Ritual and Secrecy Confront Reality

Edited by by Pierre Mollier, Daniel Kerjan, Yves Hilvert-Messeca, and Carter Charles

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This special issue of Ritual, Secrecy and Civil Society, among other things, questions explores the ways in which the secret initiatory societies interface with political and social history. It would be a great mistake to think that organizations such as Freemasonry are confined to metaphorics and mythologies. Through the years, as the articles in these pages make clear, rule by ritual is more the norm than the exception. Rather than by gunpowder, many moments in history have been determined by the cadences of rite and ritual. Flags carry armies into battle.

As Pierre Mollier well remarks in his introduction to this volume, Anglo-Saxon FreeBookCoverImage-10masonry has often proposed that it “does not do politics.” That will surprise historians of Mexico who have to explain that the country’s first civil war was between York and Scottish Rite Masons, or students of American political parties who note that the first organized political party was the Anti-Masonic. A comprehensive article on the Mormon religious movement, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, provides another example in these pages of the relevance of Masonry to broader issues. In sum then, an effort to wall off ritualistic fraternalism from broader social and geopolitical issues is doomed. Like other recent viewpoints such as gender studies and racial studies, ritual studies are an important help to our understanding of the world, not a footnote.

Not do politics! At times Freemasonry has been just about as political as it is possible to be. That may make some of its proponents squirm, but the research presented here shows just how involved with the hurly-burly of our everydays this fascinating subject can be.

Pierre Mollier is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (“Sciences-Po”) and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes of the Sorbonne. He is editor of Renaissance Traditionelle and contributes to Politica Hermetica and Farliro. He is an authority on the French painter Jean-Fraçois Garneray. Pierre Mollier is the Director of Library, Archives, and Museum of the grand Orient of France, with a special scholarly interest in the First Empire and the Third Republic.

Fiat Lux: Full Score, Parts Included

Composed by by Gregory Thomas Woolford Martin

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Gregory Thomas Woolford Martin has composed for small and BookCoverImage-1large ensembles, electronica, choir, film, theater, dance and orchestra. He has received grants from Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, and the Eugene and Agnes Meyer Foundation, and scored numerous plays in the DC metro area, credited as Gregg Martin. His compositons for Shakespeare radio adaptations have been broadcast on WAMU, and he both composed and wrote the libretto for his opera Life in Death performed at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and at the Capital Fringe Festival. As a musicologist his writings are on the subjects of music technology and aesthetics. He is married to the writer Pamela Woolford Martin and has two children, Tara and Riley.

Between Conflict and Conformity: Freemasonry During the Weimar Republic and the “Third Reich”

Authored by Ralf Melzer
Translated by Glenys A. Waldman

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FreeFreemasonry During the Weimar Republic and the masonry during the Weimar Republic and the ‘Third Reich’…One might ask, “Is that a chapter of forgotten persecution or a legend of persecution?” After extensive research in archives in Berlin, Moscow, and Washington, D.C., the author has determined that the answer would have to be: “Neither, nor; yet some of both.” The history of the German Masonic lodges and their members in the Weimar Republic and the “Third Reich” is a story of conflict and conformity.

Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia – 1898

by John P. Sheiry

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The Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia is not the grand lodge for the United States, but at times because of its site it has national importance. The election of Brother William McKinley as president in 1896 was the beginning of an extraordinarily visible era for Freemasonry in Washington, wheProceedings of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia ~ 1898n its profile and processions were enhanced by the fact that Masons would occupy the White House for the majority of the next fifty-six years.

Six out of the nine presidents in that period were members of the Craft: William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. So this volume concerns arguably a high water mark in the fraternity’s history. The statue for Albert Pike, the Scottish Rite leader, was authorized by Congress in 1898 and still occupies Judiciary Square.

The Presidents of the United States during these years who were Masons participated frequently in Grand Lodge events during their time in Washington. Each had a particular connection that is worth noting. For example, William McKinley (President 1897-1901) had joined when he saw that Confederates who were Masons and wounded during the Civil War were given friendly treatment by Union surgeons. He became a Capitular Mason and Life Member of Washington Commandery No.1, D.C. on December 23, 1896. From the White House steps, on several occasions, Brother McKinley reviewed Knight Templars on parade. He received Grand Master William Henderson and a Grand Lodge delegation to accept membership in Columbia Lodge made a point to visit his Mother Lodge in Winchester, Virginia. He also participated in the Masonic centennial observances of the death of George Washington, on December 14, 1899.

