Founded in 1908, the center was dedicated by Brother John Wanamaker, a prominent Philadelphia merchant who served as the first Chairman of the Library Committee. The center’s collection consists of more than 30,000 items. Some of these include Brother George Washington’s Masonic Apron, embroidered by Madame Lafayette, which was presented to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1829 by the Washington Benevolent Society; two letters in Washington’s own hand, addressed to his Masonic brethren; and Brother Benjamin Franklin’s Masonic sash, worn in 1782, when he was Venerable (Worshipful Master) of the Loge des Neuf Soeurs (Lodge of the Nine Sisters or Muses) in Paris and when he guided Brother Voltaire.

The center has one of the finest collections of books and Masonic records for the study of Freemasonry. The importance of collecting and cataloging seminal works in the history of Freemasonry has remained a focus of the institution since its inception. Housed within the stacks are thousands of volumes covering all aspects of Freemasonry and its history, philosophy and contributions to civil society. The center is a place of interest for members and academics alike, providing research and lending services in an effort to advance knowledge and understanding of the fraternity, its meanings and its place in history. One of the center’s prize possessions is an incunabulum, or book printed before the invention of the printing press in 1501.