Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Private Life of "Dad" Frank S. Land

The Private Life of "Dad" Frank S. Land
by "Dad" Thomas R. Labagh

I had the opportunity to visit the DeMolay Service and Leadership Center in January and had some time to snoop around one of the storage areas where uncatalogued archives are stored.  I came across something I had seen back in 1981 while I was serving on the staff at DeMolay Headquarters as the Director of Membership and Public Relations, and, quite frankly, had feared was lost among the moves and many house-cleanings over the past years.

It was a personal photo album of a Mr.John Andie.

You don't recognize his name or his face, do you?

I didn't think you would.

But as soon as I saw it I knew I had found something "priceless" for the DeMolay historian.  You see, John Andie was Frank S. Land's nephew, and he lived with Frank and Nell Land for a time in Kansas City, and, in particular around 1918-1923.  So, the photographs he had in his personal photo album are contemporaneous to the founding of the Order of DeMolay.

[Note: You can click on any photo in this blog to see a larger image.]

The album shows snippets of time in John Andie's life while living in the Kansas City area, but mostly, it shows a lot of his experience as an Army recruit at boot camp. But he also had some photos that are of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the Founder of the Order we share, and I was able to snap photos of the photos, since a scanner wasn't available.

I mentioned that I had seen this album before. While on the DeMolay International staff in 1979-1981, we had found a trunk of John Andie's personal property, stored in a barn behind DeMolay Headquarters at 201 East Armour Blvd. The photo album was in the trunk.

When were preparing a Second Printing of the 1970 book, "Hi, Dad!" by the Rev. Herbert Ewing Duncan, about the life of Frank S. Land, we used 3 pictures from his album to show early photos of Dad Land and his wife, Nell, whose photos never appeared in any DeMolay or Masonic publications. (Her sad story is told in "Hi Dad!"  Check it out!)

These pictures show an extended family picnic.

Here is the interior of the Land residence, showing Nell's piano and Christmas tree in 1919.

Here is the exterior of the Land residence, in 1920.
The house and the stone fencing still stands today.

This photo of the neighborhood from 1920 shows buildings that no longer exist.

This photo of the neighborhood shows Frank driving the family car.  You can see a multi-bay neighborhood garage in the background for those who had vehicles.

Frank and Nell with a German Shepherd that we can assume was a family pet.

This portrait shows some of the the traditional middle-European clothing Nell wore, reflecting her Polish heritage.

This unusual photo of a group of DeMolay leaders includes Frank Land (center) and Frank Marshall. (front, right).  I am not certain of the identities of the other two, but I believe the one standing in the back is EITHER Alexander G. Cochran, SGIG for Scottish Rite in Missiouri and the first Grand Master Councilor, 1921-1928, OR Frank I. Buckingham, the man who led the committee that established the first Obligatory Days.  The man to the far right is EITHER Dr. Zoro D. Clark, of Nebraska, OR John Glazier, who hired Land to be the Administrator and Secretary of the Scottish Rite Masons' Relief Committee and the Scottish Rite Employment Bureau in 1914.  Glazier was the second Grand Master Councilor, 1931-1936.  I am speculating on these, based on scant photographic evidence, and I would be glad for some help with this identification.

Interesting photos, but what do we learn from this glimpse into the past?

Well, it reminds us that Dad Land was a "regular guy" doing his job, and being a family man.

It helps us think of DeMolay starting small-- as a neighborhood club, that grew as the vision for the Order got bigger and clearer.

It suggests to us that there was a normalcy to Dad Land's life, before the growth took off and he began to travel across the country extensively, helping to start DeMolay in new jurisdictions every month.

It tells us that life was much simpler in 1919, no TV, no internet, few cars on the road, and that everything moved at a slower, more deliberate pace.

It is a reminder that the teachings of the Order of DeMolay grew out of this less-complicated setting, and yet, has survived and stayed relevant through all of the social and technological changes of the past 95 years.

That's about as up close and personal as we'll ever get to Dad Land, but then, it's a lot closer than we've been before.  I hope you have enjoyed this new look at the Founder of the Order of DeMolay.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, thanks for taking the time to get the pictures and sharing this with us. It is important to know our founder and the influences on our Order.