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Masonic Temple, Library & Museum
Library2023-07-28T13:55:45-04:00

Masonic Library

About the Library

The Library, founded in 1817, has one of the finest collections for the study of Freemasonry, and is focused on collecting and cataloging seminal works in Masonic history. Its stacks house thousands of volumes covering all aspects of Freemasonry and its relationship to the Commonwealth. The Library remains a resource for members and academics alike, providing research and lending services in an effort to advance our knowledge and understanding of the Fraternity, its meanings and its place in history.

One of the Library’s prize possessions is an incunabulum, or book printed before 1501. The one in our collection was printed in Basel in 1489. It is really two books bound together, one by St. Augustine on the Trinity, and the other by Robert Holkot on the Apocryphal Book, The Wisdom of Solomon.

The collections are available to everyone who visits the library; however, our Circulating Library is for Pennsylvania Masons only. Hundreds of new books are added each year. Check out the New Resources tab in the Online Catalog for the latest additions.

Genealogy

While staff will make every effort to respond to your genealogical requests in a timely manner, we do not have full-time employees conducting these searches. Most requests will be fulfilled within 1-2 weeks, depending on the number of records requested.

It is the policy of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to respect the privacy of our members and not to reveal or discuss the status of membership of any living Pennsylvania Mason, except in cases where membership eligibility to join an affiliated body, such as Eastern Star or Job’s Daughters, necessitates this verification.

If you are trying to contact a Pennsylvania Mason, we will not provide you with the address of record, however, we will gladly transmit a message to that member if you provide your name, address and a written request to have him contact you.

(For genealogical, fraternal and historical purposes.)
There is an unfounded expectation that such research will reveal a wealth of factual information about a person. While it is true that some individual Lodges may have kept detailed records, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania can only verify if a man was a member in good standing. It is unlikely any other useful information will be available.

The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania only has information on members in this jurisdiction. If a man was made a Mason in any other jurisdiction, we have no record to verify membership. There never has been a national or central membership database for Freemasonry in the United States. Additionally, we can usually only verify Lodge membership. If pertinent, we can sometimes verify address and occupation at time of petitioning. We do not maintain records of York Rite, Scottish Rite, Shrine or other affiliated organizations.

Requests received often include extraneous details about the men being researched. These details do not help us. Information useful to us in performing this research is the FULL NAME of the subject, last known Pennsylvania address, date of death and, if available, the name or number of the Lodge in which he was reputed to be a member. The occupation and address at time of petitioning may also be helpful to us.

Research is done only during available staff time, when other responsibilities are not pressing. Requests may not be answered for several weeks.

Librarian posing next to books

Records

Our records are for Freemasons who have held membership in Pennsylvania only.

Records of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, under normal circumstances, do not include information concerning the names of fathers, mothers, grandparents, etc. In most cases, the only information included would be the name of the lodge, the date of a petition to join a lodge and the dates the brother would have received each of his three degrees.

Make requests via the form to the right. In your request, please include a postal mailing address and a daytime telephone number; sometimes a simple question by our staff can get you a quicker response.

Masonic Records Request

Name(Required)
Address(Required)

Masonic Book Reviews

Satellite Libraries

Join PAFA and the Masonic Temple for the third annual tour of these two architectural treasures on Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m. The tour begins at the Masonic Temple and concludes with a reception at PAFA. Space is limited. Purchase tickets now!
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