OTIS C. WHITE 1874-1957
Deputy Grand Master, 1928
HALL DEDICATION, DEDHAM, JANUARY 1928
From Proceedings, Page 1928-6:
This evening marks the successful culmination of the hopes and ambitions of the Masonic Fraternity in this community, the Dedication of this beautiful new Temple in accordance with ancient form and usage, and its approval and acceptance for the purposes of Masonry by the supreme governing body, the Grand Lodge. It is eminently fitting and proper that these ceremonies should take this ancient form of expression, for the purposes to which we have so solemnly consecrated this edifice are as old as the records of civilized man. You have erected a building symbolizing the fundamental morals and precepts upon which civilization itself is based and endures. Throughout the ages mankind has experienced an all-impelling impulse to seek expression, through inanimate objects, of the spiritual essentials of his being — of his reverence for Supreme Intelligence, the Author of his existence, the Ruler of his destiny. To such spiritual urge mankind, so far back as history records, has responded by the building of temples, tabernacles, cathedrals, and churches, hallowed by Divine inspiration and consecrated to the teaching and promulgation of godly morals and tenets.
For such reasons and for such purposes has Masonry built its Temples, differing from other consecrated structures only in the very broadness of the ideals in which they are conceived, for in their building there is no fundamental consideration of sect, religious dogmas, or creed; the precepts of our "Ancient Landmarks," universally acceptable to god-fearing men, are the actuating motives. Masonry illustrates its teachings by symbols and "The Temple" is the all-embracing symbol of our faith. "There's nothing ill can dwell in such a temple; if the ill spirit have so fair a house, good things will dwell within it."
In the building of this edifice, so well appointed and of such dignified proportions, you Brethren of Constellation Lodge have been actuated primarily by the spirit «>f our Masonic forefathers. Von have been impelled by the laudable desire for a sanctuary, a home of your very own. You have accomplished your desires in a manner highly creditable to yourselves and to the Craft at large. To a higher degree, therefore, are you now equipped to foster the teachings of Masonry and to spread ils beneficences throughout the community which yon serve. The degree of success which will be attained by your enterprise will be measured by your future conduct.
You have built this Temple of Masonry conspicuously on a public thoroughfare in this busy community, In so doing, my Brethren, you must have appreciated the responsibility you have assumed. You have erected a monument plainly in evidence to all the public — to the tenets and principles of your profession as Masons. The attention of your fellow-citizens will he the more sharply focussed upon you as a constant reminder that you must assiduously practice what you preach. Believing that you are fully cognizant of the new responsibility you have thus acquired, the Fraternity at large has full confidence of your future success.
Experience — that great teacher — has shown that there are many Brethren well-grounded in Masonic principles and skilled in their profession as Masons. With equal regard for the truth, she has also disclosed that there are others within our membership who, most unfortunately, are not so well acquainted with our aims and purposes. Men do not react alike to moral teachings. To some is given, as a birthright, a quick perception and ready aptitude for the spiritual side of life; to others, truth unfolds more gradually. Upon the well-informed, upon the Brethren who endeavor to practice out of the Lodge the great moral duties which are inculcated in it, the Fraternity relies for its guidance and for its strict adherence to a true and unchangeable course as laid down by our age-old precepts. As it is beyond the power of any man to change the laws of Nature, so is it beyond the power of any man to change Masonry Itself, for Masonry rests upon Divine law. But it is possible, yes, too frequently the actuality for Brethren to misinterpret and misapply Masonic teachings, oven to fail to understand them. A wider conception of the true aims and purposes of Masonry is the urgent need of the Fraternity today, in plain words, a better understanding of what it is all about and what it endeavors to do and does accomplish. The necessity for a more liberal Masonic education throughout our membership, and particularly for our candidates, is clearly indicated. With the conveniences and appointments which this beautiful new edifice of yours affords, you have an exceptional opportunity for the promotion of educational programs, of giving extra-ritualistic instruction in Masonry to your members and to your candidates, ever bear ing in remembrance thai Masonry is not practiced in the Lodge-room — it is taught there. Truly, indeed, has the dedication of this Temple consecrated it to the education and enlightenment of the Craft, and such, we know, must be your understanding of the purport of this important occasion.
