Masons are known for their love of beautiful things. The belief is held that external beauty is a sign of internal virtues. Objects that show the highest craftsmanship display attributes of their maker that are highly desirable in a refined man, such as attention to detail, patience, æsthetic sensitivity, and imagination. Many Masons also seem to have a nearly inordinate love of books. The combination of these two interests has led to the creation of many very beautiful books. Here are just a few:
"The Constitutions of the Free-Masons," 1723. This photograph shows the attention that was lavished on a rather utilitarian book. A full page engraving faces the title page, which shows beautiful typesetting. Benjamen Franklin republished this, making it the first Masonic book published in America.
The 1914 edition of Albert Mackey's "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry" shows beautiful blind-stamping and embossing.
Upon being raised to the degree of Master Mason, the Lodge presents the new Master Mason with a Bible. Often times these are beautiful custom bound books, meant to be read and enjoyed for a lifetime.
This lovely book is "The Illustrated History of Freemasonry" by Moses Wolcott Redding, 1900.
This is the title page to a collection of presentations given by Simon Greenleaf in 1820.