Freemasons and their families will be familiar with Freemasonry Today, the quarterly magazine sent to all members. What they may not know is that there is a long tradition of magazines and newspapers published for a Masonic audience.
These publications are important sources not only for understanding the issues within freemasonry but for providing information about the individuals involved and the localities where lodges were based. Few complete series of these periodicals are held in libraries and they have only limited indexes.
The Library and Museum of Freemasonry* based at Freemasons’ Hall, Great Queen Street, London and partnered with King’s College London Digital Humanities and Olive Software, has undertaken a ground breaking project to provide free access to searchable digital copies of the major English Masonic publications from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries.
The major titles digitised for this project, which comprises approximately 75,000 pages, are as follows (shown with the dates of publication available digitally):
- Freemasons' magazine: or, general and complete library (later The scientific magazine and Freemason’s repository) 1793-8
- The Freemasons' quarterly review 1834-49
- The Freemasons’ magazine and masonic mirror 1856-71
- The Freemason 1869-1901
- The Freemason’s chronicle 1875-1901
- Masonic illustrated: a monthly journal for freemasons 1900-1906
The site also includes articles about the development of the masonic press.
*The Library and Museum of Freemasonry hosts exhibitions on a regular basis, the current one – “Encounters: Artists and Freemasonry” - continues until Friday 20th September 2013 and explores how artists have responded to freemasonry over the last 300 years. It features the work of William Hogarth in the 18th century, the photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn in the 20th century and several artists from across Europe working today.