Hymns to the Gods & Other Poems

by Gen. Albert Pike

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Hymns to the Gods & Other Poems

Albert Pike (1809-1891) began writing as a youth, and “Hymns to the Gods” was his first published poem when he was only 23. He subsequently became a contributor to Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine after his book, Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country, appeared in 1834.Then, in 1872, he published an extended collection, Hymns to the Gods and Other Poems. An admirer of the work of Shelley and Cooleridge, he in turn was admired by Edgar Allan Poe.

He is primarily remembered as perhaps the leading scholar of Freemasonry in the nineteenth century but quite apart from that his verses display his incredible linguistic skills and knowledge of mythology. He is always struggling for synthesis, believing, “the great aim is to discover unity in multiplicity”. This is key to both his poetry and to the many degrees of Freemasonry that he revised and embellished.

Freemasonry in Inverness

by Alexander Ross

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Alexander Ross (1834-1925) was educated at Inverness Royal Academy and became an architect like his father. He joined St. John’s Masonic Lodge in 1833 and eventually was its Master. Ross traveled throughout Scotland as public education expanded and was responsible for the plans of over 450 schools. An antiquarian and member of the Gaelic Society, he appeared in kilts “without the slightest excuse”. A striking portrait of him by George Reid hangs in the Inverness Town House. The building of Lodge Averon in the town of Alness was designed by him and is considered one of the outstanding Masonic edifices in Scotland.

Lodge “Himalayan Brotherhood” No. 459 E.C.: Minute Books and Correspondence

by G. Reeves-Brown

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The famous Himalyan Brotherhood lodge owes its origins to a Masonic lodge established in Calcutta in 1773. Members of descendant lodges organized Himalyan Brotherhood in 1838 in the Indian hill station of Simla, where British rulers spent the hot summers. Over the years the lodge attracted a veritable Who’s Who of the famous, including the explorer Sir Richard Burton and the author Rudyard Kipling. When India became independent in 1947, the lodge moved to England, but it retains its traditions – the collection for charities is taken with an old army helmet with a bullet hole in it, and the director of ceremonies carried a field marshal’s baton.

The Story of the City Companies

by P.H. Ditchfield

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As this volume shows, the guilds or livery companies of London started as medieval associations of The Story of the City Companies COVER FRONT ONLYtradesmen: haberdashers, skinners, goldsmiths, and ironmongers. They became charity foundations, trustees of schools and hospitals, custodians of art treasures and historic buildings, and the electorate for the leadership of the City of London. The guilds of the old occupations sometimes retain their ancient associations, but they also elect men and women of substance from many other callings, and there have been a number of new city companies serving air pilots, international bankers, and even tax advisers. London cannot be understood without understanding the origins of these unique societies.

Philippine Masonic Directory ~ 1918

by Chas. M. Colton

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Originally limited to the Spanish occupiers, Freemasonry attracted leaders of the Philippine Phillipine Directory COVER FRONT ONLYindependence movement and has played an important role in the history of the islands. The great leader Joseph Rizal was an active member, as were Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Jose Alejandrino, brothers Juan and Antonio Luna, Ambrocio Flores, and Galicano Apacible. This scarce volume illustrates the extraordinary variety of lodges, including some with Scottish, French, American and Spanish roots, which were eventually to become the Grand Lodge of the Philippines.

Gems of Song for Eastern Star Chapters

compiled by Pitkin & Mathews

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Although the Order of the Eastern Star at one time claimed ties to orders in the seventeenth and eighteenth century Swedish royal court, the consensus is that it was largely invented as a companion Gems of Song for Eastern Star Chapters COVER FRNO ONLYsecret society to Freemasonry in the nineteenth century. Both men who are Masons and women with a family connection to Masons are members, and chapters are found as far afield as Scotland and Australia. The temple in Washington D.C. on New Hampshire Avenue is particularly imposing. The ritual of the order provides opportunities for musical interludes, as do the public meetings, and over the years the Star has supported concerts and choirs.

Hints on Masonic Etiquette

by R. H. Gaynor

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Freemasonry not only has myriad complex ceremonies for initiating and advancing candidates, but also preserves a code for every social occasion, including requirements for addressing others during meetings, offering banquet toasts, opening and closing letters, entering and leaving rooms – in short, conduct that vanished elsewhere when Emily Post and Amy Vanderbilt ceased to be the oracles for society.

