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Livingston Masonic Library Reading Room Closed Beginning 3/16!!

Due to the rapidly changing situation in New York City around novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and as a precaution to protect the health and safety of our staff, the Livingston Masonic Library will remain closed until further notice. We believe that we must do all that we can to ensure a safe and healthy environment for …

A holiday greeting from the Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

On behalf of the Trustees and Staff of the Robert R Livingston Masonic Library, I extend warmest Holiday greetings to our Brothers, their families and to all of the Library’s many friends.  We thank you all for your generosity, support, and goodwill this past year. Through your participation in the Library’s programs, it is our …

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The 1919 Time Capsule of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital

By Alexander Vastola Director, The Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge During the Special Communication of Freemasons at the Utica campus on October 5th, 2019, I was honored when M.’.W.’. William Sardone, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of New York, invited me to …

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MW Daniel M Semel’s 60th Anniversary Special Exhibit

To celebrate 60 years of Masonic service of MW Daniel M. Semel, Past Judge Advocate, the Library and Museum organized a special display consisting of documents from Lodge Historical File of Shakespeare Lodge no.750, books from the library collection, and artifacts from the museum related to MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of New York. MW …

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Exploring the Travel Certificate Collection

Folded and attached to a leather case, a travel certificate is carried and used as Masonic identification when a Mason visits foreign Lodges. In the Museum collection, we have a sub-collection of travel certificates, and I am pleased to share some of the interesting pieces I have found during my work with this collection. Illuminated …

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Highlights of the Library’s Coin and Medal Collection

Among the 60,000 artifacts in our care, we have a fascinating coin and medal collection which reflects both rich Masonic history as well as the history of the world. As I have been cataloging and studying them, I am excited to share with everyone some of the collection’s highlights that I have come across . …

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Recent Acquisitions

The Theatre of The Occult Revival: Alternative Spiritual Performance from 1875 to the Present This volume offers a thorough exploration of the religious foundations, political and social significance and aesthetics created by some of the most influential voices of the Occult Revival including, Aleister Crowley, Rudolf Steiner, and Katherine Tingley. Lingan’s text explores how theatre …

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The General Meeting of the Square Club of the 4th Masonic District of Manhattan

By Catherine M. Walter, Curator and Ratirat Osiri, Assistant Curator On November 14, 2018, The Square Club of the Fourth Masonic District of Manhattan, Inc. held a General Meeting Festive Board in the Ionic Room at Masonic Hall in New York City.  At the meeting, the Square Club hosted RW Demetrios G. Melis, Secretary of …

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Librarian Joseph Patzner featured in an article by The Gothamist

Don’t miss this fantastic piece in The Gothamist! Click here to see wonderful photographs of the Grand Lodge Masonic Hall on 23rd Street and a thoughtful article based on the interview with Mr. Patzner. *Image: The Grand Lodge of New York, 1875, 23rd Street and 6th Avenue.  

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An 1889 Cornerstone Trowel made by Tiffany & Co.

by Ratirat Osiri, Museum Technician Today’s highlighted artifact is one of the biggest and the oldest trowels in our collection, used in laying the cornerstone of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Harlem on this day 129 years ago, October 16th, 1889. It was made out of sterling silver with an ebony handle by the famous …

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Recent Acquisitions

If you are interested in deepening your understanding of the early history of Freemasonry and its influence of Freemasonry throughout the United States and Europe, visit the library’s reading room to browse our recent acquisitions shelf.  The 1783 Francken Manuscript    Supreme Council,33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction The 1783 Francken Manuscript is a foundational …

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Finding the Early New York Masonic Meeting Places

by Ratirat Osiri, Museum Technician Back in colonial days, in addition to serving food and wine, taverns also played a major role as the community spot where people came for meetings, social gatherings or making business deals. The early Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New York suggest that colonial New York Masons were also …

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My Experience as a Museum Intern

by Ratirat Osiri It was a privilege to work at the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library, a hidden gem of New York City. My time as an intern here gave me valuable knowledge and wonderful experience … more than I could ever have hoped for. I was assigned to working with the subcollections of …

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The Library honors the 165th Anniversary of Continental Lodge No. 287

On April 25, 2018, Continental Lodge No. 287 was welcomed by the Livingston Masonic Library in honor of their 165th Anniversary. A special exhibit was designed and installed in the Reading Room by Ms. Catherine M. Walter, Curator, and Mr. Joseph Patzner, Librarian pro tem, with the help of Ms. Ratirat Osiri, Assistant Curator. The exhibit …

