Research Tips

  • Select the topic including pertinent issues to be explored
  • Survey the literature relating to your topic
  • Define your topic of investigation in clear and specific terms
  • Formulate verifiable assumptions which govern the interpretation of results
  • Execute the research
  • Evaluate the results and draw conclusions

Recommended Book Sellers

Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Gift Shop

Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc.

Lewis Masonic Books

Kessinger Publishing Co.
(Kessinger publishes rare and out-of-print books in Alchemy, Esoteric, Freemasonry, Hermetic, Gnosticism, Metaphysical, Rosicrucian, Spiritual, and Theosophy. They have a lot of good items about Freemasonry but usually do not give the original dates, etc.)

Recommended Reading

This list for recommended reading is composed of books the Committee feels have the potential to provide Masonic Knowledge to the readers, but even more significant will stimulate the reader to think.

Please note that the appearance of these books on the recommended list is not to be taken as an endorsement by the Committee of either the authors or the contents. Indeed there are books, or parts thereof, on this list with which probably all members of the Committee would find fault.

It is the firm belief of the members of the Committee that all books read should stimulate the reader to think and, thus, books that appear here and with which you may disagree, are recommended for that purpose.

Many thousands of books concerning Freemasonry have been written during the past 300 years, with additional titles published every month. This list merely scratches the surface and is not intended to confine the reader to these titles alone. Where the participant has found a work that he feels worthy, the Committee would appreciate his comments regarding possible future inclusion.

History and Philosophy

(Books that could possibly be accepted as well-documented history or philosophy by scholars. Some in this list should instead be in other sections when reviewed but are temporary listed in this section.)

Abah, Chief Ranami, Light After Darkness.
Presented from an African perspective by a member of a Lodge warranted by Grand Lodge of Scotland. Study of the Fraternity.

Adams, George R., A Trilogy – Inner Journey to the East: Meditations of a Master Mason Along the Way: and Masonry for the Millennium

Barratt, Morris S. & Julius F. Sachse, Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, 1727-1907, Philadelphia, 1908, 1909, 1919 (3 Vols.)

Beless, James W., Freemen & Freemasonry: a Masonic Reader.
Principles of political and religious freedom as embodied by Freemasons.

Booudreau, Allan & Alex. Bleimann, George Washington in New York.

Borneman, Henry S., Early Freemasonry in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1931.

Bowen, Catherine Drinker, Miracle at Philadelphia, 1966.
Not a Masonic book but the story of the Constitutional Convention.

Brown, Walter Lee, Albert Pike – A Life Of

Bullock, Steven C., Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, 1730-1840, 1996.
Excellent book that looks at the beginning of Freemasonry in America and then each period as the Fraternity and the country matured. Contains detailed references.

Carr, Harry, The Freemason at Work, 1995 (Seventh and Revised Ed.)
Masonic symbolism, ritual, and history carefully explained.

Carr, Harry, The Early French Exposures, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1971, 488 pages.
An excellent reference for students wishing to read about the history of the early non-English rituals.

Carr, Harry, The Collected Prestonian Lectures 1925-1960, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 1967.
The lectures are likely the most outstanding papers presented on the history of the fraternity. 491 pages. Contemporary Masonic research in England.

Coil, Henry Wilson, A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry, 1973.
A presentation of Freemasonry in general.

Coil, Henry Wilson, Freemasonry Through Six Centuries, (Two Vols.) 1966.
Excellent study that traces the Craft through many lands and over 600 years. 2 vol.

Cook, Lewis C. (Ed.), Colonial Freemasonry.

Cryer, Neville Baker, I Just Didn’t Know That.

DiBernardo, Buillano, Freemasonry It’s Image of Man.

Dumenil, Lynn, Freemasonry and American Culture.

Dyer, Colin, William Preston and His Work, 1987.

Gilbert, R. A., Casting the First Stone.

Grand Lodge of the Philippines, Votaries of Honor. Grimble, Ian, Robert Burns.

Haffner, Christopher, Workman Unashamed, 1989.

Haggard, Forrest D., The Clergy and the Craft, 1970.
Views of a Masonic leader who is a P. M. and minister.

Hamill, John and R. A. Gilbert (Ed.), Freemasonry: A Celebration of the Craft, 1992.

Hamill, John & R. A. Gilbert, World Freemasonry: An Illustrated History, 1996

Hamill, John, The History of Freemasonry.

Hamilton, John D., Material Culture of the American Freemasons.

Hancox, Joy, The Byrom Collection: Renaissance Thought, The Royal Society and The Building of the Globe Theatre, Jonathan Cape, London, 1992.
Great detail of the pre-Masonic ritual and life and can contribute to those who feel that the Royal Society was the foundation from whence we came. It contains much that would also contribute to why geometry may have its position in our ritual.

