time and previous engagements would permit.
This attitude toward and contacts with other Grand Jurisdictions proved to be well worth the effort, as many friends were made for the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island. This was particularly shown by the large numlHT of acceptances received from Grand Masters of other Grand Jurisdictions to Rhode Island's Grand Lodge Annual Communication. His year as Grand Master will t>e remembered as one of constant Masonic activity.