Preserving and sharing our Masonic heritage
Master Masonís apron (c. early 20th century)

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Online access to thousands of books pertaining to Freemasonry.

View the Museum Collection

View our large collection of items used by Masons through the centuries and around the world.


By Our Sides: Brotherly Love as Action and Inspiration

“A Masonic lodge is not a club where precious time and brotherly togetherness are wasted in chattering about everyday things, social matters and the like, which could be just as well discussed elsewhere. Nor is Masonry a monastery where every monk builds his own salvation in sombre secrecy and isolation from the world... No! Our work is strictly self-discipline, so that we may set a shining example to others in our land whom we wish to draw towards our light.”

-Alphonse Mucha, renowned artist; Grand Master of Czechoslovakia and Sovereign Grand Commander, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Czechoslovakia

“To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries and restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view”

-Entered Apprentice Ceremony, California Ritual (Preston-Webb variety)

The words charity and philanthropy, from their etymology in the Latin and Greek, are complementary.  To Freemasons, they are the expression of the love (L. caritas) and humanity (Gr. philanthropos, or, lover of mankind) that come as a consequence to obtaining wisdom. Profound knowledge gained cannot materialize or mean anything without bestowing it upon humanity, and always it must be complemented with humility.  Today, charity and philanthropy are understood as giving money or sharing personal time toward the good of humanity; however these words connote a deeper expression that lies at the core of our being.

This online exhibit displays, through long-lost memories and their physical artifacts, loving portrayals of Masonic love by individuals who were directly affected by the principals of charity and philanthropy.  In it, the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum displays the touching story of Walter Wilcox, “The Mason's Boy”. Further, we remember the kindness of Roy Rogers, “The King of the Cowboys”.  Only one person in this exhibit was not a Mason—Abraham Lincoln.  However, his example, though small, forever changed the life of a young Union Soldier, Charles Marshall Austin, who was later to become a Mason and serve his New York lodge with distinction.


Continue to Walter Wilcox, “The Mason's Boy”

Continue to Charles Marshall Austin and Abraham Lincoln

Continue to Roy Rogers, “The King of the Cowboys”



Builders of Dreams: The California Masonic Experience 1850-Present

This exhibit debuted in February 2009 at the Conference of Grand Masters of Masons in North America to high acclaim. It was on display at the Henry W. Coil Library & Museum of Freemasonry in San Francisco through Nov. 10, 2009. In addition to the artifacts a movie was produced. Watch the movie here. (Download time varies according to Internet connection. Internet Explorer users may require extra download time.)