These Were Brethren – Carl Claudy Yarns

These-Were-BrethrenWhen the gathering of the family, that is a joy, but goes on and on during the holiday season, and exhaustion sets in for all the partying, it is nice to get away and curl up in a cozy corner all by one’s self to relax. At such times a good book will be just the elixir that one needs.

In just such a getaway moment I reached for an old book not touched for years on end from my bookcase.  And what to my surprise should appear in my hands but Carl Claudy’s These Were Brethren, a collection of 24 Masonic short stories. Claudy is the master of the short story and not a bad playwright to boot. He is often best remembered for his Old Tiler Talks.

The very first story, The Gentle Masonic Way, had me in a state of nostalgic Masonic bliss. Here I met once again Worshipful Master Amos Andrews, Secretary Jeffries, Billy Morton, Dr. Witherspoon, Sneed and all the regulars from Doric Lodge.

My first encounter with Doric Lodge and all its characters was when I performed with a group of Masonic players who put on the Carl Claudy play A Rose Upon The Altar.  It has been ten years since I played the part of Squire Bentley in a tear jerking performance.

Now here was Amos Andrews once again up to his eyeballs in what the British would call a “sticky wicket.” It seems that his son has come of age and petitioned Doric Lodge for membership. Repeated balloting a year apart has brought forth a black ball each time. The suspected culprit is an old time member of the Lodge who owns an expensive herd of cattle. The story goes that young Andrews shot his prize bull, worth a great deal of money, as it was mauling a vagrant.  Now it is payback time.

Worshipful Andrews will not resort to subterfuge to sneak his son through the balloting process.  But after the ranch owner fires his ranch foreman and all the workers he comes down with an illness that leaves him bedridden.  Meanwhile a crippling winter blizzard hits the area and this ranch owner cannot feed and care for his cattle.

As the story comes to an end this bitter rancher out for revenge comes to Lodge a week later to once again participate in the balloting on young Andrews. But this time he has a change of heart and drops a white ball as he reveals that Worshipful Andrews spent three whole days and nights in his barn feeding and caring for his cows.

Claudy’s references to farming and cows are dated with analogies not easy to visualize in this day of mechanization and The Information Age. But the stories are timeless just as the references to sheep and sheep herding in the Bible provide analogies to timeless parables.

There are 23 more stories to tickle your fancy in this book including an outstanding mystery. So once in awhile reach into your bookcase and reacquaint yourself once again with a work of inspiration you have not visited in years, thereby renewing a right spirit within yourself.

On Holy Ground – A Review

On Holy Ground by Karen Kidd
On Holy Ground by Karen Kidd

If you are a traditional Mainstream or Prince Hall Mason, hereafter referred to as a Malecraft Mason, then you probably have the perception that a woman in Masonry is a member of the Eastern Star or Heroines of Jericho.  You would be wrong.

Co-Masonry, as Kidd tells us, started with the making a Mason of Maria Deraismes, a well known advocate of women’s rights, in France by a Malecraft Lodge in 1882.

Deraismes, along with Georges Martin, founded Le Droit Humain later called International Co-Freemasonry.

From this modest beginning by 1900 sprang the Supreme Council of Universal Co-Freemasonry, incorporating the 33 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. This body claimed for itself worldwide jurisdiction of Co-Masonry and chartered new Lodges in many different areas. One of those areas was Britain where Annie Besant organized Co-Masonry.

And if you thought that a woman in Masonry would be an isolated case you would be wrong again.  And if you thought that a woman in Masonry was a recent development and a passing fad, you would still be wrong one more time.

Karen Kidd, in her first book Haunted Chambers, catalogs the lives and occurrences of the first women who were admitted to Male-craft Masonry or who sneaked in. Now in her second book, On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, Kidd publishes a detailed history of Co- Masonry, the institution that is the Obedience that admits men and women of all religions and national origins.Co-Masonry started in the 1880s. The belief that Co-Masonry sprung up on its own, independently from Malecraft Masonry and developed its own theory on Masonry all by itself is another perception to be shattered. Kidd quotes Annie Besant, founder of Co-Masonry in Great Britain and India.“ Co-Masonry has arisen from the bosom of Masculine Masonry in order to bring women into that ancient fraternity on exactly the same terms as men, and thus to restore the whole Brotherhood to the position from which it fell; when it broke its link with the Ancient Mysteries by excluding women from its ranks, by recognizing distinction of sexes within the pure sanctuary of the Temple.” Maria Deraismes

Antoine Muzzarelli, Grand Orient of France, GOdF, Alpha Lodge #301
Antoine Muzzarelli

In 1903 Antoine Muzzarrelli a French born Mason of Italian descent and an educator, lecturer, author and private tutor convinced Georges Martin in France into letting him found North American Co-Masonry on behalf of LDH.  Muzzarrelli had become a protector of French Masons in the United States working with the Grand Orient of France. But issues with the GOdF led him to seek another avenue for his Masonic expression and one where he could be the big cheese.  Muzzarrelli tapped the anarchist turned Socialist Louis Goaziou, a newspaper publisher in Charleroi, Pennsylvania as his chief deputy and Master of the first North American Co-Masonic Lodge in America, Alpha Lodge #301 formed by The American Federation of Human Rights the name Muzzarrelli chose for this new American Obedience. Alpha Lodge #301 was formerly consecrated with 21 Brethren, of which three were women, on October 18 and 19, 1903 in Charleroi.

