Description

    Bill Clinton Typed Letter Signed. Four pages, 8.5" x 11", Hot Springs, Arkansas, September 30, 1964. Bill Clinton signs this letter as a high school senior in Hot Springs, Arkansas. That year, he had been elected Master Councilor of the Hot Springs Chapter #255, Order of DeMolay. The Order, an international fraternity for young men ages twelve to twenty-one, was closely modeled after Freemasonry and sponsored by a local lodge.

    The letter is addressed to the "Director of Activities/ International Supreme Council/ Order of DeMolay" in Kansas City, and appears to be a draft, containing four textual corrections likely by Clinton. Some numbers are withheld from the text, leaving blanks to be added later.

    In the letter, Clinton presents a "complete summation of the Summer Term of 1964." That summer, the chapter performed various events, including the observation of Patriots Day, the conduction of a back-to-school swim party and dance, a civic project, and a fund-raising activity. The final paragraph reports, "The final trip of the term was made by State Master Councilor [Jim] Case and his newly appointed Personal Deputy, Master Councilor Bill Clinton, to the Institution of El Dorado Chapter. . . . Jim Case spoke to the new DeMolays and visitors, and Bill Clinton gave the Flower Talk."

    Clinton enjoyed the time he devoted to the Order of DeMolay, even crediting the Order with teaching him about politics. In his autobiography, My Life, Clinton writes the following about his involvement: "High school was a great ride. I liked the schoolwork, my friends, the band, DeMolay, and my other activities. . . . I learned more about politics by participating in the state DeMolay election [some of those elections are referenced in this letter]. . . . Even though I enjoyed DeMolay, I didn't buy the idea that its secret rituals were a big deal that somehow made our lives more important. After I graduated [high school], I didn't follow a long line of distinguished Americans going back to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere into Masonry, probably because in my twenties I was in an anti-joining phase" (Bill Clinton, My Life [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004], 45, 55). The letter is lightly toned and has no folds.


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    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
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