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  Toronto Society for Masonic Research
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TSMR About

The TSMR is an Autonomous Association of Individuals, committed to the Freedoms of Conscience, Association, Communication, and Enquiry, who wish to nurture Learning, Knowledge, and Understanding of Freemasonry through Research.

Our Statement of Principles

In the president's view:


A freemasonry enlightened by the best spirit of humanity,
in a world inspired by the best of universal freemasonry.


Using the highest standards of ethics,
community, scholarship, and technology,

to find, preserve, and document facts,
and to analyse and share information,

so as to further knowledge and
understanding of freemasonry,

toward greater awareness and truth,
in the service of the public good.


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Brotherly love includes all who are good and true, of honour and honesty.
Relief means solving denied problems, and righting perpetuated wrongs.
Truth means acknowledging contradictions, speaking up, and speaking out.

F.A.Q. (Fervently Anticipated Questions) (***draft***)

  1. Is the TSMR a lodge?
    No. It started out wanting to be a lodge. In 1920, the founders wanted to form the Toronto Lodge of Masonic Research. They wanted a research lodge similar to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research (founded in 1884) or the Nova Scotia Lodge of Research (founded in 1915). But the Grand Master, while supportive of their work, was not ready for a research lodge.

  2. Is there a Research Society that is older than the TSMR?
    Yes, the Manchester Association for Masonic Research (MAMR) (founded 1909) is older. The QCCC (founded 1886) is also older, but it is not a separate masonic research society, but rather a "corresponcence circle" attached to the QC LOR No. 2076. Note that the Manchester Lodge of Masonic Research No. 5502 was founded much later - in 1934.

  3. What are the membership requirements of the TSMR?
    The sole membership qualification is a strong commitment to the TSMR Principles.

  4. Does the TSMR exist for the benefit of its members?
    No. From the start, the TSMR has consisted of a very small, intensely productive membership, working closely with masonic researchers world-wide, for the benefit of all seekers of truth. Whenever the beneficiaries were seen as the TSMR members, or those of another body, or when membership quantity was sought, this has had disappointing consequences.

  5. How large, how organized, what organizational relations?
    During the first 20 years, there were an average of 11 meetings a year with an average attendance of 9 members (+ visitors), very consistently. (Note that the 1928 bylaws call for 4 officers + 5 honorary position titles. 7 members attended the meeting that adopted the bylaws.)

  6. Is the TSMR subordinate to any other body.
    No. The TSMR is entirely independent of any other body.

  7. Is the TSMR officially recognized by any other body?
    No. But in the 1920's, the TSMR hoped that by "recognizing" leaders of masonic bodies with honorary titles, etc., the members of those bodies might become interested in masonic study and research.

  8. Is the scope of the TSMR's research limited?
    No. Of course not. In December 1930, there was discussion of a letter from Oswald Wirth of the GOdF, announcing a proposed amalgamation with the GLdF. In August 1942, a paper entitled "The Color Line in (North) American Masonry". by F.P. Strickland, Jr., a TSMR member from Kansas, was presented. In contrast, in September 2004, a paper "Prince Hall Recognition in Canada" was blocked from being presented to Ontario's research lodge.

  9. Don't you have to be a Mason to do Masonic Research?
    No. The majority of scholars engaged in masonic research today are non-masons.

  10. What does a research society do?
    Usually they simply publish a magazine, and their members are simply magazine subscribers. Some research societies consist of members who write papers that are published either for just the members, or for a wider audience. Since the 1990's, the TSMR has brought renowned Masonic Researchers to Toronto: Hamill, Cooper, Gilbert, Cryer, (Segall), Gray, Jacob, Pope, Henderson.

  11. What was the most popular Masonic Research Society in history?
    The National Masonic Research Society (NMRS), founded in Iowa in 1914. It published a monthly magazine, The Builder, from 1915 to 1930. It had 200,000 members (subscribers).

  12. What are the most well-known Masonic Research Societies today?
    The Philalethes Society [1928, 2,500 members] and the Scottish Rite Research Society [1991, 7,000 members]. The QCCC, attached to QC Lodge No. 2076, was started in 1886; it has 7,000 members.

    But there are two recent trends -- Academic research centres, such as Canonbury and Sheffield, and Net-based facilities, such as Pietre-Stones and the Bessel collection.

    The Philelethes Society has a private mailing list to which approximately 25% of the members belong, of whom about 10% post messages.

    The largest mailing list about Freemasonry with Research in its name is the PHA Research list.

    There are now several Blogs that constitute the "Popular Masonic Press". Some are reminiscent of Fitz Gerald Tisdall's Masonic Column in Pomeroy's Democrat.
(to be continued ... please ask questions)

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