In closing, let me stress one attribute of the truly Masonic character which the building of a Temple seems particularly to emphasize — the virtue of "Toleration." There is no room for bigotry in Masonry. Although, al times, we may not and cannot agree with the opinions and beliefs of certain of our fellow-men, yet, if those opinions and beliefs are founded on sincerity, if convictions, even antagonistic, are due to misunderstanding, the contingency of birth, or the fortunes of environment, then, clearly it is our duty as Masons to exercise a spirit of toleration which, after all. is but a manifestation of charity to all mankind. To quote the wise philosophers, — "There is only one religion, though a hundred versions of it." "The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the diverse liveries they wore here made them strangers." In what you do or say, then, he at least tolerant of the honest opinions of you? fellow-men, even though they differ materially from yours — for of such fibre are patriots made.
In the absence of the Grand Master, I extend the congratulations of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts lo the Master, Wardens, Officers, and Members of Constellation Lodge. We commend your zeal and sincerely hope it will meet with the most ample recompense. May this Temple always be the happy resort of reverence, virtue, and benevolence, and may it long endure as a monument of your fidelity to Masonry.
CORNERSTONE LAYING, NEWBURYPORT, JUNE 1928
From Proceedings, Page 1928-170:
My Brethren and Friends:
You have assembled here to take part in and to witness a ceremony of venerable origin; a ceremony banded down from the fathers of many generations of men. That ceremony has now been completed, with due and careful regard for ancient traditions. The corner-stone of the edifice, soon to be reared upon these premises, has been "truly laid," the foundation is in place, and the sponsors of this new enterprise look eagerly forward to its completion, to the day on which they shall experience the realization of their aspirations.
The occasion is truly one of deep significance and gives rise to serious thoughts in those who will but pause for reflection. Just how remote in the mists of antiquity rests the origin of the custom of laying corner-stones with attendant ceremonies, no man knows. There is evidence from which we may conjecture that it is almost, if not quite, as old as recorded history itself. We have reason to surmise that the custom may have originated when man first began to erect his shelters and edifices on firm and enduring foundations. There is an existing record of such a ceremony participated in by King Thotmes III. about 1600 years before Christ. An excavation in 1853 disclosed a corner-stone, enclosing a box and contents, with an inscription showing it to have been laid by King Sargon of Assyria, some Slid years before Christ. We thus have actual proof of the great antiquity of the custom of laying corner-stones.
As to the form of the ceremonials attending the laying of ancient corner-stones, we can be guided only by tradition. The ceremonies which you have just witnessed are substantially the same as those recorded as performed by the Grand Master of Masons of Scotland on September 13, 1753, and precedent for the ceremonials then used goes back to the time of King Henry the Seventh, who presided as Grand Master, on June 24, 1502, in the laying of the foundation stone of the Chapel bearing his name at the east end of Westminster Abbey.
Thus, my Brethren and Friends, in the brief space of an hour this summer's afternoon, we are led to some conception of the thoughts, the ambitious, the hopes of the material builders of centuries ago. Just as the sponsors of the edifice here to be erected have been actuated by thoughts of building for the future, so too, did the builders of long ago have like visions. The essentials of the worthy conceptions of mankind experience no change as the ages roll by. Though man may be a creature of circumstances, though his habits of life and thought may and, of necessity, must change with his surroundings, though his inquisitive and inventive mind may continue to draw from the storehouse of Nature revelations by which the scope of his physical activities is increased many fold, yet the spiritual essence of his inmost consciousness, his closest point of contact with his Divine Creator, forever remains unchanged. To "ring in the new" is ever our restless ambition, but to "ring out the old" is beyond the power of any man, no matter how loudly he may shout the slogan to his neighbors from the house top.
