Masonic Library & Museum Association

Minutes from MLMA Meeting 2008

Iowa Masonic Library and Museum
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Oct. 23-26 2008



Marie Barnett (Virginia) ; Dick and Gayle Browning (Arkansas) ; Martin Cherry (London, England) ; Diane Clements (London, England) ; Jeffrey Croteau (Massachusetts) ; Jim Dufresne (Maine) ; James Graham (Arkansas) ; Bill Kepler (Minnesota) ; Val Korsniak (New Jersey) ; Bill and Jan Kreuger (Iowa) ; Larry Loyer (Minnesota) ; John Mahovsky (Missouri) ; Barbara and Fred Mechell (Texas) ; Aimee Newell (Massachusetts) ; Thomas Pinkerton (Minnesota) ; Dave Rambow (Minnesota) ; Philip and Marjorie Rose (Wisconsin) ; Brian Rountree (Manitoba, Canada) ; Mark Tabbert (GWMM in Alexandria, VA) ; Eric Trosdahl (Minnesota) ; Glenys Waldman (Pennsylvania).


Cynthia Alcorn (Massachusetts) ; Jay Hochberg (New Jersey) ; Ed Ralph (Toronto, Ontario, Canada).


The Invocation for the opening of the meeting on Thursday, October 24, was given by the Secretary, the Rev. Brian Rountree.


Motion by Jim Dufresne / Val Korsniak, that the minutes of the 2007 meeting be accepted as circulated. Carried.


1. Secretary – Brian Rountree

This has been a quiet year for me. There have been a few membership enquiries that I have answered and a couple of people asked about the conference—it is nice to see them here. As a result of the changeover in webmasters, I sent out a letter on 30 July 2008 that contained: information on that change and on the change in the listserv; a reminder about this conference; and a reminder about paying the 2008 dues (if not already done). The letter also included a request for contact information confirmation or update. As a result we know the following:

55 Institutional members
16 replied/confirmed membership
1 requested to be deleted
1 requested to be deleted due to business closure
24 Personal members
9 replied/confirmed membership
1 requested to be deleted due to age and health
25 Affiliated members [overseas members not contacted at this time] 5 replied/confirmed membership

As a member of the committee revising the list of Masonic Libraries and Museums for the Masonic Service Association, I must report that we have not achieved our goal this year. Perhaps next year!
I join the ranks of those who are pleased with the new website and look forward to its completion and to opportunities to provide content.

I thank Dick Browning for taking over the listserv—I believe that is one means of communication that we need to use more often. One of the respondents to the letter said that he does not get anything from the organization and does not see any reason to continue his membership. At some point in our meeting I hope we have the opportunity to discuss means of increasing contact with our members.

2. Treasurer -- Eric Trosdahl

The Treasurer handed out a financial report that indicates we are doing fine. [Members who wish to have a copy, please contact the Secretary].

3. Vice-President – Mark Tabbert

Mark addressed a number of items and concerns in his oral report.

a) As an employee of the George Washington Masonic Memorial he had raised some questions about the website earlier in the year. We do not know for sure if this precipitated the resignation of Dave Lettelier as webmaster and listserv moderator.

b) He has encouraged Adam Kendall and his San Francisco brethren to seriously consider hosting our 2009 meeting [see below]

c) He reminded us that our 2010 meeting is in the Washington area to celebrate the centenary of the George Washington Masonic Memorial.

d) He is a Director of the new Journal of the Masonic Society [Note: the list also includes MLMA members Fred G. Kleyn III, and Jay Hochberg].

e) MUC [Masonic Union Catalog] through OCLC

  • The staff at GWMM wondered how its membership in OCLC could benefit all Masonic libraries
  • A meeting was arranged for Sept. 19 with some of our members receiving invitations
  • The GWMM could help create a consortium of Masonic libraries – individual libraries could (for a fee) contribute their records to create a Masonic Union Catalog searchable through Worldcat
  • member libraries would be able to add to their catalogues a search feature for just MUC records in Worldcat

Jeff Croteau helped to explain the benefits of a consortium. We await information about the pricing structure.

f) ContentDM. Mark explained that the GWMM has a license for this software and individual Grand Lodges can obtain a copy from them to be used for their digitization projects. OCLC indicated interest in working with the GWMM in its project to get the Grand Lodge Proceedings digitized and online, beginning with the Grand Lodges of Washington State, Oklahoma and Massachusetts. Individual Grand Lodges will decide whether access to the Proceedings will be open or password protected.

4. President – Glenys Waldman

a) Glenys indicated that she has the archives for MLMA and will work on the organization’s history, aiming to be done for our 2010 meeting in Washington, D.C. A discussion was held that the archives could be then be placed at GWMM.

b) Glenys has only 2 copies left of the Margaret Jacob DVD from our 2007 conference. Members wanting one need to contact her and send payment to the Treasurer, Eric Trosdahl.

c) AMMLA in Europe [Association of Masonic Museums, Libraries and Archives] Glenys went to the annual meeting, held in Bucharest. Their website < > has a thesaurus of 100 Masonic words used in several languages. [Sec.—it appears to be inaccessible Nov 2008] The 2009 meeting will be in Bayreuth, Germany July 9-12.

d) The President announced that Adam Kendall has confirmed the offer to hold our 2009 meeting in the Oakland / San Francisco area.

e) While Dick Browning is the moderator for our Yahoo Group, the question has been raised about the need for an assistant moderator. Val Korsniak volunteered to assist Dick. [If you’re not on the list, please contact Dick Browning at and ask to be added. If you were on the previous list, you should have received a reminder by e-mail about signing up again]

Website Policy

There was a discussion on some questions from our new webmaster, Ed King.

