(co-)Masonic (ritual) research

Since I was initiated in 2014 I have been after (old) ritual texts and other material concerning (co-)Masonry. I started with Dutch material, but my investigations in the history of the rituals broadened to certain foreign rituals. I have an enormous amount of rituals, much of it ‘bycatch’. When I find a ritual that I’m after, the same source usually has more Masonic material.

A while ago I started to add some of this material to LibraryThing.com, just so that other researchers might know what is available. I haven’t by and far added all material in my possession, but I did try to add everything related to co-Masonry.

LibraryThing doesn’t really allow an easy overview, so below you will find links to a few “collections” within my library.

Some of the material I have in print, some I have only in digital form (found online or photographed in an archive).

Besides this, I have a collection combined with somebody else’s collection with about 1800 rituals, 200+ of which are co-Masonic. There are 130+ non-Masonic rituals (Shriners, different Knights’ orders, etc.) and over a 1000 pieces of other material (periodicals, monitors, historical documents, etc.). Of course this archive isn’t ‘complete’ (if such a thing is possible or even desirable), but if you are looking for something specific, feel free to contact me using the comment field below.

There are also things that I’m looking for myself. In general, when you’ve got co-Masonic rituals that you’re prepared to share, please do. Perhaps effort can grow into real library that can be helpful for researchers. Don’t worry, I’m not going to throw everything online free to grab (even though some material already is), but I do hope to find a good way for researchers to be able to find what is available and I hope LibraryThing (and my list) can be such a means.

Other sources for co-Masonic researchers

Secrecy and discreetness are strange things. You don’t just send a Masonic ritual to somebody you don’t know and you don’t just publish a ritual. On the other hand, there are websites and other publishers who do just that. Stichting Argus has many rituals, also co-Masonic, which can be viewed, copied and even bought on cd-rom by bulk.
There are rituals that I’ve been looking for for many years. When I found a foreign archive that has them and ask them to digitize for me, they’re not allowed, while another library has the same ritual available on their website because they think copyright of a 100 year old ritual is already expired anyway. It is weird to see that there are archives which’ catalogues can be consulted online who have some material available digitally and older material not. I suppose they’re still digitizing their archives or something. If that is the case, a collector like myself can check their websites every so often to see if new material is available.

I guess I’m lucky because I’m a Dutch researcher and the Netherlands are quite far with digitizing material. There is a gigantic public, digital archive called Delpher which has old newspapers, magazines, journals, books, also quite a lot of (co-)Masonic material. Also the Royal Library perhaps doesn’t have digital material on their website, but you can easily search through their collections and visit the library to see the material. There is also quite some Dutch co-Masonic material there.
Another goldmine is the collection of the Grand Orient of the Netherlands who have an impressive archive containing a lot of interesting material. Their collections can be searched and you just request the material you’re after ahead (the archives are stored elsewhere) and visit the study room. Also London has a searchable collection and a lot of interesting material. Just request and visit the beautiful study room.
The biggest treasure -to me- are the archives of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain. They were transferred to the Haags Gemeente Archive (municipal archives The Hague) some years ago and became a public archive later. That means that you can search the catalogue, request material and visit the archives without hassle. Of course there is mostly material concerning the Dutch federation, historical documents, member lists, rituals, etc., but also of lodges founded abroad and foreign material that fell into their hands somehow. Quite some foreign rituals too.

An interesting resource is Iapsop.com, a massive archive of esoteric magazines. There may be no co-Masonic material there, but ‘general’ Masonic, Theosophical and what not.

Scandinavian researchers may be interested in this Archive.org account. Archive.org in general doesn’t just index old versions of websites, there are tons of digitized books to be found there, also Masonic. Google Books has many books listed, but usually not available to consult.

If you know of other such places, please share, so us (co-)Masonic researchers can help each other.

I have a list with some rituals that I looked at the history of here.

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