The Masonic library and Museum of Indiana has just acquired a new six-volume collection of the Masonic Service Association’s Short Talk Bulletins.
The MSA has published a Short Talk Bulletin virtually every month since 1923. They were conceived in pre-internet days as a partial answer to the howls from Masons back in the 1920s and before—right up to today—who begged for Masonic education at their lodge meetings. If Masons wouldn’t do research themselves, and grand lodges published lousy newsletters and magazines, so the thinking went, at the very least the little STB always offered a monthly dose of ready made, discussion-provoking material. Today, the entire set is a treasure trove of knowledge on hundreds of topics, presented in more than 1,000 concise articles.
Our old collection of the original STBs was incomplete and hadn’t been updated in over a decade. Additionally, they took up three sets of shelves and were not indexed. The entire collection through 2016 has been freshly edited, typeset, and indexed by S. Brent Morris, editor of the Scottish Rite Journal. This makes them far more useful and accessible than ever before.
Both of the elevators in the Indianapolis Masonic Temple are now fully operational, and the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana is once again accessible to anyone unable to use the steps. We apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced by the service interruption or prevented from visiting, and we hope you will visit us soon.
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.