Anti-masonic attacks are easily recognized and refuted by fact and logic. Parodies, burlesques and caricatures present a different problem for modern Freemasonry. While the intention may often be to simply amuse, the result is the marginalization and fictionalization of a very real and vibrant organization. Lest it be said that freemasons have no sense of humour, it should be noted that the sale of these cards were, in the main, directed at freemasons.
The card on right is reminiscent of a 1916 animated short, Bobby Bumps Starts a Lodge.
"Are You A Mason?"
The first set of six cards were copyrighted by Irvin M. Kline in 1907. They were published by the Anglo-American Card Company and the Macoy Publishing Company of New York City.
The titles of these six cards, "Educational Series A", were:
1- The Grand Lodge in Session|
2 - The Masons at Work/ The Masonical Harmony
3 - Receiving the Password
4 - The Initiation
5 - Riding the Goat
6 - The Mason's Wife Giving Away the Secret
The influence for the titles on these cards may well have been a farcical comedy by the same name, "Are You A Mason?" which appeared on Broadway in New York City in 1901. The three act play by Leo Dietrichstein was playing in England as late as 1911. This play was adapted and translated from an original German farce, "Logen Bruder" by Laufs and Kratz.
These American postcards were printed in black and white with some sections colored in yellow. Within a few years, identical pictures appeared in full color printed in Great Britain by the Millar and Lang company in their National Series.
The Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Company, while in New York City, produced and sold many Masonic postcards, both of a comic and serious nature. In later years, the Curt Teich Company of Chicago became the largest producer of postcards of Masonic Temples. Today, thousands of such Masonic cards are in the company archives at the Lake County Museum in Wauconda, Illinois.
Text of "Are You A Mason?" excerpted from the Short Talk Bulletin May 1996, Ralph B. Duncan, Past Master of John Hancock Lodge, A.F; & A.M. of Methuen, Massachusetts. Images have been gleaned from the web and are supplied without provenance or citation.