Monday, February 17, 2014

Keystone Crusader - 50 Years Ago This Month

One of the goals for our 90th Anniversary Year has been to publish the entire back catalog of the Keystone Crusader online in a digital format. The Keystone Crusader (sometimes called the Newsletter of the Associated Chapters of PA DeMolay) has been published since the early 1930s, with a break from 1942 to 1960. It recounts the history of PA DeMolay in a way that no other medium can just, such as newspapers recount the history of the towns they serve.

This project took a major step forward last week when Bro. Alex Rodriguez, State Senior Councilor, put in the time needed to scan and catalog every issue of the Key Cru that we have. Thanks to his hard work and dedication, we now have a digital copy of every issue of the Keystone Crusader in our possession. It is my goal to get these issues published online before Convention 2014 - and hopefully much sooner than that.

As I get time, I've been going through the issues and reading them, discovering some interesting historical pieces along the way. Today, I want to share with you what was happening in PA DeMolay 50 years ago this month - February of 1964. Let's take a look, page by page (you can click the image of the page to make it larger.

Starting with page one, you'll see the familiar title of the Keystone Crusader, which has been in use almost continuously since the early 1930's (except as noted above.)

The first headline you'll notice contains the name of three prominent PA DeMolay Chapters that are still active to this day - Westmoreland, Allentown, and Templar. These Chapters were being recognized for their placement in DeMolay International competitions. Templar was recognized as the No. 11 Chapter in DeMolay International, which at the time, was high honors (considering there were thousands of active DeMolay Chapters in the United States at the time.) Templar was also honored, along with Westmoreland and Allentown for their newsletters. Allentown continues to have a great newsletter today - I wonder how the Allentown's DeMolay Herald would compare with their Newsletter today?

On the second page, we find lots of small boxes of text with news about changes and updates to the PA DeMolay program. Interesting to me is the Letter from the Editor, which describes how the Keystone Crusader was a subscription publication and that anyone wishing to receive it would have to pay the subscription cost each year. That's certainly different than how we operate the Crusader now!

We also find a note about Chapters wanting to participate in the "State" Conclave for 1964. The annual meetings of PA DeMolay were referred to as Conclaves until the 1990's, when the more pragmatic word "Convention" was adopted. Of special note is all the competitions that were to be held at Convention that year. Imagine if all of our sports tournaments happened in one weekend at Convention!

On page three, we find an interesting article from the folks at Carlisle Chapter. I think this is especially pertinent now, as Carlisle Chapter has recently reemerged and is an active participant in PA DeMolay today. The Chapter was being recognized for performing a Father's Program, including a nice prayer that was printed here that was original included in a book by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. They noted that DeMolay does a great job of thanking our mothers, but we often overlook our fathers, who also deserve such recognition. Perhaps the folks from Carlisle can revive this program!

One other interesting note on this page - Chapters locate din college towns were being encouraged to invite college students to check out the Chapter. While this may be tough in today's market, it does remain an interesting idea for recruitment!
 Page four marks the last page of this issue, but there are still some good facts to be pulled. While Westmoreland may pride itself on being a Chapter that does a lot of visitations today, they were no where to be found in 1964. The leader at that time was from the Harrisburg area, the former West Shore Chapter. Also included in the list of strong visitations Chapters were Templar, Susquehanna, Beaver Valley, and Reading.

We can learn a lot about our past as DeMolays by just simply reading and understanding what has come before us. Often, we find that our best ideas are ones that were tried by those that have come before us, but were lost in the sands of time. I hope you've enjoyed this look back and I hope to do more of these articles in coming months, at least until I get the full back catalog posted online. Until then...

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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