Knights of Malta

The Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Knights of Malta, also known as the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, Hospitallers of St. John, Knights of Rhodes and Knights of St. John D’arc, is a fraternal organization introduced into America in 1844 by Charles McClintock and George H. Pearce. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Knights of Malta's stated purpose was to “unite men under the most binding forms, to comfort one another in the practice of Christian religion…to promote Protestant unity, and to defend the Protestant faith against all foes whatsoever.” The group also provided mutual sickness and death benefits to its members.  

The Knights of Malta conferred twelve degrees inspired to by the knights who fought in the Crusades. The organization considered itself “the legitimate descendant of the illustrious, religious and military order of the Middle Ages…” 


These lantern slides were part of a large collection of objects given to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library by the family of Gerard Dallas Jencks (1879-1952). Jencks was Supreme Commander of the Knights of Malta in the United States in the 1940s.