Jim Tresner, 33°, Grand Cross
Book Reviews Editor
Scottish Rite Journal

The November book review column is traditionally dedicated to winter holiday gifts for Masons. Many of us have Masonic friends we’d like to give a little gift to in order to celebrate the season. Even more of us would like to receive a little Masonic gift. You can always mark some items and leave this issue open on the table in hopes that spouse and children will tumble (albeit it’s probably safer to order them for yourself). Here, at any rate, are some goodies.

See ordering information at the end of the column.

Videotapes are favorite gifts, and we start off the "stocking stuffer" list with three very good ones.

A Tour of the House of the Temple is a must for any Scottish Rite Mason, and all other Masons will find it of real interest. It is a remarkable building, of course, and the 28-minute videotaped tour captures it well. I greatly enjoy visiting the House of the Temple, and I strongly recommend that you take a personal tour, but until you can, this video is a great substitute. Not only do you get to see part of the museum collections, but there are cameo appearances of some of the people whom you have seen in the Scottish Rite Journal: Grand Commander, C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°; Grand Executive Director, RADM W. Gene Sizemore, 33°, G.C., United States Navy (Ret.); Mrs. Joan K. Sansbury, Librarian of The Supreme Council; Dr. William L. Fox, 33°, Grand Archivist and Grand Historian; and Dr. John W. Boettjer, 33°, G.C., on whose shoulders falls the task of creating this magazine.

But this video isn’t an "ego piece." The building itself is the star, and star it does. It will make you proud to see this videotape—Masons have done some things superbly over the years, and this building is monumental Masonry at its best. The cost is $10.00, which includes shipping and handling. Order from The Supreme Council.

Our friends at Capstone Productions who created the above video are bringing out a series titled "Masonic Conversations." This is going to be a set to collect, and, like any collection, it’s easier to build it as it is released. The first in the series, available now, is George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The videotape features not only the buildings but also includes interviews with James C. Rees, 32°, Director of Historic Mount Vernon, and Ill. Donald M. Robey, 33°, Executive Secretary and Treasurer of the Memorial. They discuss how their organizations are promoting the heritage of George Washington as our first President and as a Mason. This is a good video to have in your own personal collection, and it makes a great Lodge, District, or Temple program. It is cleared for public access cable broadcast, as are all the videotapes listed in this column. The cost of the video is $20 + $5 shipping and handling. Order from Capstone Productions.

If you have ever wondered what virtually unlimited money and excellent taste can accomplish, you can find out in the videotaped Tour of the International Eastern Star Temple. Built as a private home (the sort of private home you build when you plan on entertaining the King of England, the Prince of Wales and other luminaries, and when you can afford to import materials and craftsmen from all over the world), the building was sold to the Eastern Star and makes a superb headquarters building. This is a great gift for OES members or for anyone interested in the history of American domestic architecture. The cost is $20 + $5 shipping and handling. Order from Capstone Productions.

The Symbolized Masonic Lord’s Prayer is a reproduction of an antique chart and is a perennial favorite among Masons. Originally printed in 1875, the colorful chart gives the text of the Lord’s Prayer embellished with 50 Masonic symbols. It is suitable for framing and as an heirloom. Bro. J. E. Stratton, 32°, K.C.C.H., who distributes the print, donates proceeds to the Knight Templar Eye Foundation, Scottish Rite Foundation, S.J., USA, and the North Carolina Masonic Foundation. Order from Bro. Stratton.

A Shameless Plug. Two audio cassettes are available from Tri-Square Productions, an organization in Oklahoma that produces Masonic education materials. Listening while driving is a fast and easy way to pick up information. Two audiotapes are currently available. Tales of the Craft is (I hope) comic, containing two Masonic stories from my own experience. The Journey of the Words: A History of Blue Lodge Ritual is by the well-known Masonic scholar Ill. Robert G. Davis, 33°, and traces the broad outlines of the development of the ritual. Tapes are $10 ea., s/h included. Order from Tri-Square.

Masonic Billfold. For those of us holding together a dilapidated billfold with rubber bands, a new one would be nice. This is a tri-fold leather wallet with spaces for credit cards, dues cards, etc. $25.00. Specify Blue Lodge emblem and either black or brown. Order catalogue number M11 from Kistner Catalogue.

