The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand
Lodge is one of the world's largest collections of books, artifacts, memorabilia and
archival holdings relating to the subject of Freemasonry. For over 150 years, the
Library has pursued its mission to collect, study and preserve the Masonic heritage,
focusing its efforts on the history and impact of Freemasonry in New York State.
History of the Livingston Masonic Library
The Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge (F&AM) of the
State of New York was founded in the 1850s to house the books and records held by the
Grand Lodge. The Library expanded in the late 19th century with the addition of the
collection of Robert Morris, Masonic poet laureate, and continued to grow through
donations and acquisitions of new books relating to Freemasonry. In 1935, the Library and
the Grand Lodge Board of Antiquities were combined under the Board of General Activities,
and the Library and Museum became a single entity, occupying space at Masonic Hall at 71
West 23rd Street in Manhattan. The Library served primarily as a reading room for Masons.
Throughout the 20th century, the resources and services of the Library continued to expand
under the guidance of Wendel K. Walker. The Library began to assume its role as a premiere
center for Masonic research. This status was validated in 1983 with the achievement of a
charter from the New York State Board of Regents as the Chancellor Robert R Livingston
Masonic Library of Grand Lodge. The year 1996 saw a relocation of the Library to the 14th
floor of Masonic Hall, where facilities were constructed to provide adequate environmental
controls for the book and artifact collections.
The Library is open for research to Masons and non-Masons.
The Library staff is available to provide some assistance for on-site visitors. While the
stacks are closed, the staff will assist researchers in using the card catalog, computer
database catalog, and finding aids to access whatever information may assist in answering
the patron's questions. Photocopies of Library material are available at a cost of $0.25
The circulating book collection is composed of books
published after 1920, of which the Library has at least two copies. One reference copy of
each title is kept on the shelves at all times. Any New York State Master Mason in good
standing with a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of New York may check out
up to five books at a time for a period of three weeks.
Borrowing Policy and Procedures
The Library's catalog of books underwent retrospective
conversion in the year 2001. We continue to refine our digitally-converted card catalog.
The Trustees and Staff of the Library have formulated an ambitious Five Year Plan to
digitally convert the artifact and manuscript collections, to be made available in
progressive stages to Masonic and non-Masonic patrons across the world. Both
collections are now available on-line.
The Library's Utica Campus
The Utica Branch houses numerous artifacts relating to the
history of Freemasonry with particular emphasis on Masonry in upstate New York. Tours and
research at the Utica Branch are available by appointment by contacting RW Charles Haskin, at 315-798-4832.
Support the Library's Mission
Donations to assist the Library with its operating expenses
and with ongoing projects may be made by New York Masons through the Masonic Brotherhood
Fund, with donations earmarked to the Livingston Masonic Library and Museum. Interested
members of the public may contact the director at 212-337-6620. All donations to the
Library are tax deductible.
©2007, The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge. This page last updated 4/12/2008.