DeMolay

A Celebration of the Role of DeMolay International in the Lives of Young Men

In celebration of DeMolay International’s one hundredth anniversary, the staff of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library would like to congratulate the Order and recognize its commitment to shape young men of all nationalities into “leaders of character.” In this week’s post, we highlight this festive 1937 Halloween costume dance invitation addressed to Robert G. Milliken of Denver, Colorado.

A2019_008_001DS1Denver Chapter Halloween costume dance
invitation (obverse)
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A2019_008_001DS2

Denver Chapter Halloween costume dance
invitation (reverse)
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While little information has been discovered regarding the costume dance held at Denver’s Scottish Rite Temple, Milliken’s 2011 obituary details a life that exemplifies the seven cardinal virtues or the "basis of good character" taught by the Order.

If you happen to be in the metro Boston area over the summer, please consult our website for more information regarding the museum's current exhibitions, including the Library’s new exhibit that celebrates DeMolay’s storied history.

 


Captions

Denver Chapter Halloween costume dance invitation, 1937 October 29. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, MA 014.


A DeMolay Certificate Signed by Two Presidents

Doyle DeMolay certificate smallerOn October 14, 1922, a special ceremony took place in Washington, D.C. at the Scottish Rite’s Southern Jurisdiction’s headquarters building, known as the House of the Temple. Although Scottish Rite members attended, the gathering was, in fact, a DeMolay event. A uniformed degree team of twenty-eight boys from Kansas City Chapter—the original DeMolay chapter—had traveled from Missouri in order to institute Robert LeBruce Chapter of DeMolay, Washington D.C.’s second DeMolay chapter. The Kansas City contingent also included a number of adults, among them DeMolay’s founder Frank S. Land (1890-1959). Those present in the room included 107 boys chosen to receive the degrees, as well as the boys’ fathers. Members of the Southern Jurisdiction’s Supreme Council, who were already in town for their own meeting, also attended.

Among those receiving the two DeMolay degrees that evening was nineteen-year-old Robert Emmet Doyle, Jr. (1903-1988). His DeMolay certificate is pictured here. In anticipation of the institution of the chapter, members had unanimously elected Doyle as the first Master Councilor of the Robert LeBruce Chapter. The founding of the Robert LeBruce Chapter in 1921 was part of a larger trend. DeMolay experienced tremendous growth in its first few years. Although originally located only in Missouri, where it began, by 1922, after only three years in existence, DeMolay boasted chapters in nearly every U.S. state.

Doyle followed the tradition of many Masons, by having his certificate autographed by nearly thirty Masons hailing from California, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C. Among these signatures, those of two U.S. presidents, Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) and William H. Taft (1857-1930), stand out. Harding autographed and dated the certificate on April 24, 1922, while he was president. Because he was a Scottish Rite Mason, he added a “32°” after his name. Taft did not date his signature, but did include the name of his lodge, Kilwinning Lodge No. 356. All of the dated autographs are from 1922 and 1923, so it seems likely that Taft’s is also from around this time. In the early 1920s, the former president served as Chief Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Based in Washington, D.C., Doyle also collected signatures from various Scottish Rite Masons from the Southern Jurisdiction, including the long-serving Sovereign Grand Commander, John Cowles (1863-1954).

Just a few years after joining DeMolay, Doyle was raised a Master Mason in his father’s lodge, Lafayette Lodge No. 19. Doyle became a Scottish Rite Mason in the Southern Jurisdiction as part of a fifty-five member class upon which the 14th degree was conferred on October 28, 1924, at the Washington D.C.-based Mithras Lodge of Perfection No. 1. By the 1940s, Doyle had moved from Washington D.C. to California, where he lived until his death in 1988. His certificate, now in our collection, helps illustrate the deep connection between DeMolay and Scottish Rite Freemasonry.

Caption:
DeMolay certificate issued to Robert Emmet Doyle, Jr., 1922. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, Massachusetts, Museum Purchase, A2017/024/001.


Dancing DeMolays

A2009_gift_of_Paul_D_Fisher_scan A recent donation to the collection, this dance card came with a large gift of DeMolay material from Paul D. Fisher of Shillington, Pennsylvania.  It is a dance card used at a dance that was held by the Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay in 1931.  It has a leather cover, with a pencil hanging down from it on red string to match the red dye of the leather.  Why the pencil, you might ask? 

Formal dances of the late 19th and early 20th centuries required that women write in a dance card the name of each man that she was going to dance, next to the name of the particular dance listed in the program. Looking inside the program we can see that this dance card belonged to a woman who had reserved a dance with "Luke" and another, a waltz, with "Dad Cassel."  "Dad Cassel" was no doubt Carl L. Cassel, who was on the Advisory Council for the Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay.  He was called a "Dad Advisor" and must have been a Master Mason supervising the DeMolays in their organization and at their dance. 

The emblem for DeMolay is embossed in gold in the lower right hand corner of the cover of the dance card.  The knight imagery in the emblem alludes to Jacques DeMolay (ca. 1244-1314), the last Grand Master of the historical Knights Templar, who is the namesake of the Order of DeMolay, today known as DeMolay International.

The is 1931 dance card was made at the C. F. Heller Bindery in Reading, Pennsylvania.  This bindery also made World War II wallets which held food ration identification information.

Image Caption

Dance Card, Reading Chapter, Order of DeMolay, Pennsylvania, 1931. Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives, National Heritage Museum.  Gift of Paul D. Fisher, A2009/77/1.