Reading Course

The Livingston Masonic Library offers seventeen structured Reading Courses designed to provide education and enlightenment in areas of Masonic study and interest. This educational program is designed to provide guidance to newly-made Masons, expand the horizons of long-time Brothers, stimulate their interests and widen the perspectives of the Brethren in general.

Enrollment in a Reading Course is open to Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts, and Master Masons who are members in good standing of a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of State of New York. Brothers may participate in the Courses by visiting the Library’s Manhattan branch, borrowing books, through the mail, or through our digital library on Odilo.

Books are lent for 4 (four) weeks and may be renewed for an additional three weeks by email, telephone, or in person. The Reading Courses are offered free of charge; participating Brothers are responsible only for the nominal fee of return postage (by Library rate) if they participate in the courses through the mail.

Members wishing to receive borrowing privileges  must complete the following

Reading Course Registration Form

and return the form by email to or by mail to,

Robert R Livingston Masonic Library

c/o Alexander Vastola

71 West 23rd Street

14th Floor

New York, NY 10010

The Reading Courses include volumes and topics which reflect contemporary theories and ideas in the course subject areas. Modern scholarship is combined with the respected traditional works of Masonic authors and other scholars of the Craft so that Reading Course participants experience a full appreciation of the literature available. In true Masonic tradition, the Reading Courses offer the Brethren exposure to information, with the hope and understanding that they will use the information to develop their own thoughts, ideas, and practices in their area of study. The Library is always interested in receiving feedback on existing courses or hearing suggestions for new titles or courses.

Learn more about the Reading Course

Course OneCourse TwoCourse ThreeCourse FourCourse FiveCourse SixCourse SevenCourse EightCourse NineCourse TenCourse ElevenCourse TwelveCourse ThirteenCourse FourteenCourse FifteenCourse SixteenCourse Seventeen
1. Who Comes Here? The first course, features what we believe are the “read first”, most expository books available on vital Masonic topics:

Foreign Countries by Carl Claudy (M11 C57)
The Way of the Craftsman by Kirk MacNulty (M11 M23)
The Freemasons by Jasper Ridley (M10 R43)
The Craft and its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts (M11 R53)
American Freemasons by Mark A. Tabbert (M10 T11)

2. Through a Porch, the course comprises classic works of Masonic writers:

A Comprehensive View of Freemasonry by Henry Wilson Coil (M10 C66)
The Newly-Made Mason by H.L. Haywood (M10 H33n)
The Spirit of Masonry by William Hutchinson (M11 H97s)
The Builders by Joseph Fort Newton (M10 N48b)
The Masonic Ladder by John Sherer (M14 Sh5)

3. Between Two Pillars, a more in-depth look at Masonic origins and history:

The Origins of Freemasonry: Facts & Fictions by Margaret C. Jacob (M10 J15)
Freemasonry: A History by Angel Millar (M10 M611)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry by S. Brent Morris (M00.1 M83)
A Pilgrim’s Path by John J. Robinson (M10 R56p)
Masonic Trivia (and Facts) by Allen E. Roberts (M10 R541)

4. Up Three Steps, a course crafted around Freemasonry in the State of New York:

The Level Club by Bruno Bertuccioli (M52.4 B46L)
George Washington in New York by Allan Boudreau and Alexander Bleimann (921 W27ab)
Along Masonic Trails by Wilmer E. Bresee (M17 B75)
New York Freemasonry: A Bicentennial History by Ossian Lang & Herbert Singer (M17 Si6)
Random History of a New York State lodge, selected by the Reader or the Director

5. Up Five Steps, a course featuring an in-depth study of Masonic symbolism:

Sources of Masonic Symbolism by Alex Horne (M11 H78a)
The Lodge and the Craft by Rollin Blackmer (M11 B56 1976)
Revelations of a Square by George Oliver (M11 Ol4r2)
Freemasonry: Its Hidden Meaning by George Harold Steinmetz (M11 St3)
The Meaning of Masonry by Walter Wilmshurst (M11 W68a)

6. Up Seven Steps, Freemasonry in American History:

Revolutionary Brotherhood by Stephen Bullock (M17.973 B87r)
Colonial Freemasonry by Louis C. Wes Cook (M17.973 C77)
Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers by Ronald F. Heaton (920 H35f )
House Undivided by Allen E. Roberts (973.7 R54)
Out of the Shadows by Alton G. Roundtree and Paul M. Bessel (M90 R76)

7. Through an Outer Door, Biographies of Prominent Freemasons:

T.R.: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and His Influence on Our Times by Noel Fairchild Busch (921 R67tr)
Joseph Warren Physician, Politician, Patriot by John Henry Cary (921 W25c)
Brother Truman by Allen E. Roberts (921 T77r)
Stephen A. Douglas, Freemason by Wayne C. Temple (921 D73)
Random biography of a prominent Freemason, chosen by the Reader or the Director