In the next five years The American Federation of Human Rights would grow to over 40 Lodges. But Muzzarrelli’s tenure was short lived and towards the end he was beset with financial difficulties and irregularities, litigation and clamor for a National Convention. In 1908 Muzzarrelli was dead by his own hand and the Order was in chaos.

Louis Goaziou

Goaziou reluctantly took over and served as head of the Order from 1908-1937, almost 30 years.  His first duty was to get the finances in order. Then he permitted that National Convention in 1908 and presided over it. On May 26, 1909 he reincorporated The American Federation of Human Rights with some needed updates to the original. On January 20, 1910 the Supreme Council of the International Order issued a Charter to The American Federation of Human Rights.

Goaziou presided over the second National Convention in 1913. His most noted achievement was probably the purchase of land in Larkspur, Colorado and establishing the National Headquarters there.

But all was not roses for Goaziou.

Like Muzzarrelli, he had a skirmish with traditional Male-craft Masonry, and the Great Depression hurt the Order badly. Bank closings and the freezing of Federation money made for a very lean bare bones version of Masonry. Not only was their little expansion but some Lodges had to close because of financial difficulties.

Second National Convention of the The American Federation of Human Rights, Chicago, 1913.

But the one difficulty that sent this writer to the research books was the beginning of a long altercation between Theosophist and non-Theosophist Brothers for control of the Order. French Co-Masonry was decidedly secular while English Co-Masonry was decidedly Theosophist in nature. American Co-Masonry started out impartial and very much in the French mode but later developed to resemble more English Co-Masonry.

1924 National Convention
Edith Armour

This factional dispute bled over into Goaaziou’s successor, Edith Armour who was the Order’s first female leader and first Theosophist leader. Although Goasiou had brought many fellow Socialists into Co-Masonry he prided himself on guiding the American Federation of Human rights along a middle path not dominated by any single philosophical, religious or political group. Armour tried vainly to do the same but her Theosophical commitment had the Order leaning to favoritism even if it wasn’t deliberate. This led to a challenge to her leadership by Helen Sturgis who Goaziou had to deal with earlier. Armour survived victorious but her reign saw a marked decline in membership.  Yet, to be fair, one must factor in the effect that WWII had on the Order.

Kidd sums up the Theosophist battle thusly:

“To be sure, the Theosphical society is still active and supportive of Co-Freemasonry even today. It simply does not have now, nor had it ever, the ability to fully populate what is intended to be an inclusive, diverse, independent and free thinking body. No single religion, philosophy, creed, or political persuasion can possibly do that for Freemasonry. By necessity, Freemasonry must be mixed.”

“As Armour herself observed in 1936, differences in interpretation ‘are stimulating and refreshing.’ The lack of these differences caused the Order to become sluggish and stagnant. This is not what Armour ever intended but by the time she realized what was happening, she was too worn and tired to struggle against it, let alone undo it.”

Armour served as the leader of the American Federation for over twenty years from 1937-1959 and she was the first Most Puissant Grand commander to step down rather than die in office.

Bertha Williams

The docile Bertha Williams followed in 1959 and her weakness finally resulted in her quitting in 1967.

Helen Wycherley followed and she immediately put some backbone back into the office, Kidd tells us:

“She soon made it very clear the Federation would be beholden to no single religious, political or philosophical body. Herself a Theosophist, Wycherley ended American Federation’s time in the Theosophical shadow.”

Helen Wycherly

Wycherley selected Calla Hack as her successor in 1983. The move proved to be a disaster, so much so that Wycherley would come back to campaign against her in a bold attempt to remove her.  Hack lost $70,000 of the Federation’s money investing in the stock market totally on her own. She embarked on a campaign to remove a most popular Grand Orator.  She was not a Theosophist and had close ties with Paris, so much so that The Federation became divided between the “Loyalists” whose first allegiance was to The International Order and the “Secessionists” whose first loyalty was to the American Federation.

Carla Haack

Hack resigned in 1992 and what followed would change The American Federation of Human Rights forever. This time Hack’s successor was chosen by a true election. There were three candidates, Magdalena Cumsille, Rosario Menocal and Vera Bressler.  Cumsille got 70% of the vote and Bressler got 6%. Clearly the American Federation had chosen Cumsille. Now in past years all newly selected Most Puissant Grand Commanders were ratified by LDH in Paris. This always had been a rubber stamp of whatever American Co-Masonry had decided.

Magdalena Cumsille

This time was different. Paris demanded that Bressler be appointed MPGC and so she was. It also remanded American by-law changes, and changes giving the MPGC more autocratic power. By Colorado law, by-law changes to a nonprofit corporation must be ratified by its membership.  By a vote of 70-30 it was not and the battle was on. It took a number of years but in due time the American Federation of Human Rights divorced itself from the International Order of Co-Freemasonry, Le Droit Humain.  Le Droit Humain founded a new organization in the United States, incorporating in Delaware, and calling itself the “Order of International Co-Freemasonry Le Droit Humain – American Federation.”  The old American Federation renamed itself “ the Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry, the American Federation of Human Rights.” Some Lodges stayed with Le Droit Humain in their new American Order but a larger number remained with the newly separated American Federation which elected Magdalena Cumsille MPGC by an overwhelming majority and she continues in that office today.