We meet here in this fair New England City old. as we Americans are wont to reckon time, and rich in patriotic traditions. I know. then, that references to the past, that reminders of the ideals of the forefathers, must strike responsive chords in your hearts. I know the attitude of mind we have a right to expect to be found in men of such a community, and I know, therefore, that I cannot be mistaken in my convictions of your high regard and respect for old traditions.
To those present who are Masons, the trend of thought in these remarks is, perforce front their Masonic training, quite apparent. To the friends here who are not members of the Fraternity, let it be made dear that Masonic ideals are being brought to their attention. There is no secrecy in regard to the aims and purposes of Masonry. Its tenets and principles are so broad in their conception, so liberal in I heir application, as to be readily acceptable to any decent man, regardless of his race, religion, or politics. Teaching the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. it can tolerate within its body no theological or political discussions, because of keen appreciation of the fad that such discussions would lead only to dissensions, frustrating the very ends it seeks to accomplish. It teaches patriotism, love of liberty, obedience to law and respect for duly constituted authority, protect inn of the home and family, loyalty to friends and ideals, relief of distress, love for truth, temperance in thought and action, fortitude in overcoming vicissitudes, prudence as opposed to rashness, and tolerance for the conscientious convictions of others. Masonry has no room for the bigot. So high. indeed, arc its ideals, that their full attainment is beyond the hope of any man. Yet, what, manner of man is he who has no ideals, no concept of righteousness towards which he can. at least, endeavor to shape his course through life? Even though the man with ideals, through the frailty of human kind, does frequently err and stray, the urge towards better things still remains. God help the man who has no ideals!
Masonry traces its ancestry back to the times when it was practised purely as an operative art — when Craftsmen banded themselves together and were graded according to their skill. An appreciation of what could be accomplished through the means of the tools and implements devised for their work inculcated a deep respect for those tools and implements and gave rise to speculative thoughts of their moral application. Thus we have, as a natural sequence, the development of what is known as "Speculative Masonry," the Fraternity of to-day. Every tool and implement of architecture adopted by the Speculative Mason, yes, and furthermore, each of his rites and ceremonials, has its distinctive symbolic meaning, tending to impress upon the memory wise and serious truths. Through its symbols Masonry strives to teach its followers. and they profit just to the extent to which they heed and follow those teachings. That Masonry has continued to thrive through the centuries, is conclusive evidence of its worth and value to mankind, for no institution can long endure whose edifice is built on a foundation of unworthy motives.
And so, to-day, we have witnessed a ceremony of truly symbolic significance. Just as the character and enduring qualities of a building are determined by the integrity of its physical foundation, so is the moral character of man determined by the character and soundness of his spiritual foundation.
To the Brethren through whose efforts the foundations have been laid for this Temple to be devoted to the purposes of Masonry, the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts extends its encouragement and felicitations. In the accomplishment of your project, however, you must constantly bear in mind that you are thereby erecting a monument to moral principles and are thus assuming added responsibilities among your fellow citizens. You are building upon a public thoroughfare, in the heart of a busy community, an edifice to be dedicated to instruction in Masonic ideals, and you are proclaiming thereby your devotion to those ideals. Be you, therefore, diligent in your thoughts, words, and actions, that you may reflect only credit upon the great Fraternity of which you are a part. By your conduct shall you be known and your worth be judged.
To this community, of which so many Masonic Brethren are citizens, the Masonic Fraternity at large offers its best wishes for success and prosperity. We extend to you citizens of Newburyport our congratulations that you are soon to have a new building which cannot fail to add to the attractiveness of your city and of which, with all that it implies, you may well be proud.
