Help Wanted

Help wanted is an occasional missive from a visitor to Freemason Information. Frequently they arrive in our Contact Us mail box and ask a specific or unique question about some aspect of Freemasonry.

This note is from a visitor to the website named LeiLani who makes an inquiry regarding a Masonic Document she found at a local yard sale.

She writes:

My husband and I bought a document at a yard sale recently, just wanting the frame. I glanced at the certificate and thought it looked cool, then promptly forgot about it. Two weeks later I remembered to take it out and look at it. It was a 32° Prince of the Royal Secret certificate from Ohio, November 1945. I’ve researched both the recipient and the signers – the recipient was John Docherty of Cleveland, OH. The signers include Samuel H Baynard Jr., Melvin M Johnson and Louis H. Wieber, all 33°.

I’ve been able to track down comparable documents with one exception: Dr. Docherty’s photo is in an oval to the right side of the certificate. I’ve only seen one other example where that was the case. Do you have any idea what significance, if any, the photo inset makes on the document? Does it signify a copy, or something about the recipient’s social status?

I was able to decipher all but one of the names on this document and they were all significant personas in their time frame, with Baynard and Johnson playing key roles in the Freemasons during the first half of the 20th century. I’ve searched every term I can think of on Google and drawing a blank. By the way, I offered to give the certificate to the Freemasons’ group where the certificate originated and got zero response, so now it’s just tracking down the details for my own sake.

As a crowd-sourced site, feel free to respond to LeiLani in the comments below.

Posted in News and tagged .

A devoted student of the Western Mystery Traditions, Greg is a firm believer in the Masonic connections to the Hermetic traditions of antiquity, its evolution through the ages and into its present configuration as the antecedent to all contemporary esoteric and occult traditions. He is a self-called searcher for that which was lost, a Hermetic Hermit and a believer in “that which is above is so too below.” Read more about Greg Stewart.


  1. This may be a good place to start…. They have a pretty extensive library and they will
    be happy to research it for you. Cheers —-Mongo

    Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite
    Valley of Cleveland
    3615 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, Ohio 44115-2527
    Phone (216) 432-2370
    Fax (216) 391-3159

  2. I’m a lttle surprised that someone from the Masonic Scottish Rite in Cleveland didn’t respond to your unquiet – but it’s possibly because every Scottish Rite 32°Mason receives a certificate very similar to the one you describe – so it’s not a rare item. None-the-less your unquiet should have been responded to. Anyway – another respondant provided an excellent research source so I won’t expound upon that.

  3. I’m a 15 year 32′ of the SR in the Valley of Cleveland, so somebody from AASR Valley of Cleveland did respond. I’ve forwarded her request to the Valley Secretary, so hopefully she’ll have an answer shortly. Cheers, Mongo

  4. I am the Secretary of the Scottish Rite for the Valley of Cleveland. This is a certificate of membership received when the Mason joined the Valley of Cleveland. The insert photo was done for each member joining at that time. Today it is a very nice certificate but there are no longer photos. The certificate is signed usually by the Valley Secretary and Commander-in-Chief as well as the General Grand Secretary of Supreme Council and the Sovereign Grand Commander. That is still the case.

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