Vol. XXIII No. 6 — June 1945

For Your Information

For many years The Masonic Service Association has issued Digests on Masonic subjects; statistical studies, informational pamphlets, Masonic entertainments including games, contests and plays, etc.

These are kept in stock, and sold for the standard price of sixty cents each, single copies, fifty cents each plus postage in quantities of six or more, a price far less than their cost of making, storing and handling.

This material is now so great in extent that a descriptive list of what in these several lines is here available seems essential.

With but few exceptions these pamphlets are unique and contain information, education, and Masonic instruction to be obtained nowhere else.

Physically these Digests are of uniform size, eight and one half by eleven inches and similarly bound in blue paper covers, so that any selections from the list may be easily and uniformly bound for library use.

For clarity these documents are here set forth under nine classifications; (1) Education and Opinion; (2) Entertainment; (3) Finance and Charity; (4) General Masonic Information; (5) Historical; (6) Recognition; (7) Ritualistic; (8) Statistical, and (9) Freemasonry and The War.

Education and Opinion

Masonic Educational Methods is a symposium of the plans pursued by the forty-nine grand lodges. The edition is of 1943.

Masonic Libraries is an account of all Masonic Libraries conducted by grand lodges in the United States.

Masonic Principles discusses the “Declaration of Principles” first proposed at the Conference of Grand Masters in 1939 with a note of which grand lodges did and which did not adopt this statement as their own, and the Masonic Principles already set forth by the grand lodges as those to which they subscribe.

“What They Think” is a Digest of opinion of one hundred eighty-seven Masonic leaders on various Masonic subjects, covered in twenty-six specific questions. It is of especial interest now as showing the trend of Masonic thought a decade ago (1934).


The ten Masonic plays for lodges only, and one for a mixed audience, are largely used. The plays require no stage, the action taking place in a lodge room. The audience, therefore, is “part of the scenery.” These plays are in one, in two, in three acts, and require from thirty-five minutes to an hour and a half to put on.

The Short Talk Bulletin of January 1939, under the title “Doric lodge,” listed and described five of these plays. All are dramatic, interesting and some are “tear jerkers.” Their use has turned out large crowds. As each play has a serious message, although none of them are “preachy,” they form a method of entertainment and instruction which has won nation-wide popularity. Titles of the plays are (in order of their publication) “The Greatest of These”; “He That Believeth”; “Greater Love Hath No Man”; A Rose Upon the Altar; “Judge Not!”; “The Hearts of the Fathers”; “To Entertain Strangers”; “A Gift in Secret”; “Treasures of Darkness”; “He Which Is Accused.”

“. . . And Not Forsake Them,” the one act play for mixed audiences, requires four men and four women players, a stage and one setting of an interior.

Masonic Prize Contest is a series of twenty-five questions which can be answered with one or two words or a date. It is mimeographed and distributed to brethren in lodge, who write their answers and sign their papers, then exchange them for correction. The master of ceremonies then reads the questions and gives the correct answers, together with the reasons for them, thus affording Masonic instruction. The brother with the greatest number of correct answers wins the prize, which may be anything in the discretion of the lodge or generosity of a member.

Masonic Spelling and Defining Contests is a compilation of two hundred Masonic words, arranged in order of size, beginning with “urn” and ending with “hieroglyphically.” Each word is provided with a short definition. With this lodges stage a “Spelling Bee,” and also a “Defining Bee” in which ability to give the meaning, rather than the spelling of unusual Masonic words, is the test of skill.

“What's Your Score?” is a series of one hundred classified questions on Masonry, each provided with three incorrect and one correct answer. Brethren check on their copies what they believe to be the correct answer. Explanation at the end provides the necessary instruction. Entertainment chairmen do not, of course, use all the questions, but choose those which are most appealing to make a contest of any desired size.

Five Masonic Games contain instructions for playing games which require only pencil and paper, and is a modified informational prize contest in results.

