AN OLD RITUAL OF THE PRINCE OF THE ROYAL SECRET, once the highest Degree in Freemasonry, referred to an "incomparable treasure" possessed by Masons.1 This
term, borrowed from the Hermetic Philosophers, is believed to refer to Truth}
"Truth," American Masonic ritual states, "is a Divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue."3Freemasonry is a philosophic system dedicated to the discovery and preservation of truth.
The Library of the Supreme Council, 33, Southern Jurisdiction, is an incomparable treasure dedicated to the discovery and preservation of the truth about Freemasonry. It houses valuable collections of which many people are unaware-our 674 Masonic periodicals are a prime example, and like the Scottish Rite itself, our Library had humble beginnings. The collection of records, books, and periodicals kept during the earliest days of the Supreme Council were the private property of its members. Unfortunately many were lost as a result of several fires.4 What survived the fires was largely scattered during the anti-Masonic Period (c. 1826-43).5 During this period, many members lost interest in Freemasonry, and their collections were sold, lost, or intentionally destroyed. Albert Pike, who joined the Scottish Rite in 1853, stated, "In the Autumn of 1878 the Supreme Council was still not the owner of a single book. We determined then to create a little library, and in the summer of 1880 we had accumulated that of which we printed in a catalogue."6 Our "incomparable treasure" has grown from this modest start. Naturally, the Library has the world's most extensive collection of works relating to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and it shares, with the Archives of the Supreme Council, copies of the earliest printed documents and most rare manuscripts dealing with this branch of the Fraternity. Most of the earliest items are in English or French. Its misleading name aside, the historical roots of most "Scottish" Rite rituals lie in France.
Among the earliest works in the library's collection include the very rare L 'Unique et Parfait T uileur (18 12) and both editions of Fran~ois H. S. Delaunay's Thuileur des trente-trois degres de l'Ecoissisme de rit ancien, dit accepte (1813, 1821).
The Library's outstanding collection of Masonic periodicals is almost unparalleled. It boasts first editions and complete sets of the earliest and most important Masonic magazines, including a complete set of the premiere American Masonic magazine, Free-Masons' Magazine and General Miscellany (Philadelphia, 181 I). Other early publications include first edition sets of
The Masonic Miscellany and Ladies' Literary Magazine (Lexington, Kentucky, 1832).