Just 24 short days left in the Bicentennial year of Indiana Freemasonry!
As the year winds down and the holidays are upon us, the Library & Museum is making some final display arrangements for a new exhibit for next year’s Founders Day on January 12th. We will be debuting an incredible, one of a kind artifact from the Civil War period that is unlike any Masonic item you have ever encountered. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement!
Meanwhile, we have just added some welcome new lighting to our display and reading areas, making it more conducive to actually reading the books and documents in the collection while visiting and working the Library.
The Library & Museum will have very limited availability between now and Founders Day due to school hiatus of our intern Cody Hudson and members of our Board being out of town. Please contact us for access.
We’d like to thank Barry B. L. White for his recent contributions at the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana over the last few months. Dwight L. Smith’s enormous collection of photographs from the Indiana Freemason magazine archives and his personal files have needed organization and cataloguing for many years. Barry has been in the process of identifying and creating a master list of the hundreds of photos, and sorting the rows of filing cabinets. Thanks to his work, Smith’s files today are more accessible to researchers than ever before.
In addition, Barry has donated copies of two books of Indiana Masonic history:
Hartsville Lodge No. 547: From the Past To the Future
Steadfast Roots: A History of Freemasonry in Bartholomew County
Brother Barry B. L. White has been extraordinarily busy these past 16 years since he was raised a Master Mason in Hartsville Lodge No. 547, and it doesn’t appear that he intends to slow down. He holds plural memberships in Camon Lodge No. 343 and Hope Lodge No. 150.
For several years he served as Lodge Secretary for Hope Lodge No. 150, Camon Lodge No. 343 and Hartsville Lodge No. 547 at the same time. During this same period, he also served as acting Secretary of High Point Lodge No. 755, prior to the consolidation. He has also served the Grand Lodge as an Area Representative. His two honorary memberships in St. Johns Lodge No. 20 and Nashville Lodge No. 135 are in appreciation of his help and support of these Lodges over the years.
In addition to his history books, Brother White has written several training books, one for Secretaries and one for Lodge Officers, and is currently doing research for three additional books. The quarterly newsletter for Bartholomew County Lodges was his creation along with starting the Bartholomew County Past Masters Association.
Currently Brother White is developing a Masonic scavenger hunt and Masonic trading cards to use to improve attendance at stated meetings and Lodge work as well as bring the Bartholomew County Lodges closer together.
For his boundless dedication to Indiana Freemasonry, he was awarded the Order of Service to Masonry by the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana in May 2018.
Dwight L. Smith’s long out of print Goodly Heritage: 150 Years of Craft Freemasonry in Indiana (1968) is now available once again in a brand new hardback and an E-book edition from Lulu Press. This facsimile edition was authorized by the Grand Lodge of Indiana and produced by the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana.
The Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana has just acquired a helpful new volume for Indiana researchers. Mapping Indiana: Five Centuries of Treasures from the Indiana Historical Society is an oversized hardback published to coincide with Indiana’s Bicentennial year in 2016. It contains almost 100 antique maps culled from the Society’s archive of more than 1,500, and they illustrate the vast changes in Indiana’s population and development from the earliest French explorers in the wilderness, up through the early 21st century. State, county and city maps are presented from various periods, and there is a wealth of detail that can be gleaned from studying when and how our communities developed.
For researchers interested in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Christopher Hodapp has donated several important works of interest.
Morals & Dogma: Annotated Edition by Albert Pike; Arturo de Hoyos, 33, G.C., Grand Archivist and Grand Historian; Contributions and Glossary by Rex R. Hutchens, , 33, G.C., Past Grand Master; Foreword by Ronald A. Seale, 33, Sovereign Grand Commander.
First published in 1872 by the AASR- Southern Jurisdiction, Pike’s Morals and Dogma is one of the most insightful works ever prepared for Freemasonry. It is a collection of thirty-two essays which provide a rationale for the Scottish Rite degrees. It encompasses a study of Freemasonry, wise philosophy, ancient mysteries, mythology, ritual, and religion. It serves the useful purpose of putting Masonic morality and ethics within the context of the general society, and bids man to think large–to cast aside the petty concerns of everyday life and to improve ourselves.