Karen Kidd has penned a monumental work of distinction in On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry. It’s a powerful work, written with great gusto. And it is interesting reading. It’s interesting because Kidd doesn’t forget to include the human factor. People are human beings to Kidd not just robots in a jig saw puzzle to be fitted together by proper accounting.

In a number of instances Kidd has been able to correct misinformation. Because she is a member Of the American Federation of Human Rights she is privy to files and records off limits to outsiders. Thus she has been able to set the record straight on controversies and assertions that have been made in error.

2009 Gathering
2009 Gathering

Her research is meticulous and thorough. She maintains her objectivity. She has no agenda. She doesn’t fill in the blanks with a guess. This book is well documented with a ton of footnotes. At the end are a number of full length manuscripts which is a really nice addition to this work and accentuates the ideas and the struggles of this Order. There are many good pictures. Some of the images and documents have never been published before.

On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry will be a major research source carried by every library. And Karen Kidd has truly earned the title – Historian.

You can find On Holy Ground: A History of The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry on Amazon.

Why saying Happy Holidays is ok.

The U.S. Constitution says in the first amendment that

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The enactment of this prohibition prevented the Federal government from establishing a national church or religion or to excessively involve itself in religion in general but particularly to the benefit of one religion over another.

The outcome of this prohibition in the 200 plus years since its signing is today a pantheon of religious practice across America and a change in the national practice of faith.  In effect, the establishment of religious freedom has allowed for a unique form of national religion to emerge with its own set of practices, rituals, and traditions.  It is in effect, an American religion, established in the vacuum of any other religious tradition.

So as to make the point, every year 25 million Christmas trees are sold in the United States, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.  Each one of these 30 million trees are placed prominently in the home, business, or Public Square, and then decorated with elaborate representations of riches and finery so as to make this mundane tree of wood and leaf become something of a dramatic representation of splendor.  Once decorated, many place equally stunning packages of varying size and decoration beneath it.  And lastly, to punctuate the bedazzled tree and packages, many households hold elaborate parties within which many a carol is sung in its presence and special libations of holiday beverages (Eggnog anyone?)  poured in commemoration of the trees decoration.

pop culture nativity, Crèche, nativity scene

Dog Nativity Scene Even Jesus Would Love! from

Amidst the special tree are a few ancillary affects which include a mysterious pot bellied man in a red suit who spreads cheer and mirth through magical gift giving, to whom many a child is taught to set out offerings of milk and cookies.  And, under many of those trees is a small decorative Crèche, often remade with the pop culture cons of the day in representation of its historical significance.

Amazingly, nowhere is this ritual practice and performance written down or made sacred through any writing or sacred tradition.

Rather, its ideas are passed to the public through the things we buy such as the soft drink Coke, or its harder cousin Budweiser which annually make images of how to celebrate the holiday with their products.  Or, in even more rabid devices created to influence your decisions in making purchases of gifts quelling your need to buy and collect for yourself and appealing to your need to appease the wants of those you love.

No, this American Religious tradition is unique and one within which art imitates life which is imitating art.  Not many of us pull the candy canes and twinkle lights out in October, yet stores slowly begin to remind us of the coming tree adulating season.

Mind you, they’re not saying here comes the Christ’s Mass, their saying here comes Christmas, here come the holidays, or just simply Happy Holidays.

In case you didn’t make the connection, every December 25th, we celebrate Christmas which, as religious traditions go, is the birth of the Christian Christ Jesus.  Yet, in the increasingly secular and religiously diverse America, we’ve kept the name of christmas (note the lowercase c) and created our own national religious holiday season.

But, this American Religion isn’t alone in its incorporation of the holiday and, in case you missed them, other religious holidays happen in December which only help to lend themselves to the greater notion of a Holiday Season so as to recognize everyone’s faith.

Islam celebrated Ashura on the 5th.  Ashura is the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar marking the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram.  It is a Shi’a Muslim day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (680 A.D.)

Buddhism, the much admired Eastern tradition, had Bodhi Day on the 8th which is celebrated as the day that the historical Buddha experience enlightenment.

Catholic Christians Celebrate several special days along with the Christian Mass including Saint Nicholas Day on the 6th.  Saint Nick is perhaps the origin of the idea of Santa Clause as he is commonly called Nikolaos the Wonderworker for his secret gift giving.  Also in December is The Immaculate Conception day on the 8th which celebrates belief in the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the Feast Day for the Virgin of Guadalupe on the 12th which is to commemorate the vision on the Tepeyac hill by the recently converted Aztec Indian, Juan Diego, of the Nahuatl Virgin Mary.

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is celebrated from the 21st through the 28th in remembrance of the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt.

Pagan/Wiccan communities celebrate the Solstice with a Yule celebration on the 22nd.  Yule is most likely the Germanic source for much of our winter arboreal adulation as it is a winter holiday consisting of feasting and celebration at the changing of the solstice.  Today, the burning of a Yule log is a common theme which harkens back to this tradition.

