John W. Boettjer, 33°, GC
Managing Editor, Scottish Rite Journal

The magazine's new format accents the fact that change is the tradition
of the
Scottish Rite Journal.

Covers of the New Age Magazine from 1904, its inaugural year (l.), and the latest issue of the Journal represent a century of Masonic publication.

The New Year brings a new format to the Journal! How do you like it? We want to know. This January-February issue is a trial bimonthly format for 2004. There will be six issues of 48-pages each during this year. Change is in the tradition of the magazine, and 2004 is a particularly appropriate time to take another step forward in the evolution of the magazine.

The first issue of the Journal's predecessor publication, the New Age Magazine, was in June 1904. This year we celebrate a century of regular jurisdiction-wide publication by the Supreme Council, 33°. In 1870, the Council began distributing an Official Bulletin, initially edited by Grand Commander Pike. "Published at intervals of not more than four months," it was "strictly official and historical." By 1904, however, Grand Commander James D. Richardson recommended and the Council approved "a literary monthly magazine" (price 15¢) with Masonic content, but with popular advertising and articles of interest to any reader as a major portion of the magazine.

1909 - Cover changes to blue; Square & Compasses added
1955 - Sample of longest lasting style change from 1910
1960 - Cover changes to purple; eagle and sphinxes added
1969 - First full-color cover recognizes first moon landing

 

1973 - Full-color covers become the new style
1990 - "Scottish Rite Journal" replaces "The New Age" as title
1991 - April - First issue devoted to the Rite's main philanthropy
2002 - Journal adopts a full-color format for every issue

Appropriate to its birth near the start of the new century, the publication was titled the New Age Magazine. Generally, it had a yellow cover (think National Geographic), with a colorful graphic, as shown above. Also, a cover with a Square and Compasses design was used for a few years, with the cover color changing from month to month. The magazine measured 61/2"x91/2", which is close to our new 2004 format of 81/4"x103/4". A yellow cover with a black-and-white photo of the House of the Temple or another Scottish Rite Temple then became standard until 1960 when the cover color was changed to purple and regularly featured a graphic of the House of the Temple framed between two pillars.

The smaller digest size was not adopted until January 1965, and the magazine's first full-color cover (November 1969) celebrated "EDWIN E. ALDRIN, JR., 32°, ON THE MOON." Occasional color covers followed and eventually became the standard. In January 1990, the magazine's title was changed to the Scottish Rite Journal. April 1991 was the first all-color issue. It was also the first issue devoted entirely to our flagship philanthropy, then called the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Program. Since 1991, the April issue has been devoted to the philanthropy and printed in full color. With the April 2002 philanthropy issue, the Scottish Rite Journal adopted full color on all pages of all issues. In 2004, rather than an annual all-philanthropy edition, materials in each issue will relate to the new name for our philanthropy, the RiteCare Childhood Language Program. This will sustain a continuing focus on our nationwide network of over 170 Scottish Rite clinics, centers, and programs.

The staff of the Scottish Rite Journal presented Grand Commander Seale with the first copy of the magazine in its new 2004 size and format. Ill. Seale personally thanked each of them for their enthusiastic, creative, and competent revamping of the publication. Pictured are Michael Noonan, desktop publisher; Dr. John Boettjer, GC, Managing Editor; Elizabeth Williams, desktop publisher; and SGC Seale.

Through the Journal's century of publication, paper types and finishes, font styles and column formats, graphics and illustrations, advertisement policies and editorial styles continued to evolve. Change is the magazine's tradition, and at this century point of the publication, with a new Grand Commander installed and with the Supreme Council's full support, January 2004 is an appropriate month to "begin again, again"-the theme of this issue's Grand Commander's message.

Other changes you may note are:

  • The type size of the text has changed from Minion 11 to Garamond 13, a larger, easier-to-read type. Also, there is more space between lines. Senior readers should appreciate these changes, and younger members are already used to larger type sizes and the looser layouts of most contemporary magazines.
  • No holds were barred in developing a fresh look to the magazine. Photos and illustrations are larger, and diverse graphic devices, made possible by advances in publication technology, will be used to their fullest potential.
  • The biographies and titles of authors are shortened to a few highlights, and all author contact information is appended to the end of each article, including e-mail address when available.
  • Editorial policy will be less formal and keep materials as brisk, concise, clear, and readable as possible.

The Supreme Council's official publication has always changed, and the new size and format is just one more step in that journey to keep the Scottish Rite Journal as the "Gold Standard" of Masonic publication it has been for a century. With the largest and widest readership (nearly 350,000 subscribers worldwide) of any Masonic magazine, the Journal has an obligation to keep up with the times and to serve you and Freemasonry in the best ways possible.

For instance, every issue of the Journal goes onto the Supreme Council's web site (www.srmason-sj.org) at the start of the publication month of the issue, and several years of back issues are archived on the web site for your review. Journals, past and present, are more accessible than ever.


John W. Boettjer
Valley of Alexandria, Va., received his Ph.D. in American Studies from The George Washington University, Wash., D.C., where he taught before a 15-year career teaching in the English Department of the Virginia Military Institute, which included one year as a Research Fellow at Harvard. Ill. Boettjer became Managing Editor of the Journal in 1989.