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February 2020

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin in Action

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G.I. Joe Classic Collection Colonel Buzz Aldrin Astronaut in NASA Space Suit, 1999. Hasbro, China. Gift of Robert V. Monacelli, 2019.015. Julia Featheringill Photography.

Astronaut and Freemason Edwin Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr., was born in 1930 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. Aldrin, the lunar pilot for the 1969 Apollo 11 space mission was, with fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930-2012), one of the first humans—and one of the first Freemasons—to walk on the moon. American manufacturers made a number of wonderful commemorative items, including posters, plates, and toys, memorializing this historic event.  

In 1999 the Hasbro Toy Company released a special edition Buzz Aldrin action figure celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the moon landing. The Aldrin figure was part of the G.I. Joe: Classic Collection set produced by Hasbro in the late 1990s. 

Buzz Aldrin was initiated into Oak Park Lodge No. 864 in Alabama in 1955 and raised in Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Colorado in 1956. He is also a member of Clear Lake Lodge No. 1417 in Texas. 

This action figure complements the many other items we have related to Buzz Aldrin in the Library and Archives Buzz Aldrin ephemera collection.  

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Buzz Aldrin Masonic Ephemera Collection, 1969-1975. Gift of Ben B. Lipset. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MM 001.012.

This collection includes a photograph fraternally inscribed to Ben B. Lipset, and a photograph of Aldrin walking on the moon addressed to former Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, George Newbury (1895-1904).

Do you have any ephemera related to Freemasonry and NASA? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Lewis Carroll, Deputy Snarks, Hoo Hoos, and Las Vegas

A2003_011_001DS1_webOn November 16, 1955, the Concatenated Order of the Hoo Hoo's Office of the Snark of the Universe issued this State Deputy Snark appointment certificate to Vaughn H. McDowell (1913-1977), a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada. This is one of many fraternal certificates in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library's collection.

Established in Gurdon, Arkansas, on January 21, 1892, by six men with various connections to the lumber industry, the Concatenated Order of the Hoo Hoo is still around today. Now known as Hoo-Hoo International, the group's mission is to "achieve a united and progressive forest products industry through fraternal participation in its business, social and community programs so that there may result, Health, Happiness and Long Life to its members." The group is open to people eighteen years and older, "who are engaged in the forestry product industry or any person genuinely interested in supporting the purpose and aims of our order." The group's name may be unusual-sounding - maybe even silly - but they are a business-minded group that bills itself as the "Fraternal Order of the Forest Products Industry."

Hoo Hoo? Snark? Deputy Snark? Fraternal officer's titles can be grand, and sometimes even strange, but Snark of the Universe is perhaps in a category of its own. Where did these names come from?

According to the group's own history [PDF], two of the founders, William E. Barnes and Bolling Arthur Johnson, were responsible for the group's nonsensical names, many of which were directly inspired by a poem written by Lewis Carroll, who is perhaps best remembered as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Hoo-Hoo's own history reports that

W. E. Barns had just completed reading Lewis Carroll's "Hunting of the Snark" and suggested that the directors be given names of an "eerie and peculiar" nature like those used in the book. Hence, the names "snark", "bojum", "Sr. High Hoo-Hoo", "Jr. High Hoo-Hoo", and "bandersnatch" were chosen, although "jabberwock" later replaced "bandersnatch". The other names which are now affixed to officers (e.g. Scrivenoter, Arcanoper, Custocatian, and Gurdon) were the products of Johnson's imagination some days or weeks later.

In addition to "eerie and peculiar" titles, the group's logo is a black cat with its tail curved into the shape of a number 9, which can be seen on McDowell's certificate. The organization explains the choice of a black cat as its mascot in its own history:

Being a war upon conventionality, Hoo-Hoo was to be non-superstitious from the beginning. Therefore, when the discussion lent itself to adopting a mascot it seemed the black cat would be the critter extraordinaire due to its general association with bad luck. Also, having no history of its own, Hoo-Hoo would assume some other history, decidedly that of ancient Egyptians who worshipped the black cat as a deity. (Other Egyptian religious symbols and lore found its way into Hoo-Hoo in later years through the Osirian Cloister, an "upper chamber" of Hoo-Hoo consisting of the order's most dedicated workers.) In honor of the legendary nine lives of the cat, Johnson suggested that the number nine assume a high and lofty position within the makeup of Hoo-Hoo. There would be nine men on the Board of Directors. The order would hold its annual meeting on the ninth day of the ninth month beginning at nine minutes after nine. Annual dues would be 99 cents, and the initiation fee would be $9.99. The membership would never consist of more than 9,999 men.

Vaughn McDowell was a member of Reno Hoo-Hoo club No. 129, which served Reno and the surrounding area. McDowell moved to Nevada in 1950, first living in Reno and then, in 1954, moving to Las Vegas. In 1955, the Hoo Hoo's chief officer, the Snark of the Universe, appointed McDowell to the position of Deputy Snark (i.e. chief representative) of Nevada. McDowell was involved in the lumber industry. A 1952 Reno city directory lists him as being manager of the Home Lumber Company in that city. The 1954 Las Vegas city directory shows that McDowell was manager of M & T Builder's Supply.

You can take a closer look at McDowell's Deputy Snark certificate at the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives Digital Collections website.

Caption:

State Deputy Snark appointment certificate, 1955. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Gift of Anthony Ziagos, A2003/011/001.