Masonic Library & Museum Association

Minutes from MLMA Meeting 2002

October 24 - 26, 2002
Valley of Chicago, Scottish Rite Temple
915 North Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Thursday, October 24 

President Jim Dufresne called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

He asked all to kiss his ring, which was greeted with general merriment.  Thanks were expressed to Harry Strouse, our host, and his able cohorts at the Valley of Chicago, PGM of DeMolay Gregory Klemm and Lee Bradley; Salute to the Flag.  

Welcome to first-time attendees who then introduced themselves: Diane Clements, United Grand Lodge of England;  Robert Cooper, Grand Lodge of Scotland; Robert Watkins (husband of Larissa of the AASR, SJ); John Wallsteadt, Archivist, GL of Michigan, Grand Rapids.  This was followed by a round-the-table introduction and brief updating since the last meeting, from those who have attended before: Vice President Dick Browning, Cynthia Alcorn, Treasurer Mike Wells, Ed Ralph, Mark Tabbert, Robt. Cooper, Phil Rose, Gaylord Strand, Eric Trosdahl,  Dick & Carol Bish, Larissa Watkins, Marie Barnett, Helaine Davis, Bill Kreuger, Thomas Brunk, Cathy Bryant, John Wallsteadt, Harry Strouse, Jim Dufresne, Willard Wetzel, Secretary Glenys Waldman, President Jim Dufresne. Addresses are on the MLMA website.

Pres. Dufresne turned the meeting over, “Here come de Judge!” to  Harry Strouse, who welcomed us again, and made announcements: logistics and other “housekeeping.”

Sec’y Waldman introduced the new MLMA brochure: She moved a resolution of thanks to Wetzel-Waldman friend Emil Schultheisz, who refused money, for his designing and printing. Harry Strouse seconded. Carried. Sec’y will draft a letter of thanks for President Dufresne to sign. She also gave a report on Kent Walgren’s Freemasonry, Anti-Masonry and Illuminism in theUnited States, 1754-1850: a Bibliography in two volumes to be published by the American Antiquarian Society.  The Society hopes for publication in 2002; the cost will be $150.

Harry Strouse introduced James E. Durbin, immediate PGM of Illinois, and Milan Vydareny, Webmaster for the Valley of Chicago. Harry talked about his CD catalogue of the Scottish Rite library, archives, and museum, and presented each attendee with a personal copy.  Announced  Friday’s dinner reservations.  He also “officially” introduced Lee Bradley and Greg Klemm.

Mike Wells: introduced the book on Lincoln in Illinois, By Square and Compasses…, which is out of print. Offered to scan and send articles from Illinois Research Lodge’s index.

Helaine Davis: re Freemasonry on Both Sides of the Atlantic (ed. Wm. Weisberger), in which essays on many of our libraries and museums are presented. She spoke on the AASR, NJ’s exhibit of documents.

Mark Tabbert (AASR, NJ) re:  “Freemasons in the American Community,” including companion catalogue due for publication in August 2003.

Break @9:50

10:13: Harry Strouse introduced Gerald Carlton (originally a painter and decorator) of Roosevelt University, who gave a talk with a slide presentation and table display on the 1889, 17-story Auditorium Theatre Restoration. Explanation of samples on table; questions and answers.  [Summary – Sec’y Waldman’s notes – at end of these Minutes]


1:00 Harry Strouse reconvened us, and introduced Julie Naggs MA (art history), book and paper conservator, who spoke on how to choose which materials to fix, basic fixes, and how to store. Summary – Sec’y Waldman’s notes – at end of these Minutes.

Tours of the Valley of Chicago Scottish Rite building.


Play by The Scottish Rite Players: “Billy Morton’s Funeral”

Friday October 25

President Dufresne called the meeting to order at 9:07.

President Dufresne mentioned the problems of pronunciation of Masonic terms, and recommended having a pronouncing-dictionary in one’s library for reference, then he launched a discussion to interest us until equipment for the presentation could be set up:  “Why are you here?”  Answers:

  • England: Diane Cements:  to meet us and have also brief visits in Boston and Philadelphia. Keen on cooperation, sharing of information. Mentioned the Association of Masonic Museums of Europe, our counterpart association.
  • Scotland: Robert Cooper: As a member of MLMA, he is very concerned that museums and libraries are very underused resources.  How can they be used by the Fraternity? Groups like this can only benefit Fraternity.  Example: the exhibition in Tours [Summer 2002]: Museums of jurisdictions which fight like cats and dogs, could work together to put on such a fine exhibition. We, as library and museum professionals’ associations can transcend our differences.
  • Canada: Ed Ralph: suggested the creation of a new E-group to include European and Australian associations to increase dialogue.
  • Then around the table: e.g. Bill Kreuger: [Freemasonry and therefore its libraries and museums] suffer under own makeup and reputation for secrecy. Iowa, and Michigan (Cathy Bryant – Grand Rapids) not only allow public in, but allow them to borrow.  Jim Dufresne: NO secrets in Freemasonry. Need to set standards, and MLMA has done so. Jim (on behalf of those MLMA members who are “volunteers”) grateful for knowledge the professionals bring; professionals, for their part, can “vent”).