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Special Exhibit at the Library for over 100 Visitors

This past week, the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York was pleased and proud to mount a temporary exhibit in honor of three separate visitor groups. The A.P. American and A.P European History High School classes from John Dewey High School visited, with their teacher Thomas Stoppini. On …

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Sponsor For the Library Lecture Series

The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York is pleased, proud and very happy to announce that the Free Monthly Lecture Series has found a Sponsor for the next seven Lectures. We thank, so very much, The Square Club of the Fourth Masonic District of Manhattan, Inc. for their …

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Archive Internship Experience

By Debra Grech For the spring semester, I was given the opportunity to intern at the archives of the Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library as part of my coursework towards a Masters in Library and Information Science, with certification in Archival and Cultural Heritage Preservation from Queens College. This was my first internship experience …

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Archiving at the Library

By Sarah Jacobs, Archives Intern For the past three months, I have been interning at the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library in their Archives. I have used my experience at this institution, to supplement the completion of my Masters in Library and Information Science Degree (MILS), with certification in Archival and Cultural Heritage Preservation …

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A Recap of “The First Jewish Grand Master: A Lecture with MW Daniel Semel”

On November 30, 2017, the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library was honored to have Most Worshipful Daniel Semel as our Speaker for the Month. His lecture, The First Jewish Grand Master, was extremely well received by our robust audience. Tracing back into our Grand Lodge’s history, M∴W∴ Brother Semel highlighted several prominent New York Jews who were …

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Check Out New Books in the Library!

Next time you come to the Library, make sure to check out our 3 new books that were recently added to the collection! Reclaiming the Soul of Freemasonry by Sovereign Grand Commander John Wm. McNaughton [Call Number: M11 M232] If you were ever interested in seeing contemporary Freemasonry being  presented as infographics, this is the book for you! …

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Check Out Our Two New Exhibits on Music and Movies!

Come to the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library to see 2 new exhibits, displaying material from the Library and Archives Department! If you are interested in music, make sure to check out our new exhibit, Keys of the Craft: Masonic Musicians Through the Ages! We highlight a few major composers whose work was influenced by …

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Assessing Materials Prior to Digitization

By Joseph Patzner As there is increasing motivation to digitize records to expand accessibility, evaluating the breadth and condition of the materials selected for digitization is required. Additionally, making note of any idiosyncrasies, like photos glued onto a sheet of paper, loose pages within a bound book, or a tight binding, can help aid in …

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A New 1790s-1850s Apron Exhibit in the Wendell Walker Lounge

Designing a new exhibit is always somewhat of an adventure, as there must be a concordance between the artifacts which are available and safe to display, the story or theme which is being told, the shape and size of the exhibit cases, the hardware needed to display the artifacts and the amount of signage needed to explain to …

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How to Do a Genealogy Search: Freemasonry Edition

At the library, one of my main duties involves the answering genealogy requests from both Brothers and the public. These requests are often trying to gain a better understanding of family members who were Freemasons, and their level of involvement. A genealogy search in this collection entails knowing how to use and interpret the collection’s …

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Driving in the Comfort of the Classroom

By Joseph Patzner Whilst researching for a future library project, our Associate Librarian Jo-Ann Wong found and shared a folder containing a press release that detailed the introduction of the ÆtnaDriveotrainer “behind-the-wheel” Driving Lesson Program into the New York City education system.  The program was introduced, as the schools were finding the current driving education …

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The Masonic Apron

Masonic Aprons are one of the most interesting, beautiful and curious items in the Fraternity’s history. Members of medieval, operative stone-masons’ guilds wore large animal hide aprons, providing them with as much protection as possible from the sharp rock shards with which they worked. Early Masonic aprons were similar, but in the late 1600s, men …

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Time to Press!

