Almanacs for the special use of the Fraternity are annually published in many countries of Europe, but the custom has not been so favored in America. As early as 1752 we find an Almanach des Francs-Maçons en Ecosse published at the Hague. This, or a similar work, continued to be published annually at the same place until the year 1778 (see Kloss, Bibliographie, Nos. 107-9). The first in English appeared in 1775, under the title of:
The Freemason's Calendar, or an Almanac for the year 1775, containing, besides an accurate and useful Calendar of all remarkable occurrences for the year, many useful and curious particulars relating to Masonry. Inscribed to Lord Petre, G.M., by a Society of Brethren. London, printed for the Society of Stationers.
This work was without any official authority, but two years later the Freemason's Calendar for 1777 was Published "under the sanction of the Grand Lodge of England." A Masonic Year Book has been issued annually by the Grand Lodge of England, and most of the English Provinces have published Masonic Almanacs.
The first German work of this class was the Freimaurer Kalendar auf das Jahr 1771 and the first French was Etrennes Intéressantes, ou Almanach pour les années1796 et 1797, the latter meaning in English Interesting Gifts, or Almanac for the years 1796 and 1797. The Masonic Year, an annual digest of timely facts from reliable sources to show the scope and success of Freemasonry, was first published for the year1920 by the Masonic History Company, Chicago, and edited by R. I. Clegg.
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
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