Music by Brother J. L. F. Mendelssohn.
THE BALTIMORE BOOK PROGRAM
S. Brent Morris, P.M.
Maryland libraries had a problem shared by
many public libraries around the country: few
good Masonic books were on their shelves. Most
public libraries, if they have any books on
Masonry at all, are as likely to have inaccurate
anti-Masonic volumes. This is not due to any
conspiracy of librarians but rather the result of
the way books are marketed. Publishers of anti-Masonic books have an ax to grind and promote
their publications aggressively. Librarians, usually overworked and underfunded, cannot be
experts in all areas of research and so rely on the
information available to them.
What can we do about this situation?
The Scottish Rite Valley of Baltimore,
Maryland, came up with one answer: a successful program that has put good Masonic books on
the shelves of Maryland's public libraries. The
Baltimore book program is simple, and its
accomplishment can be easily duplicated, if a
few simple rules are followed. The program was
developed as part of the activities of the Valley
of Baltimore's Committee on Education.*
Before embarking on your own book program,
the most important point to realize is that many
libraries are cautious of citizens offering to
donate books. Experience has shown libraries
that groups with strong positions on religious,
political, social, or other controversial issues
want their books on the shelves (often to the
exclusion of all others).
A library can easily become the battleground
for an imbroglio, with opposing sides fighting for
the "right" books on the shelves. Further, it is not
uncommon for citizens to clean out their attics,
drop off boxes of worthless books at the library.
*This program is adapted from "The Baltimore
Book Program," The Scottish Rite Journal,
December 1992. It was developed by Bros.
Charles F. Reid, III, 32ø, and Dr. S. Brent
Morris, 33ø, Chairman of the Committee on
and expect a large tax write-off for their largesse.
To overcome these problems, the Baltimore
Scottish Rite Committee on Education worked
with the libraries as a partner who could help
them fill in gaps in their collection. Using an earlier version of the book list published with this
Short Talk Bulletin, the committee showed the
librarians how the Masons could expand each
library's collections in biography, American history, decorative arts, as well as Freemasonry.
Please note that the book list is intended for the
curious general reader. It is not a specialized list
for the Mason. The results have been enthusiastic appreciation and increased opportunities for
Marylanders to find out about our gentle Craft,
all at a modest cost.
Your Valley (or Lodge or Commandery or
Shrine Temple) can easily duplicate the success
of Baltimore. The program is outlined below.
Follow its steps, adapting for your local conditions, and success will be hard to miss. When
you present books to your library, be sure to take
pictures for your Grand Lodge publication and
invite the local press to record the event.
1. Copy the list of books given below, removing the prices and revising it as necessary. It consists of books that should have broad interest for
general readers. The books are currently in print
and the pricing is accurate, but confirm this and
make sure you know where to order them. Some
titles may have to be special ordered through a
bookstore, perhaps at a local college. Be sure to
add books of regional interest to the list (Lodge
or Grand Lodge histories, for example).
2. Contact the central of fice of your library system and find out who is responsible for acquisitions. Call this person, explain how you want to
help the library expand its collection, and make
an appointment to visit in person. When you
visit, bring a copy of the book list and a cover letter explaining your book program. Point out
books with particular local appeal. For example,
Masonic Philanthropies describes many local
charitable activities. If any of your local activities
are described in it, be sure to highlight that fact in
the book list. Offer to bring in any of the books
for inspection, to provide as many copies of each
title as needed, and to try to obtain any other
Masonic title desired even if it is not on the list.
3. Check back in a few weeks with the acquisitions oifice and determine which books are wanted. Order them and arrange for a presentation,
preferably with local news coverage.
4. Follow up your presentation about a year
later. Find out how often the books have been
checked out during the year (but don't ask who
may have checked them out--that's sensitive,
privileged information to libraries). See if there
are any other titles the library would like to have.
From time to time, as general books on
Freemasonry are published, offer to add these to
the library's collection. A good source for these
titles are the book review columns of Masonic
publications, like The Scottish Rite Journal, The
Northern Light, The Philalethes, The Royal Arch
Mason Magazine, or The Knight Templar.
Addresses for Masonic Books:
Macoy Publishing and Masonic Supply Co.,
Inc., 3011 Old Dumbarton Rd., Richmond, VA
23228-0759, (804) 262-655 1 .
Masonic Service Association of the U.S., 8120
Fenton St., Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785,
Museum of Our National Heritage, P.O. Box
519, Lexington, MA 02173, (617) 861-6559.
Quatuor Coronati Correspondence Circle, Ltd.,
60 Great Queen St., London SC2B 5BA,
England, 0171 405 7340.
Supreme Council, 33ø, S.J., 1733 16th St.,
N.W., Washington, DC 20009-3199, (202) 232-
Recommended bY the Masonic Information Center
Masonic Service Association of the United States
8120 Fenton SL, Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785
Coil, Henry Wilson. A Comprehensive View of
Freem~sonry. 256 pp., 1954, ISBN: 0-88053-
053-7. General. $14.50 from Macoy.