HALL DEDICATION, PLYMOUTH, SEPTEMBER 1928
From Proceedings, Page 1928-264:
We arc taught in our ritualistic work that there are two kinds of Masonry, "operative" and "speculative." The distinction in the meanings of the two words is made very clear to us, but notwithstanding the fact that our instruction is solely of the "speculative" kind, it is well that we do not lose sight of the importance to our institution of the "operative". Indeed the two kinds are still closely related and Later-dependent In fact they ever will be, for Speculative Masonry owes its inception to the Guilds of the operative masons. The tools and implements of architecture to which we, as Speculative Masons, have given symbolic meanings to imprint on the memory wise and serious truths, are still in use by the operative mason of to-day. The material structures erected by the practical application of those tools and the spiritual edifices reared by their symbolic application, are likewise bonded together in their significance to human kind, yet they differ in one vital respect. The structure of the material builder, be it ever so strongly built of the most enduring substances which this earth affords, is foreordained to destruction in the lapse of time, but the edifice of the spiritual builder, founded on immortal virtues and reared in faith, shall last till time shall be no more.
The occasion for the ceremonies which you, my Brethren, have witnessed this evening and with which you have identified yourselves, abounds with food for serious reflection. You have built, in a conspicuous and well-chosen spot, in this beautiful old New England town of yours, so rich in historic traditions, so remindful at every turn of the fortitude and devotion of the patriot forefathers, a Temple, now dedicated to the promulgation of Masonic teachings. The operative masons have completed their task and laid down their tools, their work has been accepted and their responsibilities ended, but the responsibility of (he Speculative Masons, who now take possession of this fine edifice, has only just begun.
In this Temple, my Brethren, you have erected a monument to Masonic principles. In so doing, you have proclaimed to the world at large, and in a way which challenges the attention of all who may behold, your profession as Speculative Masons. Von cannot tread these halls without being constantly — though mutely — reminded of your obligations to your fellow men. Watch well your step and guard well your conduct, so that your achievements shall reflect, not only credit upon yourselves in the eyes of your fellow citizens, but also honor 1o the great Fraternity of which yon are, a part. Prom your zeal and your fidelity to Masonry thus far so clearly manifested, your Brethren at large have every confidence that your future success is assured.
In these dignified and well-proportioned premises, then, you are to continue and, we trust, strengthen and broaden your Masonic activities. You are to work as Speculative Masons, to strive for skill in the "Royal Art". By diligence only can skill be obtained, -lust as there are varying degrees of proficiency in all walks of life, so are there differences in the knowledge acquired in Speculative Masonry. The generic term is quite susceptible to subdivision.
There arc, indeed, two definite classes of Speculative Masons, which, with due credit for actual accomplishments on the one hand and with charitable intent on the other, might well be termed the "practical" and the "indifferent". The "practical" Mason — do not confuse the term with "operative" — is the Brother who seriously endeavors to put into actual practice in his daily life the great, moral teachings he has received in the Lodge-room, whereas the "indifferent" Mason is the Brother who — unfortunately for himself — hears but does not comprehend, sees but does not perceive. Such a Brother may be — and, in truth, frequently is — of irreproachable reputation and an honored and esteemed member of his community, but, for the simple reason thai he has never been given to understand or has failed to comprehend the true aims, purposes, and intent of Masonry, he is rarely or never seen at our gatherings. The proportion now existing between the two classes I leave to your conjecture. Do not let. your conclusions be unduly alarming, however, my good Brethren, for the remedy is readily apparent and only requires, perhaps, a wider application.
It has often and truly been stated that we do not practice Masonry in the Lodge-room; we learn it there. Knowledge is best obtained where it is taught, and the Lodge is the school for Masonic education. It is the earnest wish of every well-informed Mason that every Brother should share in the fulness and richness of those invaluable associations and friendships which our great Fraternity so freely offers. It is obvious, then, that the officers Of a Lodge should make every effort that, its members not only hear and learn the ritual, but also that they understand the reality of its meaning and its true significance. Much can be accomplished with our initiates along these lines through the medium of the "Lodge of Instruction," a number of which are functioning with marked success in different sections of the Jurisdiction.
