40th

 

AnniversAry

1975–2015

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library | Spring 2015  

  13

12  

•  Spring 2015 | Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library

The Van Gorden-Williams  

Library & Archives

W

i

th more than 60,000 books and over 2,000 cubic feet of archival materials, 

the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives is one of the premiere repositories 
in the United States for the study of Freemasonry and fraternalism. It also 

serves as the institutional archives of the museum and the Supreme Council, and its 
holdings include founding documents of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. 

The Library & Archives collection pre-dates the establishment of the museum. The  
Supreme Council maintained a library and archives of its own for decades and this  
collection formed the nucleus of the Library & Archives when the museum opened in 
1975. Early acquisitions that formed the current library and archives collections were 
guided by two Active Members of the Supreme Council, Louis L. Williams, 33° (1899–
1990) and John H. Van Gorden, 33° (1899–2002) for whom the library is named.

Staffed by a professional librarian and an archivist, the Library & Archives collects,  
preserves, and provides access to materials related to Masonic, fraternal, and American 
history. Materials from the Library & Archives are regularly presented in reading room 
exhibitions as diverse as “Kings, Queens, and Statesmen: Autographs from the G. Edward 
Elwell, Jr. Collection” to our current “Masonic Emblem Cards: Victorian Tradition in a  
Fraternal World” (see page 7). Masons, the general public, the scholarly community,  
museum staff, and Supreme Council staff all take advantage of the Library & Archives 
collection and services. 

As we look toward the future, we are excited about providing further access to the Library 
& Archives collections through digital initiatives, and continuing our 40-year-old tradition 
of delivering friendly, professional service to the fraternity and the general public. 

The Constitutions of the Free-Masons, 1734. 
James Anderson (ca. 1680–1739), Printed by 
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, RARE 31.A547 1734.

“Fourteenth Degree Lodge Room,” from

 The 

Rituals of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite 
of Freemasonry, 1869, Israel Thorndike Hunt 
(1841–1905), Nashua, New Hampshire, SC155, 
R-230.

The Van Gorden-Williams 
Library & Archives is one 
of the premiere repositories 
in the United States for  
the study of Freemasonry 
and fraternalism.