One of the best general books available on
Freemasonry. Covers the broad topics of
Masonic history, organization, and purpose for
the general reader.
Cook, Lewis C., ed. Colonial Freemasonry.
235 pp., 1974. General. $7.50 from Macoy.
A collection of 13 essays on early American
Freemasonry prepared by experts from each of
the original Colonies. The rise and development
of Freemasonry in each Colony, together with its
involvement with the Revolutionary War, are
Dumenil, Lynn. Freemasonry and American
Culture, 1880-1930. 217 pp., 1989, ISBN: 0-
A study of the evolution of Victorian-era
Freemasonry into its modem organization. Nicely
covers the social forces that shaped the fratemity
as well as the religious attacks against it.
Franco, Barbara. Fraternally Yours: A Decade
of Collecting. 80 pp., 1986. Introductory. $14
from the Museum of Our National Heritage.
The catalog of a special exhibit showing
decorations, certificates, and regalia of American
fratemal orders, including Masons, Odd Fellows,
Redmen, and others.
Haffner, Christopher. Workman Unashamed
217 pp., 1989, ISBN: 0-85318-167-5. Advanced.
$23.00 from Macoy.
An analysis and refutation of the commonly
made charges that Freemasonry is anti-Christian.
Provides a historical background of religious
attacks against the Masonic Fratemity, and
answers them on both a theological and practical
Hamill, John. The History of Engli.sh
Freemasonry. 240 pp.+ 5 cassettes or CDs, 1994,
ISBN: 0-85318-205-1. Introductory. $69.95 post
paid from Q.C.C.C., Ltd.
A splendid brief history of the development of
Freemasonry in England and its organization
there today. This is an excellent introduction to
the origins of Freemasonry.
Hamill, John and R. A. Gilbert. World
Freemasonry: An Illustrated History. 224 pp.,
1991, ISBN: 1-85030-722-8. Introductory/
General. $52.00 from Q.C.C.C., Ltd.
A profusely illustrated general history of
Freemasonry with good coverage of Britain,
Europe, and America. This is an excellent, readable, and accurate single-volume history of the
craft covering most aspects of Masonry.
Hamilton, John D. Material Culture of the
American Freemasons. 329 pp., 1994. General.
$75 + $3.50 from the Museum of Our National
This is a sumptuously illustrated "catalogue of
Masonic artifacts and a history of their ownership." This book should be of particular interest
to those who collect and want to identify
American decorative arts. There are hundreds of
illustrations, 36 in color.
Heaton, Ron. Masonic Membership of the
Founding Fathers. 164 pp., 1965. Advanced.
$2.00 PPD from MSA.
A complete listing of the signers of the Articles
of Confederation, the Declaration of
Independence, the Constitution, and other
Founding Fathers. Brief biographies are given
together with precise details of each persons
Masonic membership or non-membership.
Henderson, Kent. Masonic World Guide. 416
pp., ISBN 0-85318-139 X, 1984. Advanced.
$10.00 Irom Macoy.
Each regular Grand Lodge in the world is
briefly described with a special eye towards visitors to Masonic Lodge meetings. Meeting customs, dress, and regalia are all summarized tor
over 200 ditterent countries.
Home, Alex. King Solomons Temple il7 the
Masol7ic Tradilioll. 352 pp., 1971, ISBN:
0-85030-052-5. Advanced. $15.95 from Macoy.
A specialized book that details the interpretations given to the architecture and decoration of
Solomon's Temple by Freemasons through the
Jacob, Margaret C. Li~ing the Enlighte)1mc~lt.
3()4 pp., 1991, ISBN: ()-19-506992-7 Advanced.
$49.95 irom Oxford University Press, Inc., 800-
A scholarly study of Freemasonry and politics
in eighteenth-century Europe which shows the
influence Masonic Lodges had on the enlightenment.
Lipson, Dorothy Ann. Freemas(Jnr! in
Federali.st Connecticut. 380 pp., 1977, ISBN: 0-
691-04646-8. Advanced. $52.50 from Princeton
A comprehensive .study of the Masonic
Fraternity in tederalist Connecticut. The reli-
gious, political, and social backgrounds of
Lodges are studied together with their impact on
general Connecticut society of the day.
Morris, S. Brent. Corner.stone.s of Freedom.
195 pp., 1994. Introductory. $12.00 from The
Supreme Council 33ø, S.J.
A history of Masonic comerstone layings, with
emphasis on the White House and the U.S.