This new edition includes the complete original text, but has been fully updated and improved. Approximately 4,000 notes reveal the original sources used by Pike, clarify passages, suggest further reading, and include cross-references. New “ready references” reveal scriptural sources. Profusely illustrated with many images from the original sources Pike had before him when he prepared the original edition.
The Spirit of Freemasonry was originally written in 1804 by Jean Doszedardski, a Polish member of French lodges in Paris, and eventually, New Orleans. It is filled with early descriptions of haut grades ritual, different customs, lodge practices, even table lodges. The translation and annotation was accomplished by Illus. Bro. Kamel Oussayef, who has worked for more than a dozen years at the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’s Masonic Museum and Library in Lexington. This one seems to have appeared with no fanfare whatsoever, which is astonishing given the workmanship put into reproducing its 520 pages.
The work is from the period when Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed and crowned himself Emperor of the French and also, among his many other self-proclaimed titles, “the protector of Freemasonry.” In return, the Masons of France founded Saint Napoleon Masonic Lodge in 1804, which became one the best attended lodges in Paris. This document came from that source.
The document contains 225 beautifully calligraphed pages and four symbolic drawings hand-painted with shimmering colors.
The book, and more particularly its footnotes, will cast a brighter light on Masonic texts, symbols, rituals, definitions, secret alphabets and calendars that up to now were thought to be difficult for the uninitiated to comprehend. Some of these writings are dissertations on the history or philosophy of humankind. Others are fascinating descriptions of old rituals that have since been transformed to suit the contemporary mind. Included is the protocol of a “Table Lodge”. It is clearly described and its strange origin and vocabulary are explained. To the initiated, “firing a cannon loaded with strong red powder” simply means “to drink a glass of red wine.” Its beautifully reproduced calligraphic pages also include a handwritten account of early French hauts grades up to the 25th degree—then considered the “highest” degrees developed in 1804, and what transformed eventually into the Scottish Rite here.
After 27 years of publication, the Scottish Rite Research Society has collected together every single issue of their outstanding quarterly newsletter, The Plumbline 1991-2016, into one complete hardbound, facsimile volume. Every page, every article, every photograph is reproduced, and it fills more than 660 pages of indexed gold. To call The Plumbline a “newsletter” does it a horrible disservice, as the substantive articles that have filled it all these years are NOT lighthearted announcements of meetings, elections, and event dates. There is WONDERFUL information to be found here, by many of the top Masonic authors and researchers of the last three decades – as well as outstanding brethren you may not have heard of before. Most of these papers were specially written for The Plumbline and not simply too short for the SRRS’s hard-backed, thicker cousin publication. And they are not just about the Scottish Rite, either. Over the years, The Plumbline has been edited by Pete Normand, S. Brent Morris, John Boettjer, Forrest Haggard, Jim Tresner, Michael Halleran, Robert M. Wolfarth, and today by Adam Kendall.
All books described above are for reference use in the Library only, and may not be removed. However, we are able to loan other books from the Collection under certain circumstances. Please contact the Director or one of our volunteers to request any library loans.
The Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana is soon making an invaluable historical asset available to researchers everywhere. We have completed digitally scanning all issues of the Indiana Freemason Magazine from 1923 through 2003, and are in the process of making over 30,000 pages available online through our website. Keep watching this space, as we will be publishing links to the archive here as soon as we have established a suitable search system.
During the height of its production, the Indiana Freemason was published monthly and featured articles, essays, photos, announcements of events, rule changes, transcripts of speeches, advertising, and much more. By the 1950s under the guidance of Dwight L. Smith, and with Wayne Guthrie (Indiana’s most popular syndicated newspaper columnist at the time), Charles R. Brown and other major contributors, the Indiana Freemasonbecame one of the most respected, popular and informative Masonic magazines in the country, with more subscribers out of state than among Hoosier Masons themselves. Such was its reputation and popularity that it even had a substantial number of overseas readers in an age long before the Internet permitted easy international communication.