On the 26th, Zoroastrian’s celebrate Zarathosht Diso, the death of Prophet Zarathushtra.  The celebration of this holiday, held annually on December 26th is often a private and personal one held within homes and temples without an external manifestation.

Not to forget in Masonic tradition, St. John the Evangelist’s feast day on December 27th, most commonly celebrated on or near the solstice and a day to reconnect with your Masonic brothers after having been away.  Often, if celebrated, it is with a Festive Board or Table Lodge.

And, one of my personal favorites is the remembrance of Saturnalia, the Roman era festival held in celebration in honor of the god Saturn, the father of the god Jupiter.  In ancient times, this feast took place from December 17 through the 23rd and is thought to of begun around 217 B.C.E.  Ironically (or perhaps not) the holiday consisted of celebrations, gift giving, and visiting of friends.  The customary greeting for the holiday was “Io, Saturnalia!” Io pronounced “e-o”) which is a Latin interjection such as “ho” as in “Ho, praise to Saturn.”

With so many holidays and celebrations going on in December, it’s ok to step back and look at the months many celebrations and say Happy Holidays without stepping on your religious toes or secular admonishment of religion.  Because Congress shall “make no law respecting an establishment of religion” its up to us to celebrate however we want – be it as one of the 30 million christmas tree buyers or as Buddhist celebrating the day of enlightenment.  In either case, it make no difference, by the fact of our communal celebration we together are creating an American Religious Holiday.

Mumbai Indian Freemason Visits Prince Hall Boston Lodge

Stories of Prince Hall & Mainstream interaction are popping out everywhere.  And the beautiful aspect of it all is that there is great appreciation and joy at this intermingling. Brotherly love and affection prevail and every moral and social virtue cements Brothers of different traditions.

The Beehive  reported recently the story of the Mainstream Grand Master of Michigan visiting a Prince Hall Lodge with many of his Michigan Brethren in “Bridging The Gap.” The latest example of this joyous cross visitation comes from a personal friend, Brother Tofique Fatehi from Mumbai, India. Brother Fatehi and I met on the Global Fraternal Network in the late 90s.  Soon, thereafter, Brother Fatehi journeyed to Massachusetts  to visit his son who is living here. When an opportunity to see the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team perform in Southern Maine arose, Tofique took the opportunity to accompany us and see US Mainstream Masonry.

Tofique returned this fall for another family visit and got in touch with me to see about visiting a Prince Hall Lodge in Massachusetts.  I turned him over to the capable hands of Worshipful Jim Bennette of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, another good friend who has a strong relationship with Massachusetts Prince Hall.

Tofique reports in the Global Fraternal Network newsletter:

While in Massachusetts I visited a PH Lodge in Boston. Bro. Fred Milliken (now in Texas) arranged for my introductions. I attended the Widow Son Lodge in Dorchester (South Boston).

PHA, Prince Hall Masonry, black mason

L to R – SW Otis Sams, WM Dexter McKenzie, Bro. Tofique Fatehi, JW Linus Eyong

Tofique reports that they rolled out the red carpet for him and he had a great time and was impressed by their ritual & knowledge.

All this goes to show that it is time now for all the old barriers to be taken down.  We are in the second decade of the 21st century and the manner in which different races and cultures have heretofore interacted is a thing of the past. The future brings us all closer together in brotherly love and affection.

So let us all do our part to see that the state of Freemasonry in the world opens up into a celebration of its diversity and a new age of the expression of what Freemasonry truly exemplifies.

Victor Marshall and Zeithlin Waters are Capped at Scottish Rite

Some old time Masons are learning the hard way that in 2011 we are very much in the Information Age.  The ability to take hurtful action and have nobody else notice is long gone. “Public Opinion,” that is the exposure that Freemason Information offered in this case and the resulting reaction by Masons across this great nation, has turned lemons into lemonade, a defeat into a victory.

Full story is here with pictures. Congratulations to Marshall & Waters!

Bridging The Gap

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

Brethren of West Virginia, Arkansas, even my own state of Texas and others – take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly.

Bridging the Gap

MW Fred Kaiser & Wor. Harry Weaver III

MW Fred Kaiser & Wor. Harry Weaver III

I have been a Brother of Redeemer Lodge #53 for nine years. Since my initiation, I have had the pleasure of visiting with Brothers from the “mainstream” lodges under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Michigan. During this time, I have made many, many great friends. One of these wonderful friends is a Brother by the name of Richard Mackie. Bro. Mackie is the liaison from the Grand Lodge of Michigan to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan. Bro. Mackie and I have remained in close contact throughout the years and he has attended many Redeemer functions and is an honorary member of Redeemer Lodge #53. When I was elected Junior Warden, Bro. Mackie informed me that he wanted to do something special when I become Worshipful Master. I didn’t think much of it then because it seemed as if that would take an eternity. I was elected Worshipful Master in December of 2010 and Bro. Mackie kept his promise.

