The collection of Lithuanian American lodge tokens presented here was originally assembled by the late Dr. Alexander M. Rackus (1893-1965), himself an immigrant who came to Chicago. A member of the ANA, Rackus wrote several articles for the Numismatist in the 1920s and 1930s, and served as historical/numismatic curator of the Vytautas, the Great museum in Kaunas, Lithuania, 1936-1940. A listing of the Chicago lodge token appeared in the November, 1948 issue (No. 4) of the American-Lithuanian Philatelic Specialist, which Dr. Rackus published in Chicago after the war.
However, the collection mysteriously disappeared over the years and was feared lost. In September of 1979 it was discovered in a small box behind some shelves in a closet, in the archives of the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, 4012 Archer Avenue in Chicago. In the same box were also early Lithuanian lodge tokens from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn, New York. Since that discovery, the collection has been cataloged, photographed and placed on permanent exhibit at the museum.
As the reader will discover, these small tokens display various inconsistencies, spelling errors, and poor grammar. Many of the spelling variances are due to the heavy Polish influence under which the Lithuanians tried to establish their own separate identity. Though the Lithuanian written language was being purged of Polish influences, that influence still shows up on many of these tokens.