By Jo-Ann Wong In our archives, our documents from the late 19th century and onward will often have an imprint, also known as a seal impression. These imprints indicate the specific Lodge or Masonic organization that the paper is originating from, and are extremely important in tracing back a Lodge’s history and their correspondence with …

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Masons on an Alternative Diamond

By Joseph Patzner With the first pitch of Major League Baseball season set to cross the plate in just under three weeks, I began to explore the relationship between Freemasonry and baseball. While the Civil War hero Abner DoubIeday was long recognized as the founder of the “Modern” game of baseball, he was falsely attributed …

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It’s All in the Case: Bible Boxes

Traditionally, Bibles were held in containers known as “Bible Boxes.” A box such as this would be used to store a Bible, as well as protect it while it was being transported. Popular in the 17th century, boxes were ornate and made out of wood, metal, or even ceramics. However, as modern forms of mailing …

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The Effects of Tape on Paper Documents

By Joseph Patzner Recently, we received a request from a patron to digitize loose materials to aid his research about a lodge. As I was preparing the materials for digitization, I found repairs had been made to the torn pages by applying pressure sensitive tape. While the tape helps to repair damage at the moment, …

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Shriners’ Founder Walter M. Fleming’s Bylaws Donated to Museum!

When I received a phone call in December from Worshipful Brother William Hubschman about a donation he wanted to make to the Grand Lodge Museum here at the Livingston Masonic Library, I was most intrigued by the mention of a mirror, as we have very few in the collection. The donation came in mid-January, and I …

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The Library Is Now On Instagram!

Check out our Instagram page,  where we will be posting pictures of interesting finds in our collection and new acquisitions! You can find us at https://www.instagram.com/nymasoniclibrary/  If using the app on your phone, find us at @nymasoniclibrary  

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New Acquisitions

If you are interested in history and its relation to Freemasonry, come visit the library, and check out our recent acquisitions to the book collection!  Sworn in Secret: Freemasonry and the Knights Templar by Sanford Holst In this book, Sanford Holst’s research details the roots of Freemasonry, when it was still operating as a secret society before …

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Digitizing Materials from the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

By Joseph Patzner Over time, the materials that make up books will naturally breakdown, with the potential of accelerated degradation, due to non-ideal conditions leading to materials to be at risk of damage with regular use. Since much of the information in our collection is of value and significance to independent researchers, Lodges, and Masons, …

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The First Reading Discussion Meeting of 2017

The Library’s First Reading Discussion Meeting of 2017 was held here on January 17th, 2017, to discuss The White Leather Apron, a paper by the late RW Spiridon Arkouzis. The meeting was a success, with discussion held amongst a small but dedicated group of Brothers from the Tenth Manhattan District. The event was coordinated by Worshipful …

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Press Release- Solomon’s Temple: Separating Fact from Fiction

The Livingston Masonic Library’s Free 2017 Lecture Series: Lecture No. 1   RW Pierre de Ravel d’Esclapon will present a lecture titled: “Solomon’s Temple: Separating Fact from Fiction” Join us at 6:30 p.m. on January 26 for the ­­first lecture of 2017 in the Library’s Monthly Series, which is open to all, Mason and non-Masons alike. This month, RW Pierre …

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A Lodge Visit to the Library and Museum

Periodically, the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of the Grand Lodge of New York receives requests from a Lodge Master to visit the Library as one of their Lodge Meeting events. Either I stay late to welcome them into the Library, or one of our Library Trustees from the NYC area comes in that …

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Back When Ballpoint Pens Did Not Exist: Ink Blotters

By Jo-Ann Wong Today, writing in ink involves just using a ballpoint pen and a paper. Little thought is given to the writing instrument we hold in our hand, as we hurriedly dash off our notes and letters. In our hurry, we tend to forget the messiness that used to be associated with the art …

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Watch Now!

Check out our YouTube channel for videos of our latest lectures!

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Happy Birthday Chancellor Livingston!

By Catherine Walter This Sunday marks Chancellor Robert R Livingston’s 270th birthday. Originally on the Online Museum, to celebrate his birthday we re-publish below details of his life as a patriot and as a Mason. Robert R Livingston’s great-grandfather, Robert Livingston, moved from Holland to New York around 1675. In 1686, he purchased an enormous piece …

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Experience as an Archives Intern

By Jo-Ann Wong Working as an archives intern at the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library has given me an extraordinary amount of insight regarding archival work and the operations of a special collections. Here, I was given the opportunity to work with an archival collection that contained a mass amount of history, dating back to the late 1700s. …

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Watch now! Library lecture with Armin Kuljis

Based on three key elements: art, science and spirituality Armin’s mission is to “awake consciousness” of the miracle and beauty of life from the simplest to the most complex events. He seeks to transmit this combination of thoughts, feelings and knowledge through his artwork which includes: painting, drawing, engraving, urban art, digital design and photography. …

