Masonic Library & Museum Association

Minutes from MLMA Meeting 2006

at the National Heritage Museum
and the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

in Lexington and Boston, Massachusetts

October 13-14, 2006

13 October  at the National Heritage Museum, Lexington

Attending: Cynthia Alcorn, Jill Aszling; Dick and Carol Bish, Dick Browning, Patrick Craddock, Donald Crews, Tim and Mary Louise Daley, Helaine Davis, John Dorner, Jim Dufresne, Jeff Fox, James Graham, Maureen Harper, Bill Kreuger, David Lettelier, Aimee Newell, Ed Ralph, Brian Rountree, Jerry Stotler, Mark Tabbert, Julie Triessl, Eric Trosdahl, Glenys Waldman, John Wallsteadt, Larissa and Robert Watkins. Guests: Sovereign Grand Commander John McNaughton, 33º; Dick Curtis, 33º;  Dick Burgess, Alan Foulds. 

Welcome by Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton, 33°

President Dick Browning called the meeting to order at 9:25

Invocation by Past President Jim Dufresne

Round-the-table introductions

Overview of meeting agenda: Helaine Davis for the National Heritage Museum; Cynthia Alcorn for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

Secretary’s report – Glenys Waldman, which included a report on attendance at Association of Masonic Museums, Libraries and Archives - Europe in Vienna (Brother Mozart’s 250th birthday) and Budapest (renovations of the Hungarian National Museum where the Masonic collection is housed).

Treasurer’s report – Eric Trosdahl

Motion to accept reports: seconded and carried.

President Dick Browning gave a report on the MLMA presentation at the Conference of Grand Masters, Deputy Grand Masters and Grand Secretaries in Nashville, TN in February 2006:  Mark Tabbert and Glenys Waldman, who had also attended, added comments. There was a discussion of use of Dick’s special conference brochure as the basis for reprinting the MLMA brochure.  How can we build on the foundation set at Conference? – public relations through Masonic publications e.g. Northern Light, Scottish Rite Journal? Mark added that he would be happy to support MLMA at those Conferences, as he will be there each year  – more tomorrow…

Question from Ed Ralph re return of Masonic material from Russia: Answered by Mark Tabbert: GLs and Orients, in effect,  had to buy them back. Mark saw those in G.O.F: boxes upon boxes - shown to him by Pierre Mollier.


1. The MLMAssn Website is a year old - Dave Lettelier:

  • 1000 hits/month, mostly membership queries.
  • 31 digitized books on site (esp. from University of  Michigan). There is a need to get books to the universities for digitizing
  • Dave asked for librarians’ picks of the month; for curators’ picks of the month (takes only a few minutes).
  • Who else searches? Mostly  .mils, edus, and  South American professionals.  Need to target them. Phoenixmasonry gets ca. 1 million hits/month! (Some are the same people as search MLMA).
  • Northern Light Editor Dick Curtis commented: Magazines/newspapers should be designed for electronic transmission, not just reproduction of hard copy.

2. Masonic Union Catalogue - Larissa Watkins and Dave Lettelier:  PowerPoint of questions and answers; reviewing what has been accomplished.   Motion to accept, endorse, and otherwise acclaim the Masonic Union Catalogue.  Seconded and carried unanimously.

3. Freemasonry’s Role on the Internet - Mark Tabbert Projects: database of every GL in what is now US; every lodge and its subsequent history; each deceased member (privacy issues!); digitize every Proceedings; union catalogue of artifacts. Proposed standard digitizing procedures and system to record and track members…GWMNM proposes master database for searching across jurisdictions.

Advantages: GWMNM jurisdictionally neutral, full-time IT and Librarian, works with Past Grand Masters thus at GL level – making it GMs’ projects. But MLMA has to be on board. OCLC agrees to pilot project…! GWMNM Wants to be the hub, not the dictator.

4. Thesaurus of Freemasonry – Don Crews – PowerPoint. This is more like a cataloguing authority file, not a multi-language glossary as AMMLA is preparing

Adjourned for lunch.  Reconvened at 1:40

5. “Museum Exhibits 101: Putting together Small Exhibits in Museums” – Jill Aszling, Maureen Harper, Aimee Newell.

Adjourned at 4:30. Those who wished went for a tour of AASR, NMJ headquarters with Dick Curtis, 33º, Editor of the Northern Light.   Dinner at the Library and Museum with a dessert presentation by Don Crews on the Da Vinci Code.


October 14, 2006  at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Boston

Called to order at 9:40 by President Dick Browning

Invocation by Past President Jim Dufresne

Cynthia Alcorn announced a few “housekeeping” details.

1. President Dick Browning presented a new membership certificate for our approval. Approved.  Suggestion to GW to mail it out with dues notices if possible.  Motion to buy a MLMA seal for new certificate by Dave Lettelier, seconded by James Graham. Carried.

2.  President Dick Browning on growing membership:

  • MLMA welcomed six new members because of the presentation at the Grand Master Conference in Nashville.  Some of them sent representatives to this meeting.
  • Discussion of writing “real” articles (not just press releases) on MLMA for Masonic publications.
  • Directory of Masonic Libraries and Museums published by MSA. Executive Director Dick Fletcher would like us to take on the project of updating it (telephoning, e-mailing…) MSA has listings of libraries, etc. MLMA should add our history.  Committee: GW, Brian Rountree, DB to talk to Dick Fletcher. GW write history?

3.  Commendation to Helaine Davis for The Beehive. Request for another. John Dorner to do next issue, with the help of Dave Lettelier.

4.  Mark Tabbert re International Conference on Freemasonry in Edinburgh, Scotland, May 25-June 1, 2007. A ten-day tour being arranged by GWMNM ca. $3300.  92 people. First of biennial conferences.

5. Ed Ralph: brainstorming on how to include research lodges. Class of membership for them? Assoc. member? Cf. Paul Bessel’s website. Get research lodges into our libraries! Encourage them to meet in library!

6. Patrick Craddock on how to get the smallest library started:  We can help. Mentoring program by volunteers near library needing help?  Care package with forms and walk-through.  A real manual! Consulting?  Ask Dave Lettelier & Mark Tabbert for forms to include in packet?  Send whole packet to Dave!  Patrick Craddock as representative and we’ll work on it in 2007. Include Masonic part, too (often a new Mason is in charge of library and/or museum…)!

7. Dick Bish on satellite libraries: MLMA as source and distributor of ideas.

  • Satellite library system: selected. Books (duplicate) sent, unless duplicates of what they already had. Communication network set up for talking and sharing books.  Must get volunteer lodges, who want to do the job: a dictatorship doesn’t work. Must be like a public library system!
  • Read proposal for database sharing… needs minimum data set  - which we are on the way to doing. Asked Dick  for a copy.

8. How to make Larissa’s MUC work easier?

  • Provide standard bibliographic information: Author (i.e. “main entry”), title, publisher, year of publication, and optionally - subject.

Motion to accept MUC as project Lettelier moved, Stotler, Tabbert seconded. Carried.

9. “Promo” by Secretary Waldman for next year’s (2007) meeting in Philadelphia, which will be held October  11-13.  More information to follow  in the Summer.

Adjourned at 12:12 pm.

Lunch at Grand Lodge.  Walked through Boston Common, past Capitol to Boston Athenaeum for (most interesting!) tour.  Then a stop in Granary Burying Ground (Boston’s third oldest graveyard) where Brother Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Brothers John Hancock and Paul Revere are buried.  Walked down to Faneuil Hall  (good talk by the park ranger there) and Quincy Market, ending with dinner at Durgin Park.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenys A. Waldman