On May 6, 1940, acclaimed author and Freemason, John Steinbeck, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic American novel, The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck would also be awarded a Nobel Prize in 1962.
In 1929, Steinbeck was initiated in Salinas Lodge No. 204 F&AM, following in the footsteps of his father, Johne E. Steinbeck, Sr., who was a Past Master of Salinas Lodge.
The collections in the Grace Dee May Museum highlight the connections of the Western Movement to the Family of Freemasonry. Many of the most prominent pioneers and personalities of the West were Freemasons.
As settlers on the prairies, in the Rockies, and in coastal territories and states put down roots, it was often members of Masonic Lodges who helped build communities, schools, libraries, and railroads in the West. As time has passed, the legends and stories of the West were often shared through art and literature by Freemasons including the powerful writings of John Steinbeck.