In September of 2011, Bro. Mackie called me and asked me if I was prepared to do something special. He proceeded to inform me that he had spoken with his Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Fred Kaiser, who wanted to visit Redeemer. Of course I agreed, not knowing what I was really getting myself into. After a series of emails and phone conversations between Bro. Mackey and I, we decided that the Grand Master would attend our Master Mason degree on November 26, 2011. Bro. Mackie promised to get a guest list together and send it to me prior to the degree so that we could properly prepare. I really didn’t know what kind of number to expect so I waited patiently. I received an email from Bro. Mackie a few days prior to the degree stating that he had 29 guests confirmed. I was elated with this and moved forward with planning the repast to follow the degree.

From Labor To Refreshment, Redeemer #53

From Labor To Refreshment, Redeemer #53

On the evening of November 26, 2011, Redeemer Lodge made history. This day marks the first such occasion when a sitting Grand Master from the Grand Lodge of Michigan has ever sat in a tyled lodge under the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Michigan. It turns out that included in those 29 guests were the Grand Wardens along with several appointed Grand Lodge officers. While 29 guests RSVP’d, we ended up with about 60 Brothers from the Grand Lodge of Michigan and an additional 15 Brothers visiting from other PHA lodges in the jurisdiction visiting to witness the raising of Bro. David Robinson and Bro. Tom Robinson to the Sublime Degree.  This was truly a momentous occasion and I could never have imagined such an outcome. I am proud to have been the Worshipful Master for such an amazing event.  Redeemer was nearly flawless with the ritual work, as always but we were absolutely flawless in the spreading of Brotherly love and affection in fellowshipping with ALL of our Brethren. The Brothers that were raised had an awesome experience that they will never forget. Their journey began with them knowing that we are ALL Brothers, regardless of our skin color, political beliefs, religious beliefs or any other matter. We meet on the Level, act by the Plumb and part on the Square.

Redeemer Lodge #53, F & AM, PHA, MI

Redeemer Lodge #53, F & AM, PHA, MI

Bro. Harry Weaver, III
Worshipful Master
Redeemer Lodge #53, F&AM, PHA
Detroit, MI

Freemasonry and Fraternalism – call for papers

THIS IS AN UPDATE – due to scheduling issues, the date of the Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism has changed – it will take place on April 28, 2012. The call for papers has been extended to January 2, 2012.

CALL FOR PAPERS – Symposium on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.  National Heritage Museum, Lexington, Massachusetts Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism – Saturday, April 28, 2012

The National Heritage Museum will be holding its biannual symposium, Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism, on April 28, 2012, at the museum, in Lexington, Massachusetts. We are now seeking paper proposals for the symposium.

The National Heritage Museum is an American history museum founded and supported by Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. As the repository of one of the largest collections of American Masonic and fraternal objects, books and manuscripts in the United States, the Museum aims to foster new research on American fraternalism and to encourage the use of its scholarly resources.

The symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day. By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members. The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture. Diverse perspectives on this topic are sought; proposals are invited from a broad range of research areas, including history, material and visual culture, anthropology, sociology, literary studies and criticism, gender studies, political science, African American studies, art history, economics, or any combination of disciplines. Perspectives on and interpretations of all time periods are welcome.

Possible topics include:

  • Comparative studies of American fraternalism and European or other international forms of fraternalism
  • Prince Hall Freemasonry and other African-American fraternal groups
  • Ethnically- and religiously-based fraternal groups
  • Fraternal groups for women or teens
  • Role of fraternal groups in social movements
  • The material culture of Freemasonry and fraternalism
  • Anti-Masonry and anti-fraternal movements, issues and groups
  • Fraternal symbolism and ritual
  • The expression of Freemasonry and fraternalism through art, music, and literature
  • Approaches to Freemasonry – from disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or transnational perspectives; the historiography and methodology of the study of American fraternalism

Proposals should be for 30 minute research papers; the day’s schedule will allow for audience questions and feedback.

Proposal Format: Submit an abstract of 400 words or less with a resume or c.v. that is no more than two pages. Be sure to include full contact information (name, address, email, phone, affiliation).

Send proposals to: Aimee E. Newell, Ph.D., Director of Collections, National Heritage Museum, by email at or by mail to 33 Marrett Road, Lexington, MA 02421.

Deadline for proposals to be received is January 2, 2012. For more information about the National Heritage Museum, see For questions, contact Aimee E. Newell as above, or call 781-457-4144.

Dunedin Lodge (FL) Recognizes Dep. Todd Hoddinott as “Deputy of the Year”

Click on photo to enlarge

The Master of Dunedin Lodge, W:.Mike Palenik (right), congratulates Deputy Todd Hoddinott.
Looking on is the Deputy’s wife, Lisa.
Click on photo to enlarge.

 DUNEDIN, FL, USA (November 28, 2011) – As has become a tradition for the last seven years, Dunedin Masonic Lodge No. 192 recognized a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy for outstanding service to the community. The 2011 “Deputy of the Year” award was presented to Deputy Tom Hoddinott at a special dinner held at Kally-K’s Restaurant in Dunedin.  Making the presentation was W:.Ken Giesow, PM  of Dunedin Lodge. Also in attendance was Major Wayne Morris, Deputy Hoddinott’s supervisor, along with fellow officers from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, “Deputy Tom Hoddinott has been a Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy since July 1985. He started out in the Detention and Corrections Bureau and has served in various capacities with the agency including Patrol Operations and the Criminal Investigations Division where he worked in the Property Crimes Section assigned to the City of Dunedin. He is currently assigned to the Patrol Operations Bureau working out of the North District Station on Dayshift.”