Hints on Masonic Etiquette COVER FRONT ONLYIt is not surprising that the conduct of members of a highly ritualistic and secret society sometimes is different from behavior in public. Titles of respect such as Brother, Worshipful, Right Worshipful are not used in front of non-masons. Mixed groups are addressed as Ladies, Brethren, Gentlemen. In other words, propriety should be the constant companion of the Craft.

This volume has long been the companion for right behavior of those who move with confidence in that Masonic secret world that is so much discussed but so little understood.

Manual of Knights Templar

by Edward J. Newman

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Manual of the Knights Templar COVER CONCEPTPartly because of novelists and Hollywood, the Masonic Knights Templar have enjoyed an enormous amount of recent attention, and are the subject of extravagant claims about their antiquity. The truth is that the present Templars, while admittedly going back many years, owe much to the eighteenth century, and not to the Middle Ages. They certainly are a highly ritualistic and very curious organization, as this volume of their secrets illustrates.

History of the Knights of Pythias

History of the Knights of Pythias COVER CONCEPT FRONT ONLY

by Jos. D. Weeks

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Although a secret society, the Pythians sought to aid reconciliation after the Civil War and gave rise to other movements, including the Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan, Princes of Syracuse, Knights of Omar, and Order of Calanthe. Membership is less than it once was, but lodges exist in more than twenty states and Canada.

Lyrics & Love Songs

by Albert Pike, with a new introduction by Paul Rich

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Albert Pike was a Harvard dropout, Confederate general, lawyer for Native American causes, celebrated Masonic leader, and lifelong writer of poems. Erudite in many languages and expert on folklore and mythology, his work “Morals and Dogma” continues to be a major text in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Despite his insistence that he was not the author, the much-reprinted poem “The Old Canoe” continues to be attributed to him and figures in this volume of his verses.

 

Meeting Minutes of Naval Lodge No. 4 F.A.A.M. 1813

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Edited and Introduced by Isaiah Akin

This book contains the Meeting minutes of Naval Lodge No. 4 F.A.A.M. of Washington DC from 1813, along with articles about the people mentioned and the Washington Navy Yard where many of them worked, and gives insight into Freemasonry in early America.

In the book, you will find images of the original minutes from 1813, and on the opposite page, you will find a transcription of those minutes to make reading a bit easier. In addition, notnaval-meetings-book-cover-1813 copyes and articles of historical interest have been added.

Strictly speaking, minutes are a record of what happened at a particular meeting. They list who attended, what motions were made, what votes taken, and so on. At first glance, they can be very dry, very mundane. Although written 200 years ago with quill pens and by candlelight, they closely resemble minutes taken at meetings today.

But it is that similarity that makes them so important. These minutes help ensure a sense of continuity. They help preserve a shared Masonic history and culture.

These minutes help us realize that when George Washington became a Mason in 1752, he went through a ceremony very similar to what we went through to become Masons. They remind us that the symbols we use, and the values we cherish, are very similar to those embraced by Elias Ashmole when he became a Freemason in 1646.

These minutes are a symbol that just as Freemasonry has existed for hundreds of years, so it will continue for hundreds more.

Ivanhoe Masonic Quartettes

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Selected and arranged by Thomas C. Pollack

with a new preface by Sion M. Honea

The numerous initiatory degrees which are staged by Masonic organizations are generally plays in which the candidate is a principal actor. Music has been a part of these dramas for at least the last two hundred years, and some Masonic temples are equipped with notabIvanhoe Masonic Quartettes COVER FRONT ONLYle pipe organs and have stages with elaborate backdrops which can be used to add color to the events. Famous composers such as Sibelius and Mozart have written pieces specifically for the rituals.
However, less spectacular Masonic events also call for music. Frequently the conferring of degrees will be followed by a meal, or festive board, where appropriate entertainment is in order. And there is a ritualistic event known as a table lodge, when toasts with special glasses are given to a peculiar cadence and there is occasionally a quartet.
This ready market for a whole variety of solos, marches, choruses, and timely thematic interludes has included quartets such as are in the Ivanhoe collection. The lodge honored by the name, Ivanhoe No.610 on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of New York, was in its heyday in the 1860s when the scores were brought together. It is representative of a very large genre of nineteenth century pieces for Masonic gatherings.
Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish author and a Freemason, was partly responsible for the popularity of Ivanhoe as a name for Masonic lodges, commandaries, and buildings. His novel, published in 1820, is set in the year 1194, and its hero helps restore Richard to the throne of England after many adventures. Sometimes viewed as the book that helped begin the fondness for modern historical fiction, it certainly inspired the Masons to name their organizations in honor of the medieval hero … and in this case, their assemblages of sheet music.