In the years before the turn of the 21st century the magazine had several editors besides Dwight Smith, including Laurence Taylor, Doyle Oursler, Walter Worland, Alan Lisle Jr., and Roger VanGorden. In addition to Indiana’s own Masonic authors and contributors, the Freemason published articles from some of the luminaries of the 20th century Masonic world: H. L. Haywood, Carl Claudy, Joseph Fort Newton, Lowell Thomas, Conrad Hahn, Alphonse Cerza, Melvin M. Johnson, and countless others. There are articles on history, practices, ritual, symbolism, philosophy, religion, archeology, patriotism. And nearly every issue featured news from around the Masonic world outside of Indiana as trends and rule changes were debated throughout the fraternity. They are a treasure trove for members researching their own lodge’s past, and they are a genealogist’s dream.
The Indiana Freemason was printed during this period at the Indiana Masonic Home, and the on-site print shop there was originally designed as a vocational training program for the boys at the Home. The print shop was started with almost $4,000 (equivalent to nearly $60,000 today) in donations from Mystic Tie Lodge 398 in Indianapolis. The boys learned a trade, and the fraternity got a tremendous resource in return. By the 1950s, the print shop was staffed with paid employees, and it was a major operation that cranked out not just the magazine each month, but reams of books, pamphlets, forms, reports, stationary, and other paperwork that served the 185,000 Masons of Indiana at its height.
In addition to the Freemason magazine collection, we have also scanned several individual histories of lodges from the Library’s collection. These include: Warren 15; Terre Haute 19; Webb 24; Clinton 54; New Castle 81; Richmond 196; Lessing 464; Tippecanoe 492; Garfield 569; West Lafayette 742; and Tell City 823. These make up a fraction of our archive of lodge histories. In the course of preparing this massive scanning job, we have also uncovered several unpublished manuscripts of major importance to Indiana’s Masonic researchers and other historians, and we look forward to there being enough interest from readers in continuing this process. We are also hoping to permit the future online exploration of our objects in the Museum’s extensive collection. With this in mind, we are pursuing a partnership with the Indiana State Library and their Indiana Memory database to reach a wider audience, and to ensure the long-term online presence of this material in the ever-shifting Internet landscape.
Finally, Dwight Smith’s 1968 Grand Lodge history, Goodly Heritage, is now available online for the first time, and will be obtainable as a print-on-demand traditional book, as well. Smith’s indispensible volume has not been available in print or online since it sold out in the 1970s, and every Indiana Mason should have ready access to it. Be sure to keep checking in with our website as we update access information throughout the fall.
This mountain of Masonic education and history available online will be an indispensible resource for Masons and non-Masonic historians, academic researchers and genealogists. It was made possible in part by donations from lodges and individual Masons all over Indiana. Brethren have made both large and small donations to the MLMI this year, and we are deeply appreciative of everyone’s support. We would like to take this opportunity to especially thank the Prather York Rite bodies for their generous contribution in May.
When you are in Indianapolis, be sure to stop in and visit the Masonic Library and Museum in person on the 5th floor of the Grand Lodge’s headquarters in the Indianapolis Masonic Temple. We are open to the public, and our exhibits are always changing. Also, we are always in need of volunteers to act as guides to expand our hours, as well as to assist with projects. For more information about accessing the MLMI collection and our growing list of online resources, be sure to check the MLMI website at www.mlmindiana.organd also follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mlmindy
The Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana will be open and staffed during the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Indiana F&AM on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 15th and 16th, 2018. Please take the opportunity to visit and see our latest exhibits.
On display for a limited time: the Tippecanoe battle sword of Kentucky Grand Master Joseph Hamilton Daveiss (on loan from the Grand lodge of Kentucky AF&AM), and the silver officers’ jewels of Versailles Lodge No. 7 briefly stolen during the Civil War by Morgan’s Raiders, and returned by order of General John H. Morgan himself.
The Library and Museum will be open on Saturdays from now through March 24, 2018, without need for an appointment.
(One exception: The L&M will NOT be open on Saturday, February 10.)
The hours will be 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
Please plan to visit us to see our various special exhibits during this 200th Anniversary year of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, F&AM. These exhibits include the George Washington Masonic Bible, on loan to the L&M from Fredericksburg (Virginia) Lodge #4, AF&AM, which will be in the museum only through February 22.
The Indiana Masonic Library and Museum website is back on the air, but currently under reconstruction. Please pardon our dust as we start to provide a quality website for the edification of Freemasons (both in Indiana and in the world at large) and of the general public.