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New Acquisiton: Renaissance Man & Mason by R∴W∴ Piers A. Vaughan

Renaissance Man & Mason by R∴W∴ Piers A. Vaughan R∴W∴ Piers A. Vaughan graciously donated two copies of his new book, Renaissance Man & Mason, to the Livingston Library this past week. Described as a “miscellany of talks” delivered over the past two decades, this book is intended to appeal to both those interested in …

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A Lecture on the Royal Arch Pendant of a Civil War Hero

The Royal Arch Pendant of a Civil War Hero: Sgt. William C. Lilly, 149th Infantry, NYS Volunteers by Catherine M. Walter The first weekend of September, Museum Village in Monroe, NY, held its 41st Annual Civil War re-enactment, and it was a fantastic event. On Friday, September 2, 2016, Cornerstone Lodge No. 711 and the …

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Featured Book: Mid 19th century Masonic Gift Books

  Having read this great blog post by the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum in Massachusetts on Masonic gift books, I found myself searching our stacks for similarly beautiful books. I stumbled upon a small collection of books, alternatively titled The Emblem or The Freemasons Annual, dedicated to the “wives, daughters, sisters and sweethearts of Freemasons”. Illustrated with …

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WATCH NOW! Angel Millar on Freemasonry and Traditionalism in the East and West

Angel Millar’s August 24th, 2016 lecture is now streaming online! The main focus of this lecture is Freemasonry’s relationship to various societies and movements in both the East and West over the last three centuries and their attempt to ‘ride the tiger’ of modernity. Watch the lecture below or click here to check out our YouTube channel, and be …

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Watch now! Livingston Library Lecture with Jean-Luc Leguay, Master Illuminator.

For the Masonic Fraternity, the concepts of light and geometry are central to the Masonic Rituals. As Jean-Luc Leguay is a Brother Freemason, this lecture, held on June 23rd, 2016 and now available to stream below, touches on topics that will be of great interest to Freemasons, to those who are interested in Freemasonry, to those …

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Featured Book: The Knights Templars, A Historical Tragedy

Featured Book from The Library Division THE | KNIGHTS TEMPLARS, | A HISTORICAL TRAGEDY,| WITH NOTES, | AS IT WAS REPRESENTED ON THE FRENCH THEATRE, | BY THE PERFORMERS OF | THE EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH. | TO WHICH IS PREFIXED, | AN INTERESTING HISTORY | OF THE | ORIGIN, CHARACTER, AND PERSECUTION, | OF THAT …

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Featured Artifact: Most Worshipful John W. Simons, PGM 1860 Knights Templar Grand Encampment Apron

Featured Artifact from The Museum Division Most Worshipful John W. Simons, PGM 1860 Knights Templar Grand Encampment Apron Black velvet apron with patterned-gold ribbon and red velvet doubled cross with metallic ribbon border. Grand Master Simons was a member of  Palestine Commandery No. 18, Morton Commandery No. 4 and DeWitt Clinton Commandery No. 27. He …

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Listen to the Livingston Library on the air!

A few weeks ago the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Library was featured on WFDU 89.1 FM’s program, The Metro Beat! Susan Teltser-Schwarz interviewed Morgan and Catherine on Freemasonry and everything the Livingston Library has to offer. If you didn’t catch it live, or want to listen again, click the play button below:

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A soldier’s fate: Lt. Col. James Huston

A recent donation to the Livingston Library brought to the surface the incredible story of Lt. Col. James Huston. Born into the tumultuous political environment of Ireland in the early 19th century, the future Mason James Huston took an early interest in military science. Though he was at first a loyal follower of the Great Liberator Daniel O’Connell, …

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Book of the Month: Freemason’s Monitor

The Library division presents: The Freemason’s Monitor; containing the degrees of Freemasonry  . . .  edited by Daniel Sickles. New York: Clark and Maynard, 1864. 12 cm.  Cloth bound book. Music sheet waste paper used in binding. Gilded edges. The library’s collection of over 100 Freemason’s Monitors spans space and time. Dating from as early …

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Artifact of the Month : Masonic Tracing Board

The Museum Division presents: Masonic Tracing Board, early 1800s Oil, gilt + multicolor paint on canvas. L: 157.5   W: 101.6 St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 289; Hobart, NY In early days of Freemasonry, the symbols were drawn with chalk on the ground, so there was no permanent record of the images. This practice gave way to …