On August 26, 2011 Deputy Hoddinott was on patrol in the City of Dunedin driving north on Pinehurst Road. Deputy Hoddinott noticed a suspicious vehicle backed into the driveway of a residence.  Upon investigation, he discovered and broke up a major marijuana farm being grown inside the residence.  Based on the Deputy’s intuition, coupled with his many years of experience, resulted in an excellent self-initiated criminal case being made. The male who burglarized the home was arrested for Residential Burglary and Violation of Probation and the owner of the house was arrested for felony Manufacturing/Cultivation of Marijuana. This subject was also currently on probation for a previous charge of Sale, Manufacture and Delivery of Marijuana. The equipment used to grow the marijuana was disabled and 33 marijuana plants were taken off the street. For this self-initiated act which contributed to a valuable law enforcement accomplishment, and for the outstanding work he does every day, Deputy Hoddinott was nominated to be Dunedin Lodge’s Deputy of the Year.

For his efforts, Dunedin Lodge gave Deputy Hoddinott a dinner in his honor, awarded him a plaque, and a gift of $100 which the Deputy immediately donated to the Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranch which helps to prevent delinquency and develop strong, lawful, resilient, and productive citizens who will make a positive contribution to our communities for years to come.

According to the Master of the Lodge, W:.Mike Palenik, PM “Dunedin Lodge is proud of our long tradition of supporting local law enforcement personnel. On behalf of the Lodge, we congratulate Deputy Hoddinott and thank him for his years of service and dedication. We are proud of the PCSO.”


What Is Killing Freemasonry

Freemasonry cannot serve two masters, the world and itself. The biggest mistake it has made is to listen to the whining attacks made by its detractors.  Freemasonry just benefits Freemasons they say as if they had some claim on what we are, what we do and what we say. Our critics have embarrassed us, claiming that we are an exclusive, snobbish, selfish group that exists exclusively for the betterment of its members and that we show so much favoritism for each other that the result is a discrimination of the rest of society.

Thus post Vietnam War Freemasonry changed the focus of the Craft. Some of the changes came right after WWII but the Vietnam War era marked the rapid decline in membership that swung the pendulum of modern day Freemasonry squarely into the camp of Masonic revisionism.

What that involved is taking Freemasonry from a contemplative, learning, value orientated society to one of action, action for the betterment of society as a whole. Freemasonry did this partially to appease its critics and partially to adopt the Shrine model of recruitment. But appeasement didn’t work for Chamberlain in dealing with Hitler and it hasn’t worked to appease our detractors. Our critics are as vocal as ever.  Meanwhile we have diluted and corrupted our beloved fraternity in order to try to please others or to take the easy way out in the area of growth.

The ancient mystery schools of Egypt, Greece and Rome, on which Freemasonry is modeled, did not try to be something to everybody. Rather they concentrated their efforts on improving their members through knowledge, instruction, brotherhood and spirituality.

Does that mean Freemasons should be a cloistered sect of Monks having no dealings with the outside world and no right to comment on anything civil or spiritual? The answer is No! We, as Freemasons, can get behind ideas but not policies. No marching in the streets or sponsorship of legislative bills for Freemasonry.  Instead we can seek to educate the public on the ideals of political freedom and democratic government, public education, religious freedom with the separation of church and state and the worthiness of the individual.  These were ideals imbued into Freemasonry from the Enlightenment from which Freemasonry arose.

Three main corruptions have come out of post Vietnam War Freemasonry.

  1. Increased power of Grand Lodges at the expense of local Lodges
  2. The marketing of Freemasonry
  3. Charity to all mankind

In the modern era Grand Lodges and Grand Masters have assumed powers never before granted to them. Some Grand Lodges are running wild squashing dissent, stifling creativity and purging the ranks of any and all who do not toe the line. In the process they have, in order to save the fraternity they tell us, foisted upon Freemasonry the evils of marketing Freemasonry which removes from Freemasonry the ability to practice Freemasonry and extensive Self Perpetuating Institutionalized giveaways to civil society that is bankrupting the fraternity.  The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is a prime example of a Grand Lodge so into Institutionalized charity and running a complex health system out of multiple locations that it has had to drastically increase Grand Lodge dues and assessments to its charted Lodges in order to pay for its excesses. See Massachusetts to Double Dues?

Do we have to beg the community to notice us and in the process try to market Freemasonry or do we create a better Order internally and let membership grow by word of mouth? Do we have to try to convince someone to become a Mason or do we create such a good product that the worthy uninitiated will come in large numbers knocking on our door of their own free will and accord? Do we have to try to save the world or can we be content with taking care of our own without being made to feel guilty? Do we exist to march in parades, raise funds for the Cancer Society or the Heart Fund and run CHIP programs for civil society or are we here for Brothers in need, our widows and orphans and scholarships for our young? Do we intend, forever, to let our critics portray us as a religion? Do we intend to let non Masons set the agenda for Master Masons? Can we learn how to survive as we downsize?