Finance and Charity

Is the title both of this section and of a Digest setting forth the replies of forty-three grand lodges to sixty-four questions as to finances, charity, homes, salaries, etc. It was authentic when issued (1933) and is substantially correct in its account of plans and purposes as of today although some details have changed in the past twelve years.

Light on the N.P.D. Problem is a discussion of that vexed subject, still interesting and authoritative although the matter is far less acute today than during the Depression when the problem was vital (1933).

Masonic Homes, Orphanages, Hospitals, Sanitariums Etc., is a document setting forth the financial details of the operation of Masonic institutions of charity and relief of the forty-nine grand jurisdictions.

Taxation of Masonic Property is a discussion of the tax laws and their administration in the several states as they affect Masonic property.

General Information

Fourteen Digests on matters of importance to lodges and grand lodges appear under the titles:

Advisory and Executive Boards; Consolidation of lodges; Dimits, Affiliation and Visiting; “Doctrine of the Perfect Youth"; (physical perfection as a prerequisite for the degrees) Dual and Plural Membership; Electioneering, Circularizing and Politics; Grand Lodge Facts and Figures; Grand Lodge Honors; Honorary and Life Memberships; Liquor and Gambling; Officers, Representatives, Titles, Elections, etc., in Grand Lodges; Petitions for the Degrees (including a composite petition made of all lodge petitions); Forty-nine Petitions (facsimile reprints) Powers of Grand Masters; Trial Methods.

These are all the result of questionnaires, correspondence, research in codes, Proceedings, etc. Together they give a cross section of American grand lodges not otherwise to be had.


“Lest We Forget” and Historic Masonic Relics are both concerned with the precious possessions of the Craft in the United States. The first is a compilation of illustrations of the curiosities, relics, souvenirs and historic objects in the possession of lodges and grand lodges; the second is a description of all of these and many not illustrated. Each book is complete in itself, but together they form a picture of the precious things of Freemasonry in this country which is unforgettable, once seen and read.

The same may be said of Masonic Shrines which pictures the historic and venerated locations, buildings, monuments, etc., of American Freemasonry for the education of those to whom the past of the Craft has romantic appeal.

“From Whence Came We?” is one of the most fascinating documents ever issued for American Freemasons. R.W. George B. Clark of Colorado worked years on this extraordinary series of maps and diagrams, showing the sources of Freemasonry in this country and the genesis of every American grand lodge. It is the history of more than two hundred years set forth in maps and diagrams: far easier to “take” than written history it sticks in the memories of those to whom pictures are more real than words.

Great Masons of America is what its name implies; description of men who were great in Masonry rather than of famous men who happened to be Masons. All who reverence the stalwart leaders who have made the Craft of the United States what it is today will find inspiration in this Digest. Lodge Names was compiled for new lodges seeking a title. It is packed with interest and romance, for the nearly sixteen thousand lodges of the United States have been catholic indeed in their choice of names. The names are classified, the most popular names are listed, and there is humor and romance to be found here by those who look.

Famous American Lodges forth the record and the reputation of some of those lodges of the United States the fame of which for one reason or another has gone beyond the confines of their own grand lodges. To read it is to get a strong desire to travel and to visit in “foreign countries” in the United States.


Standards of Recognition sets forth what the several grand lodges require of grand lodges seeking recognition and an exchange of representatives.

Spurious Freemasonry in the United States is a study of clandestine Masonry which on more than one occasion and in several localities has raised its ugly head to afflict legitimate Freemasonry.

Mexican, Central and South American Grand Lodges is a Digest of what some of these organizations say of themselves, making out their own cases for recognition by American grand lodges.


Ancient Landmarks of Freemasonry is the account of those much disputed fundamentals of Masonic law, as adopted or undecided by American grand lodges. It attempts to settle no controversy as to what is and what is not a landmark, merely setting forth what the several grand lodges have decided or not decided in regard thereto.