Hancox, Joy, The Queen’s Chameleon.
Discusses Lord Byron and his actions at the time of the beginning of Freemasonry and his relations with the early Fraternity.

Heaton, Ronald E., Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, 1965.
Biographies of Masons involved with the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution and the Constitution.

Hernandez, Mabini G., Reflections on Masonic Values.
Originally from “Dear Dad” letters. Good advice.

Horne, Alex, King Solomon’s Temple in the Masonic Tradition.

Home, Alex, Sources of Masonic Symbolism, Macoy, 1981.
Readable historical basis for much of Freemasonry.

Hunter, C. Gruce, Beneath the Stone.

Huss, Wayne A., The Master Builders: A History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania, (Three Vols.), 1986-1988-1989.

Jackson, A. C. F., English Masonic Exposures 1760-1769, Lewis Masonic, 1986.
Includes full transcripts of Three Distinct Knocks, 1760; Jachin and Boaz, 1762; and Shibboleth, 1765 and commentaries. Has been referred to many times as possible references to early ritual work as there are no official rituals from those days.

Jacobs, Margaret Jacobs, Living the Enlightenment: Freemasonry and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Europe, Oxford Univ. Press, 1991.
An excellent reference on some of Europe’s early Freemasonry. A solid history with many notes and references. Very valuable.

Johnson, Melvin M., The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Kingsport, Tenn. 1924.

Jones, Bernard E., Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium, 1950, 1956.
A clear view of Speculative Masonry and its amazing growth.

Jones, Frank B., Benjamin Franklin: 1706-1790.

Jordan, H. Glenn, Let There Be Light (A History of Freemasonry in Louisiana 1763-1989).

Kennon, Donald R., A Republic for the Ages.

Knoop, Douglas, G. P. Jones, & Douglas Hamer, The Early Masonic Catechisms, 1953, 1963.

Lessing, Gotthold, Lessing’s Masonic Dialogues, Masonic Book Club, 1991.
Serves as an excellent reference for his thinking in Germany at the time he joined the Fraternity.

MacBride, A. S., Speculative Masonry: Its Mission, Its Evolution and Its Landmarks, Macoy, 1924, 1971.

MacNulty, W. Kirk, Freemasonry – A Journey Through Ritual and Symbol, Thames and Hudson, London, 1991.
Beautifully illustrated introduction to Freemasonry.

McLeod, Wallace, The Quest for Light, 1997.

McLeod, Wallace, The Grand Design, Anchor Communications, Highland Springs, VA, 1991.
Addresses articles on many aspects of Freemasonry including old charges and why they are different.

McLeod, Wallace, A Candid Disquisition, Masonic Book Club, Bloomington, Ill., 1989.

Morris S. Brent, Cornerstones of Freedom – A Masonic Tradition.
Discusses the cornerstone laying ceremony and its history.

Morris, S. Brent, A Radical in the East, Iowa Research Lodge, 1993.
Discusses myths and beliefs in our ritual system.

Munn, Sheldon A., Freemasons at Gettysburg.
Story of the Friend to Friend monument at Gettysburg.

Nettl, Paul, Mozart and Masonry, Dorset Press, New York, 1957.
The life and Masonic record of this great composer. (Library).

Newton, Joseph Fort, The Builders, McCoy Publishing Co., Richmond, 1914.
History, interpretation, and prophecy. Includes questions for study. Great book for the new Mason. Classic.

Partner, Peter, The Murdered Magicians: The Templars and their Myth, Oxford Univ. Press, 1987.
An excellent book that not only discusses the original Knight Templars but also covers the period after their end with detailed discussion of how they were perceived by the public in each period.

Pick, Fred L. & G. Norman Knight, The Pocket History of Freemasonry, 1953.

Pike, Albert., Morals and Dogma, Supreme Council of the S.J., Charleston, 1871 and numerous succeeding editions.
A very hard read. It is the major compilation of Pike’s writings on his view of the questionable history of mystic studies. Basis of some of the Scottish Rite rituals.

Pound, Roscoe, Masonic Addresses and Writings of Roscoe Pound, NY, 1955.

Rajendran, V., Fiat Lux – Selected Masonic Essays.

Roberts, Allen E., House Undivided, 1961.
Story of Freemasonry and the Civil War.

Roberts, Allen E., Freemasonry in American History, 1985.
The story of the Fraternity in the founding of the United States.

Roberts, Allen E., Key to Freemasonry’s Growth, 1969.

Roberts, Allen E., The Mystic Tie, 1991.
Covers many topics in Robert’s style from history to current events.