With the completion of this edifice, so carefully planned and so well appointed, you Brethren of Plymouth Lodge bare achieved the object of your laudable desire for a sanctuary, a home of your own. By so much, therefore, are you the better equipped for Masonic instruction, and, to a higher degree than ever before, are you prepared to spread the beneficences of Masonry throughout the jurisdiction of your Lodge. By your future conduct will your rewards be gauged; the measure of your success rests with you. To the Master, Wardens, and Members of Plymouth Lodge the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts extends the fraternal congratulations on your splendid achievement. "We commend your enterprise and offer you every encouragement. May this Temple ever be the abode of peace, harmony, and brotherly love, and may it be an enduring monument, to those lofty ideals which shall be taught within its walls.
CORNERSTONE LAYING, HINGHAM, OCTOBER 1928
From Proceedings, Page 1928-285:
Brother Masons and Townsmen of Hingham:
The Grand Lodge o£ Masons in Massachusetts has come to yon this October afternoon for the purpose of consecrating the commencement of an undertaking designed to stand as ;amonument to righteousness, straight thinking, and good citizenship, a Temple of Freemasonry. There is visible evidence before you, indeed a pledge, that this monument is soon to become an actuality, a worthy memorial of the past, a guide for the present, a beacon for the Future. With a material groundwork of enduring substance, with a spiritual foundation constituted only of those basic virtues readily acceptable to every contemplative man, the idealism which this structure is to represent cannot fail to meet the approbation and engage the respect of every good citizen of this old and historic community.
The ceremony which you have just witnessed, attendant upon the laying of the corner-stone of this Masonic Temple, is a very old one. The lapse of time may have modified the forms of the rites employed, but the custom of laying corner-stones, with attendant ceremonials, dates back into the mists of antiquity. Prom evidences discovered from time to time we have reasons to believe that the practice is as old as recorded history itself. There exists a record of a corner-stone laid about 1500 years before Christ by King Thotmes III; in 1853, a corner-stone, with box and contents, was unearthed bearing inscriptions indicating that it had been laid by King Sargon of Assyria, some 800 years before Christ. It is eminently fitting and proper that Masons should continue the practice of such ancient ceremonials, not only because the Speculative Mason of to-day is the descendant of the operative mason of former times, but also because there are grounds for the belief that the genesis of Freemasonry itself is of like antiquity.
The citizens of this fair town of Hingham have had Masonry in their midst these many years. What the Institution may have accomplished for the public welfare and general good of the community, I leave to your own conjectures and conclusions; you must have been the better for its influences. The teachings of Masonry encompass the highest ideals of character possible to human kind. Its aims and purposes are simple and straightforward.
It simply seeks to do good upon this earth, to train men that they may be broader in their conceptions of (he rights of others, that they may be more tolerant of those who may not always he in agreement. It teaches the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. It strives to make better neighbors, better citizens. Because of varying limitations in the characters of men, the effects of such teachings are in direct proportion to capacity for understanding and readiness to put into practice the training acquired. Because your history is of a quality of which you may well be proud, it is fair to assume thai Masonry has played its part in your success and stability.
To you, my Brethren in Masonry, let me say a few words remindful of your honorable and venerable past. I would direct your attention to the serious aspects of the undertaking upon which you have embarked. The records of the Grand Lodge reveal that Old Colony Lodge was granted a Charter, by vote of the Grand Lodge on December 10, 1792, to hold its meetings in Hanover. Fifteen years thereafter old Colony Lodge petitioned for leave to remove to the town of Hingham, to which the Grand Lodge acquiesced by its vote on September 14, 1807. At its meeting of March 14, 1808, the Grand Lodge voted to renew the Charter of Old Colony Lodge so that it might meet in the town of Hingham without prejudice to its rank. Your existence in this community thus dates back over 121 years. You are, indeed, an old institution of Hingham. You have, in truth, a venerable heritage from your Masonic forefathers to uphold. Well did they lay the spiritual foundations of your Lodge. Well did they build thereon. Their labors have been handed on to you. You must carry on.
