There are several Masonic books in existence. But there are a select few that are very hard to find. These ones are the rare ones.
The First Masonic Book to be Published in America
The very first edition of the first Masonic book to be published in America was printed by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1734. It is titled ‘The Constitutions of the Freemasons.’ It is a reprint of ‘Andersons Constitutions’ by Brother James Andersons. It was printed by William Hunter in London and published in 1723. It was published under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England.
The Constitutions of the Freemasons contains the regulations, charges and history of the Freemason Brotherhood. James Anderson took his time to compile the book.
The book, ‘The Constitutions of the Freemasons’ played a fundamental role in the development of colonial society and the formation of the Republic. The book contains a 40-page history of Freemasonry starting from Adam right down to the When King George I started his rule.
It is a good historical account that tells a lot about Architecture and Geometry in Freemason. It also mentions various historical figures like King Athelstan the Saxon, King James I of England, Augustus Caesar, Vitruvius, Inigo Jones, Abraham, Hiram Abif, Moses, Nebuchadnezzar, Noah and Solomon.
But that reprint by Benjamin Franklin in 1734 is now very scarce. The only known copy of it is in possession of the library of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
Rare Masonic Books of The Knights Templar
The Trials of The Templars
Not long ago, The Trials of The Templars in a two-volume set was donated the Library of the Supreme Council, of the Scottish Rite in Washington DC. The Trials of The Templars titled ‘Processus Contra Templario’ contains a true historical account of how the Templars were executed and the political circumstances that surrounded the execution of the Templars.
The Trials of The Templars was published in 2007 by the Vatican Secret Archives. Only 799 copies of the book were made. It is a facsimile transcription that was made into English and Italian of the confessions. It was made to a commission that was appointed by Pope Clement V by 72 templar knights who were under interrogation from June 28, 1308 to July 2, 1308.
These two volumes also contain The Chinon Parchment. The Chinon Parchment was rediscovered in 2001 after it had been misfiled in the Secret Archives of the Vatican. The Chinon Parchment is the papal absolution of the Templars from all the heresy charges they faced. There are only 2 copies out of the 799 copies made in Masonic libraries. The two facsimile volumes are bound in leather with gold leaf lettering inside a leather case.
One of the books contain facsimiles of the original parchment documents while the other book contains the English and Italian translations of the documents. The Chinon Parchment contains the impressions of the three wax seals of cardinals Berenger Fredol, Pierre de La Chapel and Pietro Colonna.
Some Other Rare Masonic Books
Some other rare Masonic books include:
Printed copies of the 18th century Masonic orations like the ones delivered by Thaddeus Mason Harris and Isaiah Thomas.
Very early editions of Hieroglyphic Monitor or The True Masonic Chart by Jeremy Cross which was compiled by Amos Doolittle. It was printed in Connecticut in 1820.
Help to a Brother or Ahiman Rezon by Laurence Dermott. In 1756, the first edition of this book was printed by James Bedford in London. A digested and abridged version was printed by William Smith in 1783. The abridged version was published by the Grand Lodge of Philadelphia in 1783.
If you simply want to read these books instead of collecting them as an investment or donating them to a Masonic library, you can purchase one of the mass market editions.
There are other rare Masonic books apart from these ones. You can search for them online
Why You May Need Rare Masonic Books
You may need rare Masonic books for the following purposes:
- To give a sound Masonic speech about a lesser known Masonic topic
- For research purposes if you want to write a Masonic book
- To add to your personal library or collection
- To donate to a Masonic library or museum
- To write a Masonic research paper