There ensued a great discussion of classification systems.

Presentation: Milan Vydareny Webmaster for the Valley of Chicago on “Pictures on the Web.”

Tip: Use good equipment, and be prepared to pay for it, but do not be extravagant.  Start with good pictures: get close-ups, compose well. The less cropping and blowing-up, the better.

Intermission: Organist Bill Aylesworth was practicing in the “Large Preceptory” (auditorium, hall), and was happy to have us listen. The Hook and Hastings (built in Boston in 1875) is the oldest still-playing organ in Chicago.

Greg Klemm, PGM of DeMolay, of the Valley of Chicago, presented a framed photo of a younger Harry Strouse to the older one, to the latter’s complete surprise.

Presentation: Fred Broecker on Webpages: Fred is one of the founders of, which hosts free webpages for Masons.

Tips: Thou shalt not make thy webpage too busy: those with disabilities have trouble with visual contrasts and lots of motion. Too many graphics tend to conflict with the audio programs used by the blind. Be careful re copyright: policies differ from country to country, so check with the author. Plagiarism is a serious sin.


Question re: “secure website.” Done from the server at the host’s end, with programs designed for such “e-commerce.” Re: visitor counters: often included in software or ask host.


1:00: Tours of the Newberry Library:

Historical orientation

10-floor climate-controlled bookstacks building, renovated reading areas


Business Meeting 

President Dufresne called the business meeting to order at 3:15 p.m., Friday, October 25.

He asked whether illness was an impediment to anyone’s attendance. To everyone’s knowledge, there were none: all were scheduling conflicts.

2001 Minutes: Mike Wells moved to accept the Minutes of 2001, with minor corrections to be made, and corrected version sent out. Harry Strouse seconded. Carried.

Treasurer’s report: Harry Strouse moved to accept. Phil Rose seconded. Carried.

Motion by Harry Strouse to strike members from rolls after 4 notices. Dick Browning seconded. Carried.

Discussion of membership of some individuals:  Non-payment of dues letter to go out from Secretary: one must pay within 30 days or be suspended. Motion by Mike Wells; Harry Strouse seconded. Carried.

MLMA Brochure: The Secretary was directed to send a letter, signed by the President, expressing appreciation to Emil Schultheisz for design and printing.

Cathy Bryant re Newsletter: Cathy to ask Al if he can continue as Editor. If not, the Bryants will let Officers know. If anyone wants to help or take over, let Bryants know. Mike Wells asked all to write for it.

Discussion of problem of inaccurate membership roster: mailings and e-mails. All here to e-mail Mike with correct contact information. “Irregulars” are not members because regular GLs possibly will not support MLMA. This led into a discussion of the problem of who can be a member of MLMA…

  • MLMA is not a jurisdiction, thus does not recognize.
  • How to grow MLMA? Each take a jurisdiction to contact?
  • Committee appointed to study issue of membership qualifications. Mark Tabbert, moved; Bill Kreuger seconded. Tabled, as both Tabbert and Kreuger withdrew motions. It was simply agreed to try to “grow the organization.”

MLMA Exhibit: Dick Browning says it works at Conference of Grand Masters, Deputy Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries.  Should it go to other conferences of Grand Lodges?  SE, NE, SW… No decision.

Helaine Davis re cataloguing: online, affiliating with an online cataloguing group like Mass.Cat, OCLC… discussion of MARC cataloguing – In her opinion, librariesmust standardize to MARC. The National Heritage Museum is on Web; UGLE, Iowa to be on Web next year!

Cynthia Alcorn mentioned a new Masonic bibliography: getting on (e-)mailing list from Library of Congress.

Jim Dufresne asked for help for setting up program for next year in Maine, especially from New Englanders.

Helaine Davis on recommended books: lists; Glenys Waldman told how to get to GLPa’s list online. We will look at these lists and maybe come up with a list that MLMA endorses.

