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.
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.