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North Carolina’s Freemasons and the Cornerstones of UNC

Mural depicting Freemasons

Mural by Allyn Cox depicting William Richardson Davie laying the cornerstone in the building now known as Old East. Photograph by Ric Carter, Grand Lodge of North Carolina (Raleigh).

Look Well to the East: North Carolina’s Freemasons and the Cornerstones of UNC
Wilson Special Collections Library, 4th floor
Oct. 1–Dec. 23, 2013
Free and open to the public

North Carolina’s Freemasons and the important role they played in the creation of UNC will be explored in an exhibit on the 4th floor of the Wilson Special Collections Library.

Look Well to the East: North Carolina’s Freemasons and the Cornerstones of UNC will be on display from Oct. 1 through Dec. 23, 2013.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

The exhibit traces the Masons’ contribution to conceiving, lobbying for, and building the nation’s first public university, an accomplishment consistent with the fraternity’s historic emphasis on education and the liberal arts.

Visitors to the exhibit will be able to view:

  • The sword and pocket watch of William Richardson Davie, a Mason who is considered the founder of the University. The sword has never before been exhibited in Chapel Hill;
  • The Old East cornerstone plate and the Masonic apron worn by William McCauley during the cornerstone ceremony;
  • 18th– and 19th-century papers from Eagle Lodge No. 19 in Hillsborough documenting the applications, or “petitions,” of UNC’s first President Joseph Caldwell to receive the first and second degrees of Masonry; and
  • Assorted Masonic working tools.

The exhibit is sponsored by the North Carolina Collection, the Southern Historical Collection, and the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina.

For hours and exhibit information, contact the Wilson Special Collections Library, (919) 962-3765 or

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