A Pocket Knife is a necessity of life for many of us (I couldn’t make it through the day without mine), and a fine Swiss Army pocket knife with Masonic emblem are available from Macoy. The knife has a knife blade, file, scissors, screwdriver, toothpick, and tweezers. $24.95. Order catalogue number 8042 from the Macoy Catalogue.

A Chef’s Apron with the "Working Tools of the Knife and Fork Degree" design makes a perfect gift for the Brother who cooks for Masonic functions. $13. Order catalogue number 9010 from the Macoy Catalogue.

Place Mats make unusual gifts, and you can dine with (or on) famous Masons with these unusual place mats by Bro. Alois T. Slovacek, 32°, Valley of Santa Ana, California. He has collected hundreds of autographs of famous Masons (Frederick the Great, Voltaire, "Red" Grange, W. C. Fields, Norman Vincent Peale, etc.), reproduced them on large sheets of paper, and then laminated them in plastic. The collection is suitable for framing. There are hundreds of signatures altogether. For a set of four, order Masonic collection A,B,C & D. Cost for the set is $17, which includes shipping. Order from Bro. Slovacek.

13 Piece Tool Kit is a handy little gadget to keep in the car. The case has the Masonic emblem and contains a handle, a socket adapter, ¼", ½" 6mm, 8mm, & 10mm sockets, a hand drill, Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, tack remover, and punch. $8.95, Harry Klitzner Catalog, Order number 2138M.

Self-Inking Address Stamp lets you stamp your address on envelopes, books, etc, with either a Shrine or Blue Lodge emblem included in the impression. Up to four lines of copy with up to 21 characters and spaces per line. $9.95, Harry Klitzner Catalog Order 9770 for Shrine emblem; 9771 for Blue Lodge emblem.

Ordering Information:

The Supreme Council – Send check payable to "The Supreme Council" to: Office of the Grand Executive Director, 1733 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009–3103. Visa credit card orders only. Call 202–232–3579, ext. 36. Please state card number and expiration date.

Capstone Productions – write to Jackson Polk, Capstone Productions, Inc., P.O. Box 221466, El Paso, Texas, 79913

Stratton – antiqued prints available in two formats: 8" x 10" single copy $2.50; 12 copies at $28.00; 11" x 14" single copy at $3.50; 12 copies at $38.00. Add $2.00 S&H per order. Check payable to: J. E. Stratton. Mail to: Prayer, 7613 Soaring Free Lane, Charlotte, NC 28226–4439

Tri-Square Productions – Send checks payable to Tri-Square Productions to: Greg Smith, 1801 E. Broadway, Enid, Oklahoma 73701. Allow three weeks for delivery.

Kistner – Write to PO Box 2979, Chicago, Illinois 60690 or phone 312–236–0442 or fax 312–236–0445. MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express accepted. Add $4.95 shipping for first item, 10¢ for each additional item.

Macoy – Please write to 3011 Old Dumbarton Road, Richmond, Virginia 23228 or phone 1–800–637–4640 for Visa or MasterCard purchase. Add $4.95 shipping for orders up to $25, $5.95 for orders up to $50.

Alois Slovacek – write to P.O. Box 22069, San Francisco, CA 94122

Harry Klitzner – Write to 44 Warren Street, Providence, RI 02907. Orders less than $25 must be accompanied by check or money order. For orders of $25 or more, use MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express. Phone 1–800–621–0161 or fax 1–800–622–9802. Add $4.75 for shipping on orders up to $30, $6.00 for orders up to $50. 

Jim Tresner
is Director of the Masonic Leadership Institute and Editor of The Oklahoma Mason. A frequent contributor to the Scottish Rite Journal and its book review editor, Illustrious Brother Tresner is also a volunteer writer for The Oklahoma Scottish Rite Mason and a video script consultant for the National Masonic Renewal Committee. He is the Director of the Thirty-third Degree Conferral Team and Director of Work at the Guthrie Scottish Rite Temple in Guthrie, Oklahoma, as well as a life member of the Scottish Rite Research Society, author of the popular anecdotal biography Albert Pike, The Man Beyond the Monument, and a member of the steering committee of the Masonic Information Center. Ill. Tresner was awarded the Grand Cross, the Scottish Rite’s highest honor, during The Supreme Council’s October 1997 Biennial Session.