The Bible on the Altar is a resume of the practices of the several grand lodges as to where the Bible is to be opened upon the altar in the several degrees. Those who do not know that there is any different plan from that with which they are familiar will be surprised!

Masonic Funeral Services is a Digest of all funeral ceremonies used by American grand lodges, with the duplications eliminated and the several parts grouped under appropriate headings. It was particularly designed for the use of ritual committees who seek to revise the services in use in their own grand lodges.

Ritualistic Proficiency contains the answers of American grand lodges to the questions as to what proficiency is required of what officers prior to their being permitted to confer degrees. The Digest also includes an account of “The North Dakota Plan” of increasing interest and skill in good rendition of ritual.

Who May Confer Degrees may be read in connection with Ritualistic Proficiency; it collates the information as to what grand lodges permit past masters, wardens and non-office holding brethren to confer degrees.


A forbidding title, but the statistics herein treated are not without great interest. Ages of Initiates is a series of “pie charts” graphically setting forth the ages of initiates in the twenty-two grand lodges which have such statistics available. It was compiled in a successful effort to disprove the too often made statement that young men no longer petition, that the average age of initiates is much higher than the facts prove.

Masonic and Civil Population is a study of the increase of Masons as contrasted with the increases in populations of the several states. It is more technical than many studies of a statistical nature prepared by the Association, but well repays study and provides a basis for discussion on such problems as to why the Masonic growth is so much greater, compared to civil population growth, in one state than in another, and related subjects.

Class Lodges in the United States is a delineation of one difference between lodges here and lodges in England. In the Mother country the “class” lodge, meaning one composed largely or wholly of one profession or trade is a commonplace; in America “class” lodges are the rare exception, not the rule.

Comparison Statistics, now in its seventh year of publication, tabulates and compares the vital statistics of Freemasonry; raised, affiliated, reinstated; died, suspended, demitted; loss and gain. These figures are here reduced to percentages, since only so may a comparison between grand lodges easily be made. It is issued yearly and increases in value and interest with each successive edition.

"Why Worry?” is another Digest of charts, showing the rise and fall of Masonic population as compared with the normal expectancy. It definitely proves that for three-fourths of the grand lodges the losses during the Depression did not bring the Masonic population below the point it would normally have been had there been no World War I greatly to increase initiations — hence the title.

The War and Freemasonry

Freemasonry After the War is a Digest of opinions of five hundred twenty-five Masonic leaders in the nation as to what Freemasonry might, could, should or would do after the war.

Masonic Welfare Work for the Armed Forces, published in 1940, is a document setting forth The Masonic Service Association plan for Masonic welfare work for the Armed Forces as then conceived and the actions of grand lodges relative to the problem. The Digest is ancient history now and listed here merely for the record; what was then proposed was far less in most particulars than what has been done. It should be read side by side with the Report of the Executive Commission for the current year.

The War Against Freemasonry is a powerful document compiled by M.W. Realf Ottesen, past grand master of Iowa, as a speaker’s handbook for those making appeals for funds for welfare work. It contains many ringing speeches and pronouncements by grand lodges on the subject of the totalitarian annihilation of organized Freemasonry in Europe.

War Service of American Grand Lodges sets forth the plans and accomplishments of the Grand Lodges of the United States in welfare work for the Armed Forces. It is a compilation of reports from Grand Secretaries, grand masters, chairmen of committees; some are original documents written for this Digest, others are reports from Proceedings. Grand lodges are here represented by their own accounts of their own works. It is currently interesting, authentic and will be historically valuable.

The great majority of these documents are in print. A few of the older studies are out of print, but are always reprinted when a demand comes. Together, these sixty-one brochures constitute a library of information on matters Masonic not to be found in any other source. They have been made possible, of course, only by the cooperation of grand lodges, supported by the unity of American Freemasonry as expressed in and by The Masonic Service Association.

The Masonic Service Association of North America