8. Through an Inner Door, the Esoteric Course:

Arcana of Freemasonry by Albert Churchward (M11 C47a)
The Golden Builders by Tobias Churton (135.4 C47)
The Lost Keys of Freemason by Manly P. Hall (M11 H14)
The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order by Christopher McIntosh (M10.12 M18r)
Book of the Words by Albert Pike (M11 P63b)

9. Into the Middle Chamber, the Comparative Religions Course:

A History of God by Karen Armstrong (291.211 Ar57)
Sacred Narrative by Alan Dundes, editor (291.13 Sa14d)
Best Guide to Eastern Philosophy & Religion by Diane Morgan (290 M821)
Did the Greeks Believe in Their Myths? by Paul Veyne (292.08 V64)
God by Alexander Waugh (231.4 W35)

10. From Labor to Refreshment, the Warden’s Course:

Freemasonry and its Etiquette by William Campbell-Everden (M20 C15k)
The Master’s Book by Carl H. Claudy (M14 C57)
How to Become a Masonic Lodge Officer by H.L. Haywood (M14 H33a)
Designs Upon the Trestleboard by Arthur R. Herrmann (M14 H43)
Our Stations and Places by Henry G. Meacham (M20 M46t)

11. From the East, the Master’s Course:

3-5-7 Minute Talks on Freemasonry by Elbert Bede (M10.4 B39)
Masonic Lodge Methods by L. B. Blakemore (M14 B58)
A Treasury of Masonic Thought by Carl Glick (M60 G49)
Short Talks on Masonry by Joseph Fort Newton (M14.2 N48s)
One Hundred Short Prayers by May Stafford Hilburn (264.13 H54o)

12. The Tabernacle Near the Ruins, the Royal Arch Course:

Royal Arch, Capstone of Freemasonry by Ray Vaughn Denslow (M14.3 D43c)
Lessons in Capitular Masonry by Charles C. Hunt (M14.3 H91)
Thomas Smith Webb, Freemason, Musician, Entrepreneur by Herbert R. Leyland (921 W38)
Light from the Sanctuary by Charles Albert Snodgrass (M14.3 Sn5b)
The Royal Arch, its Hidden Meaning by George Harold Steinmetz (M14.3 St3)

13. The Secret Vault Under the Tabernacle, the Cryptic Mason Course:

An Encyclopedia of Cryptic Masonry by Ray Vaughn Denslow (M14.4 D43)
One Hundred Years, 1823-1923, of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters, State of New York compiled by Herbert W. Greenland (M17.4 N48g)
A History of the Cryptic Rite vol. 1 by Eugene E. Hinman (M14.4 H59 vol. 1)
A Short Story About Cryptic Masonry by A. Thompson Phillips (M14.4 P54)

14. The Commandery, the Knights Templar course:

History of the Knights Templar by Charles G. Addison (M14.5 Ad2)
The Temple and the Lodge by Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh (M14.5 B14)
The Crusades by Michael Paine (940.18 P16)
The Templars by Piers Paul Read (271.79 R22)
Dungeon, Fire, Sword by John J. Robinson (909.07 R56d)

15. The Valley, the Scottish Rite Course:

Lodge of the Double-Headed Eagle by William L. Fox (M14.63732 F83)
History of the Supreme Council, 33°, A.A.S.R., N.M.J., U.S.A. by George Newbury and Louis Williams (M14.60731 N42h)
Morals and Dogma by Albert Pike (M14.6 P64)
Valley of the Craftsmen: A Pictorial History by Supreme Council SMJ (M17.63732 V24f)
Albert Pike: The Man Beyond the Monument by James Tresner (921 P63t)

16. Follow Your Conductor, the Staff Officer’s Course:

Chips From the Quarries by Richard H. Brown (M10.4 B81)
600 Years of Craft Ritual by Harry Carr (M14 C23)
Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? by Arturo deHoyos and S. Brent Morris (M19.2 D361)
Beyond the Craft by Keith B. Jackson (M70 J12)
Seekers of Truth: The Story of the Philalethes Society, 1928-1988 by Allen E. Roberts (M79 R54)

17. Worthy and Well-Qualified, the Deputy’s Course:

A Masonic Thought for Each Day of the Year by Alphonse Cerza (M61.1 C33)
The Old Past Master by Carl H. Claudy (M61.1 C57)
Masonic Addresses by Barnard Eberlin (M10.4 Eb3)
The Jurisprudence of Masonry by Albert Mackey (M30 M19m)
Whither Are We Traveling by Dwight L. Smith (M10.4 Sm5)