One dealt with queries about appraisals. Mark Tabbert says he does do appraisals but he also refers people to specialists. Glenys Waldman shared the policy from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania:

"We cannot appraise, because as recipient of many such Masonic artifacts, we are legally an "interested party." Appraisals must be done by a "disinterested party" We, therefore, pay no attention to the market. Take it to a reputable antique dealer to learn more."

Further discussion suggested that it could also be recommended: Please either look on-line for the out-of-print departments of booksellers, or go to a reputable antiquarian bookseller. You may want to note that many old Masonic books are in wide circulation. Good luck with your endeavors.

Jeff Croteau indicated that he would send to Glenys Waldman a list of larger groups of certified appraisers.

There was a general discussion on what membership information should be included on the website. It was agreed that personal member information should not go past the name. Jim Dufresne recommended that we do not need too many names in the Past President area—perhaps the most recent two or three.

Eric Trosdahl pointed out that the original MLMA site needs a notice of re-direction and a note to the effect that will disappear in ___ 2009. Those of us who have links to the MLMA site should ensure that we go to our new one now.

MLMA Brochure

Dick Browning will have the brochure updated so that it can be placed in the website. That way it can be downloaded and copied without the need for us to prepare paper copies for conferences.

At this point the Thursday meeting adjourned and was re-convened on Friday.

Convention Display

Val Korsniak presented information on a show-style briefcase that unfolded to be a table-top display area. He also showed a Banner display, which sits on the floor and is pulled up to a cross piece. This could sit in the aisle at a trade show and drawn attention to the MLMA. It was decided that we just consider the table-top display for now.

The table-top display comes with two lights on the top and that is considered a good idea. The members agreed that professionally-created panels and images should be used, as well as a custom skirt to be placed around any table we use.

Motion: Jim Dufresne, Dick Browning—that we include on the display a map to show where our members are. Carried.

Motion: Dick Browning, Jim Dufresne—that the cost for the display and panels is not to exceed $1,000. Carried.

Val said he would aim to have the display ready for Masonic Week in February 2009. After some discussion about who would take care of/house the display between uses, Val offered his library [Mount Holly in New Jersey].

Masonic Gatherings

While there was discussion concerning our representation at various gatherings, there did not appear to be a consensus on who would be present/represent MLMA at Masonic Week in February Grand Masters+Grand Secretaries of North America conference Scottish Rite [N.J. and S.J.] annual meetings

Future MLMA Gatherings

2009 San Francisco, hosted by Adam Kendall and friends

2010 Washington, D.C. / Alexandria, Va. – hosted by Mark Tabbert and friends in celebration of the George Washington Masonic Memorial centenary

2011 Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada—hosted by Brian Rountree and the Grand Lodge of Manitoba

2012 Minnesota / St. Paul Lodge, hosted by Eric Trosdahl and friends

News from Overseas

Diane Clements of the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in London, England shared with the gathering what the organization has been doing recently.

  • she brought copies of an exhibition guide for us, “Women and Freemasonry”
  • 29-31 May 2009 will see the 2nd International Conference on the History of Freemasonry, in Edinburgh [check it out at ]—the first one in 2007 was a smashing success
  • The United Grand Lodge of England supports Sheffield University’s The Centre for Research into Freemasonry [found at ] – check out their website and sign up for their new eNewsletter
    • a current project involves digitizing the Periodicals holdings, approx. 5000 pages
    • the plan is that this will be available on the Library and Museum website in February 2009 [ found at ]
  • a second project involves working with the Centre at Sheffield to digitize and put online a copy of

Masonic records 1717-1894 by John Lane

  • further to this is the effort to bring Lane’s list up to date using the Grand Lodge’s Yearbooks
  • a similar work, Draffen's Scottish Masonic Records, is available for searching at [put Draffen into the Search box on the upper right of the page]

Several members inquired about the merger of Masonic Quarterly and Freemasonry Today in the fall of 2007. Now issued under the title of Freemasonry Today, it is available online [ ] but the print version is sent only to Masons in England—not even the overseas brethren get copies! There was concern about this because many of our MLMA libraries had subscribed to Freemasonry Today and would like to continue to do so, if at all possible.

Other News

James Graham indicated that he had attended the sessions of the Grand Lodge of California and shared with us information about an endeavor to create a Center for Freemasonry in partnership with UCLA. Margaret Jacob [who spoke to use last year] is to be the first Director of the center.

Mark Tabbert mentioned that the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma has endowed a Chair on Freemasonry at Oklahoma State University. He also mentioned that the 2011 ICHF conference will be held at the George Washington Masonic Memorial. That same year there will be a new Mount Vernon exhibit on George Washington.

Dick Browning mentioned that the newsletter [to be prepared by Jay Hochberg] would be good to have when the display goes anywhere. Copies can be downloaded from our website and printed. It informs others about what we do and so is a good promotional tool. So, attendees, please send notes to Jay < > with your notes of this conference so he can have news for the next issue of The Beehive.

We were introduced to Ryan Knight, a student in museum studies at the University of Iowa.

Motion: James Dufresne, Dick Browning, that we adjourn. Carried at 2 p.m. Friday October 25, 2008

Brian Rountree, Secretary <>
Masonic Library + Museum Association 560 Warsaw Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3L 0R4 Canada




Brian Rountree, Librarian Grand Lodge of Manitoba, Canada

Glenys Waldman, Librarian Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania

Eric J. Trosdahl