Plainly we are not an action society; we are a self improvement brotherhood. The road to sustainable growth is returning Freemasonry into a sharing Brotherhood who cares for itself and revives itself by doing a better job of inculcating its ideals, virtues and tenets into its membership, by decentralizing its governance, by stop trying to sell Freemasonry as one sells used cars and by leaving the saving of the world to others.

The Demoulin Catalog

DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Catalog

DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Catalog

The 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439 Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties; Paraphenalia and Costumes

Stunt Props, Tricks, Pranks, Practical Jokes, Humor, Magic, Goat Riding Carts, Paddling Machines, Electric Carpets and much, much, more!!!

Pictured at left is the cover of the 1930 edition of the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. catalog titled “Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and Costumes.”

We believe that this was the best and last “side degree” catalog the DeMoulin Bros. produced, as this company suffered the same fate that many businesses did with the onset of the Great Depression.  Today, they are one of the largest suppliers of marching band uniforms in the country.  In the broken economy of the 1930’s, the fraternalism items this company produced and sold were not considered a high priority on the “need or necessity” list of many Lodges.  Yet, the side degree specialties that they sold were the very items that increased Lodge membership, their donations to charities and interest in “Lodge Life” itself.  These side degrees added to the “degree of laughter” early Lodge Brethren engaged in when initiating new members!  We have reproduced the DeMoulin Catalog here in its entirety.  Pay particular attention to the various testimonials at the bottom on some of the below catalog pages.  These testimonials were sent in by the Woodmen and Odd Fellow Lodges who purchased this paraphernalia and they described how it worked for them.  (Note:  Although Freemasons joke about “Riding the Goat” with their new initiates they never engaged in this activity inside of any Masonic Lodge.)  In the end you’ll see that the wholesome fun… “light hazing,” endured by the candidates made them feel more apart of the Lodge and fostered Brotherly Love and Affection.

(Legal Notice:  Be advised that Phoenixmasonry, Inc. will not be held responsible for any accidental property damage, injury or loss of life due to any irresponsible manufacture or use of the items listed in or made as a replica shown in this catalog or pictured on this website.)

Now you can get a reprinted copy of this catalog when you purchase

The Extraordinary Catalog Of Peculiar Inventions, by Julia Suits

Table of Contents

Page 1…  About the DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Factory

Page 2… About their different catalogs

Page 3…  About their credentials

Page 4 & 5… The Catalog Index

Page 6… Policies and their Salesman

Page 7…  Terms and Conditions (Their Fine Print)

Page 8…  A Page of Suggestions

Page 9…  A Low-Down Buck  (Their latest goat)

