Centennial Celebration Moments # 27

The Tie That Binds (about the International DeMolay Cordon Magazine)

The publication of a magazine dedicated to DeMolay was the first sign of the growing strength of the Order. A newsletter/pamphlet called simply “The DeMolay” was published in 1919, and it was just for Kansas City Chapter, later known as the Mother Chapter of the World.  

 “The DeMolay Councilor” was first published in January of 1922.  Louis Lower, the first DeMolay, was on the first cover.  It measured 6-3/4” x 5”and contained 32 pages of stories about Chapters, jurisdictional Conclaves, and advertisements.  Members were charged 40-cents for an annual subscription.

The Great Depression of 1929 halted publication but it reappeared as “The DeMolay Cordon” in 1932 in tabloid (newspaper) format measuring 15-1/2” x 10-1/2.”  The subscription rate for 10 issues was $1.00.  In 1935 it changed to a 16-page magazine format, and cost 50-cents a year for 10 issues.  In 1938 publication was halted, but it began again in September of 1941 as the “International DeMolay Commentator” in a 16” tabloid format, with ten issues a year sent to all members, because it was sponsored by the International Fraternity House—the only organization authorized to create and sell DeMolay jewelry and regalia.  But by January of 1942, the United States was at war with Germany and Japan, and publication stopped from 1942 through 1949. 

In 1950 publication of “The DeMolay Cordon” resumed as a 6”x 9” magazine published bi-monthly, except during the summer.  In October of 1958 the format changed again to an 8-1/2” x 11” magazine format. It was in this era that the magazine reflected the growth and success of the Order at its best. 

The July 1969 52-page issue commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Order of DeMolay is one of the finest pieces of DeMolay print media ever published.  It is a review of the first 50 years of the order and includes timelines, photos of historic significance, a gallery of Famous DeMolays, an overview of the DeMolay awards and honors program, and includes an outline of the entire 50th Anniversary Celebration.

The Cordon continued to be published in that size until 1974, when it changed to a 5-1/2” x 8-1/2” magazine that was published monthly until 1980 when it went to bi-monthly issues and finally stopped in 1981

It returned in 1984 as a tabloid, then stopped and returned as a quarterly magazine and was sporadically published over the next 10 years. 

Budgetary issues kept it from being the unifying medium that it had once been, and with the advent of the internet, www.demolay.org has more or less filled the communication need.

1.) History books will tell the formal history of the Order, but history is written by news reporters who tell about what is happening WHEN it is happening. What do you think you could learn by reading old issues of the DeMolay national publication?

2.) Why might a printed publication be a better tool for communication and history than a website?

3.) Do you read any magazines or newspapers today on a regular basis?

4.) Where else, in DeMolay, have you been asked question number 3?