Bill Kreuger re South Dakota books – all safely in Iowa.

Re Czech Republic disaster– the floods of August 2002.  They are getting their facility rehabilitated.  We must find out what they want and need.  Formal letter from President Dufresne Reiterating contents of Bill’s e-mail offering to help? Ask Czechs for a list, suggestions etc., when they know what they need. We can provide books in English only. Send through GL of Iowa? Jim Dufresne proposed offering help, Diane Clements and Bob Cooper agreed, and spoke also of rehab. (freeze drying, etc.).  Could we send $? No formal decisions made.

E-mails: Not to be insulted if no answer, means only that people have nothing more to contribute.

New Business:

Motion by Dick Bish for President to appoint a committee to study and recommend a standard classification by next year’s meeting. (Not necessary for established libraries to change). Phil Rose seconded. Carried. Volunteers: Harry Strouse (Chairman), Phil Rose, Dick Bish, Cynthia Alcorn, Helaine Davis.

Next Year in Portland, Maine! Sheraton South Portland Hotel $89/night 20 rooms for Wed 40 for others. October 23-25. Business meeting Friday morning. Di Millo’s on the waterfront.

2004 Detroit

2005 SJ

2006 Boston/Lexington

Other new suggestions and requests:

  • Diane Clements seeks trench art for exhibition in London at UGLE
  • Duplicates at Washington GL: tell Dick Bish before end of year.
  • Patron Saint for fun? St. Jerry?
  • Logo? Dick Browning’s old book as on brochure?
  • Helaine Davis: make a Census of Masonic buildings -  “Masonic siteseeing” added Willard Wetzel.

President Dufresne’s farewell appreciation – especially to “Co-President” Harry Strouse. To Greg Klemm, Lee Bradley, and Milan Vydareny go many thanks also.

Harry replied, with feeling, and asked again for suggestions for his library.

Benediction: Willard Wetzel, Chaplain for Life

Adjournment. 6:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenys A. Waldman, Secretary


These are GAW’s notes on each lecture

Please feel free to discard

Auditorium Theatre Restoration

Superb acoustics made it famous (250 feet from stage to balcony can hear a pin drop…). 4200 people could be seated. Carlton has been working on this building since 1954! (retired after 43 years: a whole career on one building!) Built and run by steam and horsepower. A complicated set of piers built to support weight right on the shore of Lake Michigan.  It was the first multi-purpose building (including later, Masonic lodge halls) and first to be wired originally for electricity. Generated own electric power. Had “Edison burners” – handblown – a.k.a. lightbulbs. It had gas added too, “Because electricity probably wouldn’t last.” Deluxe 400-rm hotel.  Masons, after huge procession, laid last stone – coping stone on 17th story of course!). Grover Cleveland had laid cornerstone. Ornamental plasterwork, gold leaf, stencils. Frank Lloyd Wright designed some capitals. Roosevelt College founded 1947 (Roosevelt College and Chicago Music College joined later to form Roosevelt University. Bought Auditorium Theatre for main building National State, and Chicago city Registers.  33 coats of paint removed…revealing stenciling, plasterwork, oil paintings… Honduras mahogany, bird’s- eye maple, birch, oak… Lots of stained and other leaded glass. Floors are terrazzo. Lots of scagliola (man-made marble). Work still going on… The Auditorium used for shows (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera…).


On Conservation, Julie Naggs says:


  • Common sense rules.
  • Common problems: brittleness, red rot (any leather) deterioration, broken hinges, spine breaking or missing, leaves missing, vandalism-mutilation
  • Tools: Clean hands; encapsulation; support paper items; no tape; if staples are necessary, use stainless steel; UV filters; framing: acid-free mats, boards, hinges plus good sealing.
  • Storage: keep down light, pollutants, temperature and humidity-controlled environment (67 degrees F, 47% humidity), bookends, not packed too tightly, upright. Away from fireplaces, outside walls, windows, and vents
  • Show and tell with repaired books from Valley of Chicago Library of Treatments (for which supplies are available from University Products, etc.):
  • Stay away from oiling and waxes… unless have lots of experience…
  • For red rot: “Cellugel”  from original klucel-g. It consolidates red rot = glues the red rot. It is put on with an ordinary applicator.
  • For acid paper: spray to neutralize.
  • For tears: heat-set tissue, used with tacking iron.

* Go to the Pa. Grand Lodge Website ( Type in "Masonic Scholar Certification." Click "Search." About half-way down the resulting page, it will say "Book List - Recommended readings." Click on it. Another list pops up from which one can choose basic topics and go on from there.