Page 10…  The Rollicking Mustang Goat

Page 11… The Fuzzy Wonder Goat

Page 12…  The Bucking Goat

Page 13… Ferris Wheel Coaster Goat

Page 14… Whiz Bang Aeroplane

Page 15…  The Submarine

Page 16…  Trick Bottom Chair

Page 17…  Trick Chairs

Page 18…  Electric Chair

Page 19…  A Pointed Affair

Page 20…  Bomb Stunt

Page 21…  Electric Bench

Page 22…  The Trick Camera and Surprise Chair

Page 23…  The “Jag” Producer

Page 24…  The DeMoulin Trick Guns

Page 25…  Plate Breaking Stunt

Page 26…  Iron Test

Page 27…  Balloon Ascension

Page 28…   Trick Desk Phone

Page 29…  The Guillotine

Page 30…  DeMoulin’s Patent Lung Tester

Page 31…  Traitor’s Judgment Stand

Page 32…  Drinking the Goat’s Blood

Page 33…  Baby Doll

Page 34… Moral Athletics

Page 35…  Liquid Air Tank & Zig-Zag Road

Page 36… Tooth-Pulling Stunt

Page 37… Trick Mirror / Trick Comb & Brush

Page 38…  Portable Jump Spark Battery

Page 39…  Batteries and Magnetos

Page 40 & 41…  Electric Carpets / Runways / Carpet of Tacks

Page 42…  Stick-Em-Up

Page 43…  Fencing Contest

Page 44…  Tug O’ War

Page 45… Electric Spiked Pathway / Wooden Shoes / A Current Affair

Page 46…  Crossing the Swinging Bridge & The Rocky Road to Dublin

Page 47…  Electric Cane & Embalmed Meat or Bad Egg Test

Page 48…  The Pledge Altar

Page 49…  Sea Serpent

Page 50…  The Human Centipede or Night Mare

Page 51…  Family Skeleton Turned Loose and Electric Blanket

Page 52 & 53… Coffin Stunt or Funeral of Al. K. Hall

Page 54…  Baby Bouncer

Page 55…  Bird Cage

Page 56…  Electric Stretcher

Page 57…  Charleston Girls

Page 58…  The Electric Razor

Page 59…  Golfitis

Page 60…  The Glad Hand & Electric Wheel Barrow

Page 61… The Devil has ‘Em on the the Run

Page 62…  No Man’s Land

Page 63…  Electric Branding Iron

Page 64…  Electric Teeter Totter

Page 65…  Dog Show Stunt

Page 66…  An Electrified Smoke

Page 67…  The Molten Lead Test

Page 68…  Lifting and Spraying Machine & The Muscular Test

Page 69…  Treadmill & The Fountain of Youth

Page 70… Trick Loaded Smokes & Trick Coffee Urn

Page 71…  Spanker / Electric Spanker / Slap Sticks / Stuffed Clubs

Page 72…  The Striking Maul & Greased (?) Pole

Page 73…  Invisible Paddle Machine

Page 74…  Lifting and Spanking Machine

Page 75…  Home Brew

Page 76…  Knife Throwing Stunt

Page 77…  The Branding and Whirling Table

Page 78…  Rejuvenating Machine

Page 79…  Trip Through a Stormy Desert / Trilby Feet / Trilby Hands

Page 80…  Electric Tunnel

Page 81…  Trick Tray

Page 82…  Say It With Flowers

Page 83…  Hulu Hula Bull Dance

Page 84…  Jewish and Swiss Naval Battle

Page 85…  Big Busy Bertha

Page 86…  The Devil’s Slide

Page 87…  Upward, Onward, Downward

Page 88… Thrown of Honor

Page 89…  Sliding Stairs or the Seven Ages / Spikey Block

Page 90… Tunnel of Trouble / Electric Sandals / Roller Pathway

Page 91…  Pillow Fight & The Toss-Up

Page 92…  Pillory & Lycopodium Flash Torches

Page 93…  The Bucking Couch

Page 94… Pie Table

Page 95… Ice Cream Table

Page 96…  The Blarney Stone & Bleeding Test

Page 97…  Saw Mill & Electric Saw and Buck

Page 98…  All Balled Up

Page 99… Deceptive Glasses & Wind Machine

Page 100…  The Rickety Rackety / The Rooter / Telegraph Call and Whistle

Page 101 & 102…  Noise Makers

Page 103…  Improved Song-O-Phones

Page 104…  Table Covers / Crepe Ribbon / Banquet Plates / Wreaths / Plumes

Page 105…  Camp Fires / Wood Alcohol / Rubber Tubing / Tripods / Kettle / Napkins

Page 106…  Letter File / Dater / Rubber Stamp / Ink Pad / Revolver / Cartridges

Page 107…  Emblematic Knife / Burlesque Rituals / 300 Stunts / Parliamentary Rules

Page 108…  Hoodwinks

Page 109…  Masks

Page 110…  Ballot Boxes

Page 111…  Seals & Cases

Page 112…  Gavels / Gavel Block and Case / Spears

Page 113…  Novelties & Masquerade Goods

Page 114…  Theatrical Hair Goods

Page 115…  Masks, Beards & Wigs

Page 116… Beards and Wigs

Page 117…  Large Papier Mache Heads

Page 118… Large Papier Mache Human Heads

Page 119…  Large Papier Mache Animal Heads

Page 120…  Masks of Nations

Page 121…  Masks of Celebrities

Page 122…  Skeletons, Skulls, Etc.

Page 123… Smoking Camel & Cow Bells

Page 124…  Animals

Page 125 thru 130… Burlesque Costumes

Page 131 thru 134…  Burlesque Costumes

Page 135 thru 138…  Burlesque Costumes

Page 139 thru 142…  Race Costumes

Page 143 thru 146… Costumes

Page 147 thru 150… We Manufacture Uniforms

Page 151… Sashes for Marshal

Page 152 & 153…  Swords and Sword Belts

Page 154… Picnic and Parade Umbrellas

Page 155…  U. S. Flags / Bunting / Stands / Belts / Staffs

Pages 156… Banners

Page 157…  Badges

Page 158…  Lodge Furniture / Chairs / Altar and Pedestal

Page 159…  DeMoulin’s Portable Lodge Stereopticon

Page 160…  Gongs

Suggestions & Directions for Introducing and Using our Burlesque and Side Degree Paraphernalia

Pages I, II, III, IV, V

A Novel Way to Introduce the Goat – Trick or Surprise Chair – De Stink or Bad Egg Test – Courage Test, or Meat Test – The Trick Camera – The Devil’s Slide – The Cannon

Pages VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

Trick Guns – Back-Action Gun – Electric Branding – The Pledge Altar – The Molten Lead Test


The Spikey Stool – The Mutoscope – Trick Coffee Urn – Treadmill – The Guillotine – Trip Through a Stormy Desert – Moral Athletics – The Electric Wheel Barrow – Electric Carpet – The Tack Test


The Electric Carpet (another way) – The Electric Spiked Pathway – A Current Affair – Crossing The Swinging Bridge – Rocky Road to Dublin – Electric Razor – The Jag Producer – Invisible Paddle Machine – Improved Lifting and Spanking Machine – Lifting Machine – The Muscular Test – DeMoulin’s Patent Lung Tester


Traitor’s Judgment Stand – Tunnel of Trouble – Baby Doll – Striking Maul – “Upward, Onward, Downward” – The Wireless Trick Telephone – Pillow Fight – The Toss Up – Pillory – Throne of Honor – Liquid Air Tank – Zig Zag Road – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness – The Coin Test – Electric Fountain


Spanker – Trick Mirror – The Blarney Stone – Bleeding Test – Electric Saw and Buck – The Bucking Couch – The Saw Mill – Deceptive Beer of Wine Glass



Brought to you by Phoenix Masonry