Roberts, Allen E., Masonic Trivia & Facts, 1994.
Information packed into more than 600 questions and answers.

Roberts, Allen E., The Craft and Its Symbols, 1974.
Classic introduction to Freemasonry.

Roberts, Allen E., George Washington: Master Mason.
Story of Washington and the Fraternity using many of his own words.

Roberts, Allen E., Brother Truman.
A sympathetic biography of Bro. and President Truman.

Roberts, Allen E. and Wallace McLeod, Freemasonry and Democracy – Its Evolution in North America.
Discusses role of the Fraternity in the development of the U.S. and Canada.

Robinson, John J., A Pilgrim’s Path, 1993.
Discusses history, anti-Masonry, and the author’s feelings as he decides to petition the Fraternity. Recommended for beginners.

Robinson, John J., Dungeon, Fire and Sword: The Knights Templar in the Crusades, M. Evans and Co., 1991.
The story of the warrior monks who occupied the Temple Mount after the First Crusade.

Roy, Thomas S., Stalwart Builders – The Grand Lodge of Masons in Mass.: 1730-1970, Boston, 1971.

Sachse, Julius F., Old Masonic Lodges of PA, Moderns and Ancients, 1730-1800, Philadelphia, 1912, 1913, (2 Vols.).

Smith, Douglas, Working the Rough Stone: Freemasonry and Society in 18th Century Russia, Northern Ill. Univ. Press, DeKalb, 1999.

Smith, Dwight L., Whither Are We Traveling?, 1962.

Steblecki, Edith J., Paul Revere and Freemasonry, Paul Revere Memorial Assoc., 1985.
Description of Freemasonry and life in that period.

Stevenson, David, The First Freemasons: Scotland’s Early Lodges and Their Members, Aberdeen Univ. Press., 1988.
Detailed study of the first lodges in Scotland from study of the early records of the lodges. Most of these lodges existed from records before 1598 when St. Clair organized a few of Scotland’s earliest lodges and may have built the organization that exists today.

Stevenson, David, The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century, 1590-1710, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988.
Detailed study by a historian of the background of the philosophy of the Fraternity and the early operative and non-operative fraternity in Scotland before the founding of the Grand Lodge in England. For those who claim that the fraternity came from the operative masons, this is a must read.

Tresner, Jim and John Mandleberg, Albert Pike: The Man Beyond the Monument, Scottish Rite Research Society, 1995.
Story of the man, Freemason, and general who was a Masonic leader.

Vaughn, William P., The Anti-Masonic Party in the United States, 1826-1843.

United Grand Lodge of England, Grand Lodge 1717-1967, Oxford Univ. Press, 1967.

Weir, John, Robert Burns – The Freemason, Lewis Masonic, 1986.
Study of Burn’s Masonic career and the Scottish Fraternity in that period.

Welchans, George R., History of Lodge No. 43, F&AM, Lancaster, PA, (Various Editions).
Contains history of the revolt of the country lodges, as well as Buchanan Masonic material.

Weisberger, R. William, Speculative Freemasonry & The Enlightenment.

Wells, Roy A., The Rise and Development of Organized Freemasonry, 1986.

Wells, Roy A., Understanding Freemasonry.
Some of his classic writing.

Wilmshurst, W. L., The Meaning of Masonry, Gramercy Books, New York, 1980.
Exposition of character, meaning, and religious aspect of the Fraternity.

Historical Masonic Theories

(Concepts not always rated as historically valid or standard Masonic theories.)

Baigerit, Michael & Richard Leigh, The Temple and the Lodge, 1989.

Bromwell, H. P. H., Restorations of Masonic Geometry, Kessinger.
Book goes into great detail on the supposed geometry of the lodge rooms. For students who are interested in the reasons for some traditions. 559 pages.

Dempsey, Al, What Law There Was, Tor Paperback, 1991.
A wonderful story that reads like a novel but has base in fact of the “wild west” and start of the Fraternity in Montana. It is recommended for those wanting light reading of a western book.

Knight, Christopher and Robert Lomas, The Hiram Key, Element Books, Rockport, Maine., 1996.
A book that claims that the Hiram story came from Egypt at the time of Joseph and carried down through the ages. It is interesting but likely only a good story. However those interested in – from whence came the Fraternity – will enjoy its theories.

Knight, Christopher and Robert Lomas, The Second Messiah.
It is filled with stories of the Knights Templar and pre-Masonic topics and ideas. Enjoyable reading for those who like to think about the Middle Ages and the fanciful histories of the fraternity.

