History of the Emblem | A Work of Art
DeMolay International sought to have a benefiting piece of art commissioned in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the founding of DeMolay. Such a piece was brought to reality in vibrant colors by renowned Midwest artist, Aaron Presler.
The piece was first unveiled at the 75th Anniversary Session the International Supreme Council of DeMolay, held in Kansas City, Missouri, in June 1994. It was met with a great deal of adoration for its great detail and fine work.
The original piece, now on permanent display at DeMolay International, was done in a variety of art mediums including colored pencil, charcoal, water color, and air brush. This unique piece depicts many subtleties involving the history of DeMolay and its founding by Dad Frank S. Land.
There are obvious items of remembrance in the portrait, including a likeness of Jacques DeMolay in Knightly Robes; a miniature portrait of Frank Marshall, author of the DeMolay rituals; a sketch of “Hi, Dad!”, a book referencing the history of DeMolay and biography of Dad Land; a sketch of the Chevalier medallion and cordon; a depiction of the Scottish Rite Temple where DeMolays first met; drawings of membership cards throughout the years; and a detail of the stained glass window depicting a young boy first kneeling at an altar and assuming his vows as a member of DeMolay.
The subtle images show Frank Land as a man devoted to his country, Masonry, and his love of art. The American Flag that blends into Dad Land’s suit coat illustrates his love of country. His love of Masonry is revealed by the Masonic emblems that can be found. Besides the prominent Square and Compass, one can locate Land’s Shrine lapel pin with five stars for his service as Imperial Potentate. Also, Dad Land is wearing his 33rd Degree Scottish Rite ring.
Perhaps the most subtle aspect of all can be picked up by DeMolay historians. The four DeMolay Emblems shown in the artwork each have a date above them. These dates show when the emblems were first created and when they were used by DeMolay as its official emblem. The date above the first emblem reads 1910. How could this be, when DeMolay wasn’t founded until 1919?
The answer can be found in Dad Land’s background. Dad Land loved art. In fact, he was a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute. Dad Land designed each of the official DeMolay emblems. 1910 is when Dad Land actually designed the first DeMolay emblem prior to even thinking about starting a club for boys. He did so as an art student. The incident is touched upon in the book “Hi, Dad” on pages 40 and 41.
“One evening, Frank arrived home in a state of eager excitement. He had just thought of a solution to a problem that had been in the back of his mind for a long time. His wife welcomed him at the door of their apartment to be surprised at his greeting of ‘Nell, where is the picture I painted a long time ago of a Heraldic Shield? You know, the one I drew in Art School …’
Nell thought for a while. ‘I believe I can find it, Frankie,’ she said, and after some delay, brought it into the living room. Frank looked at it from every angle, placed in on a chair to view if from a distance, and exclaimed, ‘it’s perfect. It is just what we need for our emblem … Look at it! There are even ten jewels surrounding the shield.’ He thought for a while. ‘It seems to me that the jewels should personify something and have greater meaning than just serving as ornaments.’
‘What do you suggest?’
Land seemed lost in his world of dream and finally answered, ‘I believe they should signify the first of our boys, Louie Lower and the other eight who came with him on that first night that now seems so long ago.’
‘But that is only nine,’ questioned Nell. ‘How about the tenth jewel?’
Slowly Frank turned to her, took her hand in his, and with deep emotion replied, ‘the tenth jewel will stand for me as the Founder of the group. I will always be proud of becoming in this way a part of the symbolic organization of DeMolay.’ Slowly he continued, ‘In the years to come, each of us will enter into the adventure beyond this life. Then the color of each jewel, in turn, can change from white to red. Years from now, there will be ten rubies to give testimonial that in the beginning there were ten who shared a dream together.’”
Today, there are no remaining pearls. All ten pearls have now changed to rubies at the request and wishes of Dad Land.
Another interesting fact about the first DeMolay emblem is that it
was only used for about eight or nine months in 1919 because
the boys had problems figuring out what the round object on top