BRIEF DESCRIPTIONS OF OLD MASONIC BOOKS
An English Mason's arguments on the differences between various Christian denominations and specially the Roman Catholic Church and what he has learned in over 30 years experience as a Mason. He considers the attacks unjust and those making them intolerant and concludes with an appendix of gathered comments on different aspects of Freemasonry.
An Exposition of the Mysteries or Religious Dogmas and Customs of Egyptians, Pythagoreans and Druids (with a inquiry into the origin and history of Freemasonry), John Fellows, 433 pages, 1835.
Fellows writes on Moses, Virgil, Pythagoras and others. Index is in front of book, so beware. Deep and wordy as was common for the time written, but has some good notes at bottom of pages. This book contains some good early English history of Masonry and starting on page 291, you will see a copy of a John Lelande letter giving an early Masonic catechism (1696) and pulls some good information from Masonry Dissected. He also shows mid 18th century ritual and opening and closing of lodges.
Arcana Saitica, briefly discussed in three essays on the Masonic Tracing Boards, Amoy, 60 pages, 1879.
Great early esoteric teachings on the tracing boards. The author is quite plain spoken in his thoughts on what the elements are and much older symbolism they relate to. Definitely not on par with most of that day's thoughts on Masonry having a Christian parallel. Worth reading.
The Symbol of Glory, George Oliver, 316 pages, 1870.
Thirteen lectures on various Masonic topics, all connecting Freemasonry with a Christian slant. Victorian in style, a little wordy, but worth pouring over if you like his view. He brings together some not so well known Masonic writers to the reader's eyes.
Illustrations of Masonry, William Preston, George Oliver editor, 412 pages, 1867.
This book is in four sections: an argument on the positive aspects of the fraternity, the three degrees are written about, old manuscripts relating to Masonry and the last is a history up to 1812 of Freemasonry. He does not give the full ritual, but does recite and comment on sections of it. The history used here takes up a large number of pages, but is interesting.
Francis Bacon and his Secret Society, Mrs. Henry Pott, 432 pages, 1891.
A view on the life of this man and his ties to the Rosicrucians and Masonry. I am hardly the person to comment on whether Mrs. Pott knows her subject, but the book, while a little deep, gives a nice overview of his life, thoughts and teachings.
Legenda, (Kadosh and Heirodom), Albert Pike, 176 pages, no date.
Pike's thoughts on the 32nd degree and the Templar, The Word, secrecy, the Names of God, life of Pythagoras, Hermes, the Royal Secret and the Symbolic Camp. Deep, but worth reading. Can be confusing to the average reader, but well recommended.
Military Lodges, Robert Gould, 290 pages, 1899.
A good book on a side of Masonry usually left out. Contains information on English and early American field and Naval lodges up to the Mexican War. Index in front, will much on officers and important men who were Masons in the services and the interesting stories of interactions between them.
A Brief History of the A. & A.S.R of Freemasonry, Edwin Sherman, 148 pages, 1890.
Sherman gives a old tradition of a European start to this history and proceeds to American (both N.J. and S.J.) histories. Interesting, but also contains a lot of miscellaneous information like: names and titles of important Masonic men of the day, transactions and even old ads.
On the Origins of Freemasonry, Thomas Paine, 44 pages, 1810.
Published after his death, this book is a quick read and worth it. It shows the perceptions of his day on Masonry and its links to Druidism. The New Age Magazine, a bound collection of editions from January to December 1917, 611 pages, put together by the Supreme Council. Lots of good reading, some of it dated, but all will learn and get insights from this collection.
Volume two of An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Albert Mackey, 529 pages, 1916.
*** Mackey's great work on Masonry, will be a help to any and all who are investigating different topics. This book begins with Macon and goes through the rest of the alphabet. ***
The Bibliography of the Writings of Albert Pike, William Boydon, 97 pages, 1921.
Ever wondered just how much Albert Pike liked to write? This will tell you. He was a writing machine. But with the way communication was done at this time, it was the best way (the printed word. A amazing list of titles with a short description.
Freemasonry in America, prior to 1750, Melvin Johnson, 247 pages, 1916.
A great detailed history of lodge work in America taken from old records and newspapers of the day. Starting on January 15th, 1718/9 to April 13th, 1750 meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge in Boston. His conclusion is a brief and interesting set of facts that every American Mason would find interesting.
Freemasonry in England from 1567 to 1813, Leon Hyneman, 201 pages, 1877.
The Author's study of Preston's Illustrations and Anderson's Book of Constitution. He has some good thoughts, but is wordy and can be hard to follow for long periods. He is opinionated, and from what I can gather one of the "ancients" in his words and expressions.
Freemasonry in the Holy Land, Robert Morris, 625 pages, 1872.
A much sought after early book. The author's three year journey in the Middle East includes poems and is a tour guide and reference book on early Masonic places and people. Interesting read and while things have changed over the last 127 years, one I would take with me on a trip there. Links Biblical references to actual places and tells the reader all he knows on them.