Capitol. Includes the Statue of Liberty, the B. &
O. Railroad, the Erie Canal, and many, many
more. Thorough illustrations, especially of
Morris, S. Brent and Art deHoyos. Is It True
What They Say About Freemasonry~ 60 pp.,
1994. Introductory. $3.50 postpaid, M.S.A.
A reasoned response to recent anti-Masonic
attacks on the fratemity. The authors discuss the
organization of Masonry and the Albert Pike and
Lucifer hoax. They also analyze the verifiably
false charges of Rev. Ron Carlson and Rev.
James D. Shaw.
Morris, S. Brent. Masonic Philanthropies. 100
pp., 1991. Introductory. $2.00 from The
Supreme Council 33ø, S.J.
A summary of the $525 million in charitable
expenditures made by American Masons in
1990, including a brief history of Freemasonry,
several case histories, and a directory of Masonic
Museum of Our National Heritage. Masonic
Symbols in American Decorative Arts. 112 pp.,
1976. General. $7 from the Museum of Our
The catalog of a special exhibit of various art
torms, including quilts, fumiture, glassware,
etc., decorated with Masonic symbols. Included
is a listing of common Masonic symbols to help
in identifying designs.
Roberts, Allen E. G. Washington: Master
Mason. 222 pp., 1976, ISBN: 0-88053-()60-X.
Introductory. $11.50 from Macoy.
A biography of Washington highlighting his
Roberts, Allen E. Br(~ther Trumal1. 314 pp.,
1976, ISBN: 0-935633-01-4. Introductory.
$14.50 trom Macoy.
A biography of Harry Truman highlighting his
Roberts, Allen E. House Undivicled. The Stor
of Freemasonry and the Civil War. 384 pp.,
1961, ISBN: 0-88053-056-1. Advanced. $22.95
A detailed history of Freemasonry during the
Civil War, including lengthy quotations from
state Masonic meetings in the North and South.
Provides a glimpse into a little-appreciated
aspect of the war.
Roberts, Allen E. Masonic Trivia and Fact.s.
216 pp., 1994, ISBN 0-935633-14-6.
Introductory. $18.95 from MSA
A collection of 625 brief facts and trivia about
Masonry, each carefully checked for accuracy.
This book gives an easy-reading overview of
Masonry, with tidbits about famous Masons,
Masonic legends, and Masonic accomplishments.
Robinson, John J. A Pilgrim's Path. 180 PP.,
1993, ISBN: 0-87131-732-X. Introductory.
$17.95 from Macoy.
A personal reflection by a historian on his studies of Freemasonry, on modern anti-Masonry,
and on his decision to become a Mason.
Vaughn, William P. The Anti-Masonic Party
in the United States, 1826-1843. 244 PP., 1983,
ISBN: 0-8131-1474-8. Advanced. $22.00 from
University of Kentucky Press.
A thorough history of the first political Party to
hold a national nominating convention, including state-by-state assessments of the party's
power, influence, and eventual dissolution.
TEMPORARILY OUT OF PRINT
Claudy, Carl H. ed. Little Masonic Library. 5
vols. ISBN: 0-88053-005-7. General. From
Macoy. Temporarily out of print. Scheduled for
reprint 1995-1996. A collection of 20 short
books for the specialist or Mason, including
a reproduction of Andersons Constitutions
of 1723, and articles on the landmarks of
Freemasonry, the Morgan Affair and antiMasonry, Mormonism and Freemasonry,
Freemasonry and the American Revolution, the
York and Scottish Rites, and more.
Coil, Henry Wilson et al. Coil's Masonic
Encyclopedia. 749 PP., 1961, ISBN: 0-88-53-
054-5. Introductory/General. From Macoy.
Temporarily out of print. Scheduled for reprint
An extremely detailed collection of articles,
brief to lengthy, which give a thorough discussion of virtually all Masonic topics. A specialized book full of historical detail. (A revised edition of Coil's Encyclopedia will be published in
Denslow, Ray. V. 10,000 Famous Freemasons. 4 vols., 1,450 PP., 1961, ISBN:
0-88053-072-3. General. $29.95 from Macoy.
Temporarily out of print. Scheduled for reprint
This is the standard reference on well-known
Freemasons, with a brief biography of each as
well as their Masonic background. Masons
listcd include Wolfgang Mozart, George
Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Harry Truman,
Winston Churchill and 9,995 more.
The Masonic Information Center is very
pleased to be able to respond to one of our most
frequently asked questions:
"What Masonic books would you recommend?"
We are responding to this request using the
Short Talk Bulletin format. Because of its length
we have gone from the usual 8 pages to 12
The list is not intended to be "all-inclusive" but
rather a "suggested " list to those who would like
to start a program in their local library.
We know several Grand Lodges are encouraging such programs and we would ask any Lodge
considering such an undertaking to contact their
The Masonic Inforrnation Center
8120 Fenton St.
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4785
Phone; (301 ) 588-4010
Fax: (301) 608-3547
With special thanks to S. Brent Morris, Masonic
Author for his work preparing this Short Talk