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300 Years of Anderson’s Constitutions: A Journey through Freemasonry’s Founding Text

Celebrating Three Centuries of Masonic Legacy: Exhibition Unveils Anderson’s Constitutions at Van Gorden-Williams Library.

In a tribute to the rich tapestry of Freemasonry's history, the Van Gorden-Williams Library proudly presents an exhibition commemorating the tricentennial of The Constitutions of the Free-Masons.

On display until March 8, 2024, this showcase delves into the foundational document that codified the earliest rules and principles of organized Freemasonry.

Unveiling Centuries of Wisdom: The Constitutions of Freemasonry at Van Gorden-Williams Library.

The year 2023 marks the 300th anniversary of the printing of The Constitutions, a significant milestone in the history of Freemasonry.

Originally known as "Anderson's Constitutions" after Reverend James Anderson, one of its contributors, the collaborative effort of Anderson, Reverend Dr. John Theophilus Desaguliers, and George Payne is now acknowledged as a seminal work shaping the course of organized Freemasonry.

The 1723 Constitutions, the focal point of the exhibition, opens with an enchanting narrative by Anderson, weaving a tale that traces Freemasonry back to biblical times.

Serving as both a mythologized history and a guidebook, the Constitutions embody Enlightenment principles, emphasizing meritocracy, egalitarianism, and a commitment to civic responsibility.

These principles, laid out by George Payne in the General Regulations, remain foundational in the values upheld by Freemasons today.

Displayed in the Van Gorden-Williams Library are original editions from the 1700s, providing a glimpse into the evolving nature of the Constitutions.

Additionally, two reprints from the 1800s and a centennial-old reprint from 1923, commemorating the bicentennial anniversary, underscore the enduring significance of this seminal work.

As Freemasonry continues to evolve, the exhibition serves as a testament to the enduring ideals encapsulated in Anderson’s Constitutions.

Beyond a mere historical artifact, the Constitutions remain a living document, shaping the principles and values that resonate within Freemasonry worldwide.

The Van Gorden-Williams Library invites all enthusiasts of history, culture, and Freemasonry to explore this captivating exhibition, immersing themselves in the rich legacy that has spanned three centuries.

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