History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, multiple authors, 900 plus pages, 1892.
Each chapter was written by individual person knowledgeable on the topic and all were combined into this history. Works like this are always dated on information and events. A lot of information, check over the index and find what you may find interesting.
The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly Hall, 633 pages, 1929 edition.
His magnum opus of interconnecting spiritualism and beliefs. Great book with good chapters on ancient wisdom and thought. ***** A must read (at least some chapters) by all who are fascinated with all types of spiritualism and Freemasonry.
Mystic Masonry, J. D. Buck, 309 pages, 1897.
Light, airy and without much revealed truth, the author practices circumlution "saying a lot without saying what he really wants to say" well.
The American Quarterly Review, Albert Mackey editor, 585 pages, 1858.
Short and long essays with poems and illustrations make for good reading.
The Builders, John Newton, 347 pages, 1922
Good, basic Masonic knowledge designed for the new member; but good for all of us.
The Craftsmen and Freemason Guide, Cornelius Moore, 323 pages, 1858.
Moore made this version for the state of Ohio to help with the uniformity of their duties in the lodge. Includes that day and place' Funeral Service, Mark Master's, Past Master's, Most Excellent Master's and Royal Arch degrees. He also includes a interesting set of short talks on Masonic conduct in lodge, after lodge is closed (but still in the building), when at home and at work.
The Four Old Lodges, Robert Gould, 101 pages, 1879.
Gould gives us lists of "old" lodges starting at 1723 and going to 1813, plus lists of important men in them, some of their records and the early taverns they met in. Great information that is not seen very often.
The Freemason's Treasury, George Oliver, 407 pages, 1863.
If you like Oliver, you will love this book. He takes 18 pages for his introductory remarks and the rest of the book is made up of 52 of his lessons on Masonic themes.
The Freemason's Library and General Ahiman Rezon, Samuel Cole, 467 pages, 1817.
A set of very early American remarks on Masonry, including some old English history involving our group and while not the ritual line by line, a good synopsis of what he thought it to be. When reading his book, don't forget to view the page notes as they will be a help to what is written there. A great source of ancient information and thought.
The Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Charles Moore, editor, volume 21, 796 pages, 1862.
Printed during the Civil War, this is a collection of letters, general information and short Masonic talks. May seem quaint to some today, but in the day it was written; was a great source of encouragement and learning. Updates from various lodges, personal views on any Masonic topic can be found here. The index in the front of the book is a great help for those looking for specific information in it.
The Historical Landmarks, George Oliver, volume one, 465 pages, 1867.
Another 24 lectures by a very prolific writer; who was well respected in his day. This minister for the Church of England grew up in a Masonic family and spent a large part of his time educating others in our fraternity. He may have leaned too much on others as sources without fully checking the validity of their words, but set the standard for others to follow. All his works seek to show the Christian character of Masonry and he dates the first Masons, not with Noah, but with Seth. Interesting in the style he uses and the arguments he puts forth.
A Star in the West, George Oliver, 205 pages, 1825.
Or as the subtitle explains, showing the analogy that exists between lectures of Freemasonry and the Christian Religion. Oliver wrote this to help explain away the differences as he saw between the Christian churches and our fraternity. Plus inform the general public that Masonry was different than other popular "clubs" of his day.
Lectures on the Philosophy of Freemasonry, Roscoe Pound, 113 pages, 1915.
Four great Masonic lectures views on Masonry's philosophy are shown here: each are different and from different times. Interesting view on a usually untouched topic. A short biography of each is included.
The Mystic Tie, Albert Mackey, 271 pages, 1867.
A good book by Mackey, who you may know of by his Masonic encyclopedia. Although it was written in the late 1840's, this book was ahead of its time. Broken into three parts, the second is a collection of short Masonic stories that show the practice of our ideals.
The Life Story of Albert Pike, Fred Allsopp, 1920, 159 pages.
A shortened, glamorized version of Pike's life. Typical of the dime novels in the early west. But, will give you some information on his life, if you neglect the hero worship in it.
The Book of Words, Albert Pike, 177 pages, unclear date.
You want deeper knowledge and light? Here is one for you. Pike explains word histories, gives his insights and passes on information on Hebrew, Samaritan, Phoenician and English Masonic words. At the end is a nice cross reference page of the letters of the alphabet (from all these), Hebrew numbers and their symbols and much, much more. Good basic edition of book, the hardback will give you even more.
Cagliostro's Egyptian Rite, 51 pages, handwritten notes, unknown date.
Laid out like our Scottish Rite ritual, this version shows a version with a totally Egyptian slant to it. Interesting, factual? Probably not. Different than the one I have in my library, but for those who like the Egyptian origins of our Craft, this is a nice read. Includes catechisms and alchemical information.