But the Masonic Fraternity at large have every reason for confidence in you, my Brethren. By committing yourselves to the construction of a Temple to be devoted to the purposes of Masonry you are evincing a zeal and a spirit worthy of the highest commendation, and such does the Grand Lodge gladly give you. You have built a foundation "well made, well proved, veil laid, true and trusty". You will doubtless take good care that the superstructure is of like integrity. There is a symbolic significance in what you have already done, as there is in all our work, which you. as Masons must fully understand and appreciate. "Good beginnings make good endings" and "the reward of a thing well done is to have done it." Let us close, then, with thoughts so well expressed by Longfellow in his poem, "The Builders."
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between,
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the older days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where God may dwell,
Beautiful, entire and clean.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
From Proceedings, Page 1957-113:
Right Worshipful Otis Converse White was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, on January 21, 1874, and died in Worcester on April 22, 1957. Into those eighty-three years of life was crowded all of the varied activity thar could come to a brilliant student, a successful business man, an active Mason, and a distinguished citizen.
He was the son of Dr. Otis C. White and Henrietta Walker, and came from New England Colonial stock on both paternal and maternal sides, dating back to pre-revolutionary days. Otis White was educated in the Worcester public schools, matriculating from English High School into Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1896, with a degree in science.
He chose for his business activity the field of manufacturing of electric lighting appliances, and was President of the Otis C. White Company from 1907 until his death.
That our Brother was a man of very wide interests is indicated by the fifteen clubs of which he was a member. These included the Harvard Engineering Club, the Lakeside Boat Club, the Worcester Pistol and Rifle Club, the Foreign Policy Association, and the Worcester Economic Club. He was a member of the Massachusetts State Guard, and was appointed an officer in it by Governor McCall in 1917. He gave outstanding service to the American Red Cross. He was Chairman of the Disaster and Relief Committee of the Worcester Chapter, and Chairman of the Worcester Chapter for three years. He was appointed a National Director during the period of the hurricane and floods in 1938.
Otis White had a distinguished Masonic career. He was raised in Quinsigamond Lodge, Worcester, in 1900. He did not wait long to get in line, for we find that he was Master of the Lodge in 1909, and continued in office for two years. He received the Royal Arch degree in Eureka Chapter in Worcester in 1910, and the Order of the Temple in Worcester County Commandery in 1922. FIe was a member of the three Scottish Rite Bodies in Worcester, and of the Massachusetts Consistory in Boston. ln 1925, R.W. Brother White was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the twenty-first Masonic District, which office he held for two years. At the close of his second year he had the unusual distinction of being appointed by M.W. Frank L. Simpson as Deputy Grand Master. He had an unusually busy year. He officiated as Acting Grand Master at the laying of the corner-stone of the Masonic Temple in Newburyport and the Masonic Temple in Hingham. He was Acting Grand Master in the dedication of the Masonic Temples at Dedham and Plymouth. His addresses on those occasions were in the best tradition of Masonic teaching.
Our Brother's abilities were further used, as he was a member of the Funding Committee of Juniper Hall, our Masonic Hospital at Shrewsbury, and was appointed Chairman of that Committee in 1929. He was representative of the Grand Lodge of Indiana near the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts from 1929 until his death. The Henry Price Medal was conferred upon him in Grand Lodge by Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson in 1928. He received the Veteran's Medal in 1950.
R.W. Brother White worked on a narrow margin of health during his later years, and his Masonic activities were correspondingly abridged. But during the years of his health, he gave himself unsparingly, and exemplified the best in Masonic character and service.
He was affable and urbane, courteous and warm-hearted. He was every inch the gentleman. He was gifted in speech, and had a rare facility in bringing the appropriate word to each occasion he graced with his presence. As witness his address at the Masonic Temple dedication in Plymouth, when he said among other things:
The structure of the material builder, be it ever so strongly built of the most enduring substances which this earth affords, is foreordained to destruction the lapse of time, but the edifice of the spiritual builder, founded on immortal virtues and reared in faith, shall last till time shall be no more.
We can say with the biblical writer: "Give him of the fruit of his hands, and let his own works praise him in the gates." Freemasonry is fortunate in having had such a life to serve its ideals, and in having such a memory to enrich its history.
Thomas S. Roy
George A. Russell
Rupert H. Robinson