Yesterday I received a little book in Dutch which was published to celebrate the 50th birthday of the international order Le Droit Humain in 1949. The contains a photo with has as subscription “participators of the Supreme Council in the 1930’ies”. I remembered similar photos that can be found online. On a German ‘Masonic wiki’ there are two photos from the same ‘series’ and another photos that looks like it was taken during the same meeting. See here. (Two of the photos can be viewed in a fairly high resolution.)
I got the brilliant idea to try to figure out when the photos were made and who are on it. This started off nicely. If this is indeed the supreme council and the photo is from the 1930’ies I should be able to find the head of the Supreme Council, probably sitting in the most prominent place. The French Wikipedia lists the “dirigeants du Droit humain”. Eugene Piron (1875-1928), chairman from 1918 to 1921 (perhaps that should be 1928, the year he died and the year his successor got the chair) does not appear to be on the photo. His follower-up was Lucien Lévi who lead the Supreme Council from 1928 to 1934. Lévi was a man with a beard and a moustache as we can see here. Bingo, Lévi is the man in the middle. He is on all three photos. That narrows down the period in which the photo was taken to 1928 to 1934.
My next thought was to find the Dutch Grand Commander. F.E. Farwerck had the position from 1923 to 1933 and E.J.F. Thierens from 1933 to 1953, so both are candidates for being on the photo. There are not many photos of Farwerck, but like Lévi he had a moustache and beard. He does not appear to be on the photo. I have found one photo of Thierens which is from 1925 so possibly about a decade earlier. There is no face on the photos that I would say would be him.
Belgium then. The Grand Commander of the Belgian federation overlaps Lévi’s period. Gaston Vandermeeren lead the Belgian federation from 1928 to 1934, but no luck, I can’t find a photo.
In the USA the federation was under the command of Louis Goaziou from 1908 until 1937. So he is a candidate too. Goaziou had a black moustache and a narrow face. He could be the man hanging out a bit on the right of the photo in the second row from the top. That is not a very prominent place though.
I have tried to find Grand Commanders of other federations, but I can’t find the nice (Wikipedia) lists that I found the previous names in. Annie Besant lead the British federation from 1902 onward. She passed away in 1933 and she doesn’t appear to be on the photo either. Was she Grand Commander of the British federation until her death?
Does anybody care to see if we can identify other people on the photos?