J.S.M. Ward's three books: The Entered Apprentice's Handbook, The Fellow Craft Handbook and The Master Mason's Handbook, 29, 23 & 32 pages, unknown date.
This set is a layered means of challenging the newly made Mason to learn and put into practice Masonic tenets. While each is small in pages, they are deep in symbolism and esoteric meaning. Practical for the initiate's conductors in the lodges also.
Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati, Volume One, G. W. Speth, 285 pages, 1887.
A great eclectic set of biographies, historic information, lodge papers and obituaries! There is something for every Mason in this book.
Light on Masonry, David Bernard, 607 pages, 1829.
An anti-Masonic book written by a sixth degree SR Mason. His acts to destroy the fraternity by revealing all their secrets, give us today a good account of the early degrees as he remembers them and an in depth look into some of the records in the William Morgan case.
Revised Freemasonry Illustrated, Jacob Doesburg, pages, 1922.
Another anti-Masonic book mainly interested in the first three degrees. It is written with not only the usually wailing, gnashing and fire breathing; but also with references to some very good Masonic goods as references. Quite unusual to see this kind of writing at this date. Some good, simple drawings fill out this book.
The Accepted Ceremonies, Albert Mason, London, 173 pages, 1880.
An English version of the Blue Lodge degrees, written by a true Mason.
The Freemason's Manual, Jeremiah How, 509 pages, London, 1881.
Not a word for word recounting of ritual, but a combination of portions and a general overview of many degrees. Included are some better than average Masonic poems and songs.
The Master Workman, Henry Atwood, New York, 450 pages, 1850.
A general overview of all the Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite and Royal Arch degrees. Some good woodcuts included in this book.
Freemasonry and Catholicism, Max Heindel, Oceanside, 121 pages, 1919.
The Rosicrucian Fellowship put out this book. The writer, not a Mason, gives his views on many topics besides what is included in the title. While sometimes hard to follow, the book has some interesting aspects to it. Definitely for the esoteric minded individual.
Biography and Dictionary, J. B. Lippencock, Philadelphia, 379 pages, 1868.
A good word source for definitions, those weird Masonic abbreviations and a few good Masonic catechisms (see King Henry's questions entry).
Masonic Library, George Oliver, Philadelphia, 757 pages, 1854.
Oliver's views on very early Masonry, early as in from the beginning of the world to the building of Solomon�s temple. Don't forget to look over the footnotes as they are for the most part well worth reading along with the preface to this book, as it contains a long list of Grand Masters starting in 597 A. D. and going to 1843. The early English Masonic history contained in it probably makes it one of Oliver's best.
Standard Ahiram Rezon, Walcott Redding, New York, 354 pages, 1889.
Good book on all aspects of Blue Lodge rituals and Masonic rules of order.
The Origin of the English Royal Arch Degree, George Oliver, London, 283 pages, 1867.
This book published after Oliver had died, contains a good biography of him and not only the ritual, doctrines and symbols of the Royal Arch; but an early interesting history of the group.
The Ashlar, Allyn Westen and E. W. Jones, volume five, Chicago, 643 pages, 1860.
A collection of magazine articles from before the Civil War that were printed in The Ashlar Masonic Magazine. Full of miscellaneous and eclectic information, good when you think you know everything there is to know about our Craft.
The Book of the Lodge, George Oliver, London, 245 pages, 1879.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the physical lodge building. From the proper time to lay the first cornerstone to aphorisms of general symbolism and synopsis of tracing boards.
Revelations of a Square, George Oliver, New York, 375 pages, 1874.
Chapters on many of the writers we see and read about: Anderson, Preston, Dodd and Desaguliers to name a few. A good book, written with a different slant.
The Master's Carpet, Edmond Ronayne, Chicago, 427 pages, 1887.
A very negative view of Freemasonry written by a past Master of the Craft. The title comes from the name he says is given to the chalk drawn diagrams on the floors of early lodges. Very revealing with great drawings. Editing is poor, but if you can get through the foul spewing of the author, a good source of early American ritual reveals itself.
The Text Book of Advanced Freemasonry, no author given, London, 297 pages, 1863.
A collection of higher degree notes and comments, especially on the Royal Arch and Knights Templar.
Thoughts Inspired by the Scottish Rite Degrees, Edgar Russell, Chicago, 1919.
A positive commentary on aspects of the first through thirty second degrees. The author has some good comments and while written almost 90 years ago, can be applied today to the reader's Masonic life.
The Freemason's Monitor, Thomas Webb, Salem, pages, 1818.
Webb's well known manual, based on Preston's work, but improved as he says for the American lodges. Good book that helps show the progression of ritual on our side of the Atlantic.
The Master Mason's Guide, A. J. Utley, St. Johns, 208 pages, 1865.
The author's attempt at the best manual of the day for the master mason. Includes old petitions for the degrees and most of the more important parts of the ritual with comments on the rest.