Take a look at the book’s Original Cover.

President John Quincy Adams’ Quarrel with the Freemasons

John Quincy Adams's Quarrel with the Freemasons COVER copy copy

Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

Such was the revulsion in the United States over the purported murder of William Morgan, an upstate New Yorker who in 1826 disappeared after threatening to expose Masonic secrets, that political groups campaigned to drive Masons out of office and close down their lodges. President John Quincy Adams devoted considerable energy to the controversy, as this remarkable set of letters shows. He not only scorned Freemasonry but opposed college secret societies as well, and his feelings about secrecy continue to be of interest as in a new era we face Wikileaks and other challenges to covert activities.

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Royal Arch Masonry in Pennsylvania

Royal Arch Masonry in Pennsylvania COVER FRONT ONLY

by William J. Paterson

The Royal Arch is a Masonic degree as well as a rite of several degrees that are close companions of the initial three Masonic degrees. Many Freemasons consider it the logical conclusion of the Masonic initiation. It was conferred in America in the eighteenth century, and continues to be given today. It has its own symbols, mythology, and secrets, which are apart from what Masons learn on first joining the Craft. Pennsylvania was certainly one of its launching pads in the Western Hemisphere, as this volume illustrates.

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Freemasonry in All Ages

Freemasonry in All Ages COVER copyby Rev. M.F. Carey

The tension in Freemasonry over its legendary and real origins and with its Enlightenment ethos in contrast with Christian views is apparent in this work by an Irish Episcopalian priest who came to American in the later part of the nineteenth century and immersed himself in Masonic study. Considering the passage of years, the overview provided remains remarkably insightful.

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The Lodge of Washington and His Neighbors

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By Charles H. Calahan

In 1928, Lodge of Washington COVER FRONT ONLYthe Masonic lodge that George Washington had presided over as Worshipful Master gathered anecdote about his connections with Alexandria, Virginia, and commissioned photographs of relics and places that provide unusual insights into his career. Not the least of these artifacts is the old clock from Washington’s bedroom at Mt. Vernon, with the hands stopped by his doctor, Elisha Dick, at the time of his death.  Anyone interested in American history will find this short monograph to be of value.

Freemasonry in Canada

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By Sheppard Osborne

Since its Freemasonry in Canada COVER FRONT ONLYappearance in 1915, Freemasonry in Canada has been a starting point for any serious discussion of Canadian lodge history. It was remarkable in its time for covering not only developments in the Canadian provinces but also the course of special Masonic groups such as the Shrine and Royal Order of Scotland. While research has changed some perceptions, its usefulness and insights remain of primary importance when Canadian Freemasonry is discussed.

Ancient Masonic Mysteries: John Perry’s The Freemason’s Gift

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

The anAncient Masonic Mysteries COVER FRONT ONLYtiquity of Freemasonry is much debated. As a philosophical and ritualistic society, rather than a group of stonemasons, it certainly existed in the seventeenth century. But its beginnings are intertwined with the building of the great cathedrals of Europe, so Masons speak of speculative and operative Masonry to separate the symbolic activities from the bricks and mortar of construction. This curious volume is a contribution to the lore of speculative Masonry.

The Wisdom of Thomas Starr King: Thomas Starr King’s Substance and Show

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Two pThe Wisdom of Thomas Starr King COVER FRONT ONLYeaks, one in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and one in Yosemite National Park, are named after Thomas Starr King. He left a brilliant career in Boston to go to San Francisco in 1860, where his convincing oratory was credited with keeping California firmly on the Union side in the Civil War. Along with his commitment to emancipation and the Northern cause, he had a sharp wit and an enviable prose style, which this volume illustrates well.

