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Iowa Masonic Library

Shortly after Theodore Sutton Parvin became Iowa's Grand Secretary in 1844 he began the building of a collection of Masonic books which became the first American Masonic library, in the true sense of having a librarian, a catalog, and a building; and though Bro. Parvin gave the required time and attention to his duties as Grand Secretary, it was into his office as Grand Lodge Librarian that he put his heart. Decades before 1901, the year of his decease, his Iowa Masonic Library at Cedar Rapids had become not an Iowa center of Masonic learning only, nor even an American center, but a world-wide center. Its part in the development of Freemasonry from 1865 until now is un-honored because it is unsung; but if any Mason will go behind the published Proceedings of Grand Bodies and the published books and will search through the private correspondence which came to Parvin's desk he will discover that not only was this Library commandeered by leaders and scholars in every land but also that it made possible certain of the most important achievements of Masonic Bodies and of Masonic scholars and leaders. Thus, Gould, Hughan, Crawley (a part of Crawley's correspondence is at hand while this is being written), Lane, and the group in general which collaborated on the work published as Gould's History of Freemasonry, made continual use of it from England and Ireland. Mackey could not have prepared this Encyclopedia nor have written either his HisCory or his Jurisprudence without it. Albert Pike was always drawing upon it. and especially so in his war on Cerneauism, herein some of his most devastating arrows had been barbed by Parvin, etc. Moreover it was a visible proof to otherwise skeptical American Masons that Masonic books, and in large number, do in actuality exist; and it became an inspiration to other Grand Jurisdictions to set up Libraries of their own. From 1901 to 1925 Bro. Newton R. Parvin, the son of T. S. Parvin, was Grand Librarian as well as Grand Secretary; and if he was not a scholar he was at least a great book-man, and under him the collection grew. It occupies the largest part of one very extensive three-story building and the whole of another. The Grand Jurisdiction continued in its good fortune when in 1925 R.-. W. . Bro. Charles Clyde Hunt succeeded to both the Grand Secretaryship and the Grand Librarianship. Born in Cleveland, O., in 1866, Bro. Hunt went west to Iowa, worked his w ay through the famous Grinnell College, taught school for a time, became a county treasurer, and in 1917 became Deputy Grand Secretary, giving his full time to the position, and from the first devoting a major part of his time to the Library. He has for many years edited the Grand Lodge Bulletin. In 1930 he published Some Thoughts on Masonic Symbolism (later revised and enlarged); and collaborated with Eugene Hinman and Ray . Denslow (General Grand High Priest) to write in two volumes The History of the Cryptic Rite. Bro. Hunt was made a Mason in Lafayette Lodge, No. 52, Montezuma, Iowa in 1900. He joined each of the Rites one after another and has held a long list of offices.

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