Knight, Christopher and Robert Lomas, Uriel’s Machine.
A third book by the authors of Hiram’s Key. This book looks at the pre-history of Europe and the Bible and comes with a theory of both unproved pre-history and pre-Masonic history. It is pure theory and will be enjoyable for those who like to think of pre-history and the possibilities of the Fraternity’s history.

Noone, Richard W., 5/5/2000: Ice: The Ultimate Disaster, Three Rivers Press, New York, 1982. Paper.
Interesting book for those who like to read ideas of pre-history foundations of the possible Masonic philosophy. Reads well and has many Masonic ideas in it if one ignores the theory that the end of the earth, as we know it, should have been May 2000. Book does have many ideas and reads well.

Robinson, John J., Born in Blood, 1989.
The author builds a hypothesis for Freemasonry to be the continuation of the Knights Templar.

Yates, Frances A., The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Barnes and Noble, 1972.
Study of the “Enlightenment” with an idea that Dr. John Dee was the founder of Rosicrucianism and that it returned to England as Freemasonry. An exact history of where the early Fraternity in London originated is not known, but Ms. Yates makes a good theory of a history of the Fraternity. It also tells her theory of our ritual and philosophy.


(Books are included here that are interesting or historical fiction which are of interest to Freemasons because of the content. They usually present enjoyable material so their reading will be both beneficial and educational.)

Eco, Unberto, Foucault’s Pendulum, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1989.
A novel that gives a study of the pre-Masonic mystic life in Europe. Includes much of Masonic symbolism.

Fink, Steven, The Hailing Sign, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1987. 403 pages.
A novel that members of the Fraternity may find enjoyable.

Follett, Ken, The Pillars of the Earth, Signet, 1990.
A paperback novel that looks at the operative Craft in Europe with the story of a master craftsman.

George, P. W., The Lodge in Friendship Village and Other Stories, Masonic Book Club, 1987.
A series of enjoyable and interesting stories that will make one think of the way lodges operated in a more relaxed day in small communities.

Kipling, Rudyard, The Man Who Would Be King, Dover, New York, 1994.
Paperback in Dover’s “Thrift Series.” There is also a movie of this book. Can be enjoyed for the story and symbolism.

Kurtz, Katherine, Two Crowns for America.
Historical novel about Freemasonry and the Revolutionary War. Offer of kingship of America to Bonnie Prince Charles.

Mellr, Alex, Strange Masonic Stories, Macoy, 1982.
Historical fiction.

Masonic Reference

(These references will be very beneficial to those doing research but cannot fit the category of books that are read to meet the requirements of the Certificates.)

The Bible

Coil, Henry Wilson, Coil’s Masonic Encyclopedia, 1961.

Denslow, William R., 10,000 Famous Freemasons, 1957.

Henderson, Kent, Masonic World Guide, 1984
Not a book to read but one that gives detail and addresses of Grand and local lodges worldwide, plus what to expect if visiting internationally. A directory of rules for visitations to lodges worldwide and tips for the traveling Mason.

Little Masonic Library, Vols. I – V, Macoy Publishing Co.
Five volumes of essays on many aspects of Freemasonry. Articles by Claudy, Pike, Pound, etc.

Morris, S. Brent, Masonic Philanthropies – A Tradition of Caring, 2nd. Edition.

Roberts, Allen E., Who Is Who in Freemasonry.

Van Gorden, John H., Medieval Historical Characters in Freemasonry, Masonic Book Club, 1987.
Biographies of 47 historical individuals.

Van Gorden, John H., Ancient and Early Medieval Historical Characters in Freemasonry, Supreme Council A.A.S.R., N. M. J., 1986.

Waite, Arthur Edward., A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vols. I and II, Weathervane Books, New York, 1970.

Working of the Lodges

(Books that are focused on the current ritual and workings of lodges as well as the administration of lodges and other Masonic bodies.)

Claudy, Carl H., The Master’s Book, 1935.
For the Warden preparing for his term as Worshipful Master.

Roberts, Allen E., Masonic Lifeline – Leadership.
A manual for “growing” leaders of Freemasons.

Beaumont, John E., Freemasonry at the Top.
Easy to read and helpful to those who would be our leaders.

Freemasonry and Religion

Leazer, Gary, Fundamentalism and Freemasonry, M. Evans and Co., New York, 1995.

Morris, S. Brent and Art deHoyos, Is it True What They Say About Freemasonry.
A discussion of the things said negatively against the fraternity and a point-by-point discussion.

Thron, Richard, The Boy Who Cried Wolf – Understanding The Man Who Lies About Masons, M. Evans and Co., New York, 1994.
Treats religion and Freemasonry from view of a P. M., missionary, and fundamentalist Christian.

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