"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Volume 26 of SRRS 'Heredom' Arriving Now


All week long, two-pound boxes of Masonic knowledge have been thumping onto front porches everywhere. Volume 26 of Heredom, the annual collection of papers from the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS), is now arriving for their members. 

Heredom is always one of the most eagerly anticipated Masonic publications every year, and this one is particularly packed with a fascinating lineup of research papers by some of the world's best brainboxes writing about the fraternity: Robert L.D. Cooper, David Stephenson, Ric Berman, Leif Endre Gutle, Pierre Mollier, Jeff Croteau and Marsha Keith Schuchard have all contributed to this latest volume. 

A special shoutout goes to Josef Wäges who, between his own article - Etienne Morin and the Santo-Domingo Manuscript - and others in the volume, wrote, edited, or translated nearly half of the book. I can barely write and understand plain English, so Joe is truly astonishing in his foreign language and translation prowess.



Heredom's indefatigable editor, S. Brent Morris, even let in an article by a Dummy this time. Brent gave me the opportunity to slightly enlarge the Indiana Freemasonry and the Ku Klux Klan chapter from my book Heritage Endures, and to illustrate it with photos, which I couldn't really do in my volume. The Grand Lodge of Indiana bicentennial deadline in 2018 couldn't move and I had to stop wherever I was in time for it to be ready that January. So I was grateful that my Heredom article could be slightly expanded.

Members of the SRRS recently received a complete bound index of all Heredom articles from the first twenty-five existing volumes. The challenge has always been that to reference prior papers you had to rely on your own fading memory of reading one in the past, then painstakingly opening every book and scanning the table of contents for it. Brent solved that with a comprehensive index, and he updates it annually.


I was extremely disappointed that he didn't include the entry "Dummy - see Hodapp, Christopher," but to quote the great philosopher Doris Day, "Que sera sera." Wisdom indeed.

Just as an aside, Brent has taken on huge indexing jobs for the fraternity. The most ambitious was his work to fully index almost a full century of Short Talk Bulletins for the Masonic Service Association when he edited the hard-bound collections of them. He also put together a bound edition of all issues of the SRRS' The Plumbline, also fully indexed. These are all goldmines for Masonic researchers, thanks to Brent's tackling this tedious and meticulous job.

Indexers are a special breed of person and get almost no recognition from anyone besides grateful authors of major reference works. It is a very specialized skill, and you never notice it unless you pick up a book that has no index at all. This is sadly all too common in self-published books that are all the rage now. Authors are usually too daunted (or exhausted and sick of their own manuscript) to do the task themselves, and too strapped for cash to be willing to pay someone else to do it. The consequence is a book that is far less useful to future readers and scholars. If you're writing a non-fiction book of any kind, set aside the money to pay a truly decent indexer. 

The Scottish Rite Research Society is an offshoot of the AASR-Southern Jurisdiction, but do not let that dissuade you from becoming a member if you are out of their territory. The articles in Heredom tend to favor the AASR-SJ's evolution and history, Pike-centric rituals, and culture, but not exclusively. Every volume always contains well-written and well-documented papers of interest to any Freemason, even if you aren't interested in the Scottish Rite. Along with a lineup of papers about the Scottish Rite and its precursors, the latest volume has Bob Cooper's history of Robert Burns; Ric Berman's telling of Masonry and the Portuguese Inquisition that lasted all the way up through the late 1700s (in case you thought it was just a medieval aberration); Marsha Keith Schuchard's search for ancient origins of "Antient" Masonry; plus my own article on Masons and the KKK. 

Plus, the SRRS has an extremely aggressive publication strategy with its bonus book program. You don't even need to be a Mason to join. 

Annual SRRS membership is $55 and includes the annual Heredom, the quarterly Plumbline, a bonus book or other item every year (!), plus a discount on books and items from their shop at the House of the Temple (also available online). To join, CLICK HERE.

3 comments:

  1. Any idea when Volume 26 will be available to brothers who aren't a member of the SRRS?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our extra copies of Heredom v26 have been sent go or store, wwww.scottishritestore.org. It soon should be listed in the online catalog. Keep checking!

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  2. Thanks for your kind words about Heredom and about my indexing efforts. The first volume of Heredom was ready to go to the printer some 27 years ago when I realized it wasn't indexed. I was being pressured by Grand Commander Fred Kleinknecht to get something out, but I decided it was worth the delay to index the volume. I'd never indexed before, but how hard could it be? Hah! Volume 1 had been laid out with WordPerfect, and it happened that WP had indexing tools, so a solution was in hand. With volume 10 all indexes were merged, and we've continued through volume 26. I think the index will make Heredom a uniquely powerful resource for future researchers. Volume 27 should be out by early spring '21, and it's index will be merged into the combined index soon thereafter.

    ReplyDelete

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