Young Freemasons?: Frank S. Land’s Order of DeMolay

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

The OrYoung Freemasons COVER FRONT ONLYder of DeMolay is a puzzle.  It originated in the United States but is widespread, with chapters in Italy and Japan and Germany as well as Latin America and Canada, and with rituals involving events in medieval Paris. It is closely associated with Freemasonry but its leaders emphasize it is not some sort of junior Masonic group.  President Bill Clinton was sufficiently committed to it that he interrupted a packed schedule to meet with fellow DeMolay leaders in Manila on his Philippine visit in 1995.  This book was edited by the founder of the order, Frank S. Land, during the early days of the movement, and is a surprising insight into a social phenomenon.

original Order of DeMolay cover

bookplate in original Order of DeMolay

New Sources on Women and Freemasonry

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Edited and Introduced by Pierre Mollier

There has been a great lack in international scholarship concerned with ritual and secrecy because so much ofWomen in Freemasonry COVER FRONT ONLY copy the good work is being done in languages that the mono-lingual English-speaking world has no idea exist. The strength of the articles in this collection will come as a considerable surprise even to experts in the field, because the research in Europe is very advanced and frankly is of such high quality that those who are not linguists should look to their laurels. Much is being done in discovering un-mined material in archives and the selections for this volume are a feast of new bibliographical references.

Masonic Secret Signs and Passwords: The 1856 Edition of Jeremy L. Cross’s The True Masonic Chart 

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

Contrary to what people think about Masonic secrecy, over the centuries a number of books have revealedMasonic Secret Signs and Passwords COVER FRONT ONLY much about what goes on in lodges.  Certainly Jeremy Cross was relied on as a crib for nervous officers when they put on degrees, and his readers were not just the curious, but the Freemasons themselves who wanted to improve their ritual work. Important as a source for Masonic activity in the mid nineteenth century, this volume makes a scarce title available to scholars.

 

Original True Masonic Chart cover

How Washington Lost His Birthday and Other Masonic Essays: Gaston Lichtenstein’s How George Washington Lost His Birthday

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

This book by Gaston Lichtenstein is an antiquarian’s pleasure. An antiquarian is an enthusiast for thingHow Washington Lost His Birthday COVER FRONT ONLYs historical, and historians sometime regard being called an antiquarian as an insult, as a slur on their scholarship. But rather than a term of abuse, the word can be a compliment, suggesting intellectual curiosity and a passion for proof. That is the case with Lichtenstein, who was eclectic in his writing career, producing work on Freemasonry, Iberian prisoners of war, Atlantic City piers, colonial North Carolina, and in the case of this book, George Washington’s birthday. He was a highly readable author who loved to browse in all kinds of areas, and probably is a better companion by the fireside than many more pretentious scholars.

 

 

Meeting Minutes of Naval Lodge No. 4 F.A.A.M. 1812

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Edited and Introduced by Isaiah Akin

This book contains the Meeting minutes of Naval Lodge No. 4 F.A.A.M. of Washington DC from 1812, along with articles about the people mentioned and the Washington Navy Yard where many of them worked, and gives insight into Freemasonry in early America.

In the book, you will find images of the original minutes from 1812, and on the opposite page, you will find a transcription of those minutes to make reading a bit easier. In addition, notes and articles of historical interest have been added.

Strictly speInfuriating coveraking, minutes are a record of what happened at a particular meeting. They list who attended, what motions were made, what votes taken, and so on. At first glance, they can be very dry, very mundane. Although written 200 years ago with quill pens and by candlelight, they closely resemble minutes taken at meetings today.

But it is that similarity that makes them so important. These minutes help ensure a sense of continuity. They help preserve a shared Masonic history and culture.

These minutes help us realize that when George Washington became a Mason in 1752, he went through a ceremony very similar to what we went through to become Masons. They remind us that the symbols we use, and the values we cherish, are very similar to those embraced by Elias Ashmole when he became a Freemason in 1646.

These minutes are a symbol that just as Freemasonry has existed for hundreds of years, so it will continue for hundreds more.

Click here for a preview of the first 10 pages.

Anti-Masonry and the Murder of Morgan: Lee S. Tillotson’s Ancient Craft Masonry in Vermont

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

The anti-Masonic movement during the 1820s and 1830s is sometimes related by scholars to the develoAnti-Masonry and the Murder of Morgan COVER FRONT ONLYpment of the American party system.  Certainly individuals migrated to the Know Nothing and Whig movements and eventually to the incipient Republican party, but more research is needed.  No state was more influenced by anti-Masonry than Vermont, where many of the lodges closed their doors because of the hysteria about Masonic influence. So this scarce volume is welcome background to a puzzling period in political history.

