Masonic Periodicals

Originated from medieval associated workshops – the so called Bauhütten (mason's lodges) –, the Masons' union today has spread to more than 130 countries worldwide. The modern form of Freemasonry has its origin in 1717, when the Großloge (Grand Lodge) of London was established. The masons' idea to unite according to the different trades goes back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and was based on the intention to guard their knowledge, their abilities, and their skills. Moreover, this union also provided its members with social security and took care of the sick, the old, and all those workers who could no longer earn their money because of disabilities.

Special symbols, strict rituals, salutations, sometimes even secret writing and passwords were to take care that no outsider could acquire any of their knowledge.

When, with the turn of the 17th century, less and less orders were placed, the wish to still keep the privileges that came with the the Masonry was heard more often.

Financially well-off people unrelated to the masons' profession considered it a high honor to be admitted as Freemasons. They soon regarded the act of building more from a symbolic, spiritual, and humanistic aspect. Human beings were seen as the rough stone that was to be hewed, refined, and perfected. The regulations written down in their constitution corresponded with the ideas of the Enlightenment, and aimed at tolerance, humanitarianism, and respect towards persons of different opinion.

In order to disseminate their ideas and ideals, and by doing that fight the increasing criticism regarding the Masonry's aura of the mysterious, a culture of periodicals developed towards the end of the 18th century. The four titles presented here provide a cultural-historic insight into Masonic ideas.