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A not-too-common type of Certificate

September 1, 2020

As with any organization, Masonic Lodges generate paperwork. We have meeting notices, meeting minutes, installation programs, certificates, and so on. Regarding certificates, to name just a few types: we’ve got those for new members, awards, years of membership, demits, and possibly more. As they’re a bit less common, today we’ll look at demits/dimits.

For those unfamiliar with the term “demit,” here’s a good description from the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon: “If a member in good standing finds himself, for whatever personal reason, unable or unwilling to maintain his association with Freemasonry, he may voluntarily withdraw from Freemasonry by requesting a demit, which he is entitled to receive.” So, an individual may be given a “discharge from membership,” but only at his request. Assuming he meets the qualifications listed above, the demit is granted automatically.

Except for the first reference image, here are examples of demits in our museum collection. The styles range from simple to elaborate, but they all perform the same function.

An example Certificate of Demit, as is currently used by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. (not in the museum collection)
An older version of a Minnesota Demit, from 1922. Note the blank area, which is meant for the Lodge’s crush seal.
Still an area for the Lodge seal, but with the addition of the printed Grand Lodge of North Dakota seal in the center of the page.
A more elaborate version, from New York, 1913. While elegant looking, the pre-printed script is more difficult to read easily.
Last, we have an example of a demit from a different Masonic body, a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. Note that the location is “Canton, Dakota” in 1884. This was issued before South Dakota statehood, which was in 1889. The variety of fonts gives it a Wild West handbill flavor.

These are just a few of the Certificates of Demission in the Heritage Center archives. Most are fairly plain; some are quite ornate. All are examples of the lost printer’s art.

A not-too-common type of Certificate

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