 

 

Earl Warren’s Masonic Lodge: Herbert Phillips’ Fifty Year History of Sequoia Lodge

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Earl Warren's Masonic Lodge COVER FRONT ONLYLong before Earl Warren was a famous governor of California and then an important Chief Justice of the United States, he was forging a career in Freemasonry. Starting as an officer and eventually master of a local lodge whose history is recounted in this volume, he worked his way up the stairs of the Masonic hierarchy to become Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California.

L’Enfant and the Freemasons: H. Paul Caemmer’s The Life of Pierre Charles L’Enfant

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Edited and Introduced by Guillermo De Los Reyes

The papers of Hans Paul Caemmerer (1922-1954) are deposited in the National Archives and include considerable correspondence concerning this book about Pierre Charles L’Enfant (1754–1825). It was Caemmerer who dispelled the belief that L’Enfant was an engineer, and found that he studied in the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture under his own father, an accomplished oil painter. L’Enfant’s big opportunity was to fill a blank canvas, physically and ideologically, of what became the capital. L’Enfant and pace, Caemmerer’s life of him, have been much cited by those who have caught a fever in terms of Washington as being of occult design.

Masonic Tombstones and Masonic Secrets: Dora C. Jett’s Minor Sketches of Major Folk

Edited and Introduced by Paul Rich
Freemasonry carries its secrets beyond death. Masonic funeral ceremonies, the placing of the apron and sprig of acacia in the coffin, and internment rites at burial are part of Craft’s rituals. The carvings on tombstones of Masonic cemeteries are a source of esoteric engravings and guide to evolving initiations and degrees. For the historian, a great value is the evidence they provide of past associations between the brethren behind the doors of the lodge. The old Masonic Burial Ground in Fredricksburg, Virginia, is a museum of patriots, and Jett’s long out of print book is a valuable footnote to early American history as well as to the lives connected in one way or another by the secret fraternity. Fortunately the cemetery still is properly maintained and this volume can serve as a guide.

 

Freemasonry in Old Buffalo: James Leroy Nixon’s History of Buffalo Consistory

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Buffalo had a reputation for being the “last city in the East” in terms of social mores, and in its heyday supported clubs and societies that had much in common with those in New York and Philadelphia. Some of these still survive, such as the Consistory of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Its headquarters are now in Buffalo’s suburbs, but its former building was originally a mansion of the Rand family and converted by the Masons in 1925 for Masonic use. In turn it was sold to the Jesuit Order in 1944 and renamed Berchman’s Hall. It is now Canisius High School. Genealogists will welcome this scarce volume, with its rolls of the Buffalo elite of a century and more ago.

 

Original Buffalo Consistory cover

The Genius of Freemasonry: William B. Clarke’s Leaves From Georgia Masonry

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The reader with a curiosity about the secrets of Freemasonry is confronted with a vast and eccentric literature, much of which is highly fanciful and often completely fictional. Finding books that have their feet on the ground, so to speak, is not easy. This is one, solid and truthful, and a good starting place for the curious who wonder about the world’s most celebrated discrete society.

 

The Thomas Starr King Dispute: Acceptance and Unveiling of the Statues of Junipero Serra and Thomas Starr King

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The Reverend Thomas Starr King left the amenities of bookish and comfortable Boston, where he was lionized as a charismatic and courageous preacher, to take a struggling Unitarian pulpit in a San Francisco that in the 1850s was hardly the sophisticated city that it is today.  He soon found himself involved in the desperate fight to keep California in the Union and slave free.  Not coincidentally, he became Grand Chaplain of the Masonic Grand Lodge of California, joining brother freemasons in the struggle against succession.

 

The Pope and the Freemasons: The Letter “Humanum Genus” of the Pope, Leo, XIII against Free-Masonry and the Spirit of the Age

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By Pope Leo XIII

Popes have never been enthusiastic about Freemasonry. Clement XII condemned the order in 1738, as did Benedict XIV in 1751. This was followed by interdicts by Pius VII in 1821, Leo XII in 1826, Pius VIII in 1829, Gregory XVI in 1832, and Pius IX 1646. The encyclical Humanum Genus by Leo XIII was the most ambitious attack yet, and linked Masonry to deism and Gnosticism. It remains perhaps the most sweeping condemnation by the Roman Catholic Church of the Masonic movement, and has been the source of considerable conflict and confrontation ever since it was issued.