People mistakenly assume that the name of the Scottish Rite honors the origins of the group in Scotland. The Scottish Rite actually came from France during the 1700s, when it was a series of twenty-five degrees. It followed trade routes to the West Indies and was then introduced to North America. The first Supreme Council in the United States formed in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1801. Today there are two jurisdictions: the Southern Jurisdiction oversees the rite in state “Orients” and local bodies known as “Valleys” and the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction is divided into only Valleys.
This certificate belonged to Robert McGowan Jr. of East Orange, New Jersey, and was presented in 1888. This document allowed the member to prove his receipt of the Thirty-second Degree if he wanted to visit another Valley.
Stacy C. Hollander, "Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction 32nd Degree Certificate," exhibition label for Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection. Stacy C. Hollander, curator. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2016.