"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Square's New Format

The December issue of The Square magazine arrived today. As threatened in the September issue, they have gone from the smaller "digest" size to a more standard 8 1/2 x 11 format. Bravo to The Square for the upgrade, which gives them more room for more articles and photos. Since the merger of the UGLE's MQ magazine with Freemasonry Today, The Square is now England's only independent magazine devoted to Masonry.

Scotland has its own independent Masonic magazine, The Ashlar.

In the US we have... hmmm.


  1. "In the US we have..." Many, many Grand Lodges, each with their own independent magazine, various research lodges, with their own publications, two Scottish Rites jurisdictions, again with their own independent magazine, the Masonic Service Association with a variety of publications...

    Not to mention the blogging of well-respected masonic authors.

    Or maybe I missed the point?

  2. Bear in mind that The Square is completely independent of any grand jurisdiction or organization. It publishes what it wants to publish, not what the UGLE tells it to publish.

    The magazines you say are "independent" are anything but. They're house organs run by editorial committees appointed by the grand jurisdictions they're associated with.

    I see nothing wrong with that as far as it goes; shoot, I'm on the committee for the Indiana Freemason Magazine myself, and generally we print what we want to print. But if the Grand Master stepped in and told us to run a particular article, or not to run another particular article, I don't see where we'd have much latitude to say "no".

    I agree with WBro. Hodapp that it's a shame a truly independent Masonic magazine with a mandate to publish whatever it wants free of grand jurisdictional control can't seem to survive in North America.

    You can go back as far as Mackey, who was constantly starting new magazines that lasted only a few years each, and see that they don't. Look at The Builder, arguably one of the finest independent American Masonic publications ever. Fifteen volumes, then pfft! (Of course, the Great Depression had something to do with that, but plenty of other institutions survived the Depression, or resurfaced after the worst of it.)

    Stephen Dafoe's independent Masonic Magazine is another case in point. The only Masonic publication we're aware of that actually paid its writers lasted two years (about the same as Mackey's attempts).

    So yes, I think you're missing the point.

  3. Don't be too defeatist about American independent Masonic periodicals. Sure there have been a lot that folded, but historically there have also been some that had long, successful runs. New York City had two of them at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Masonic Standard as a weekly that was published from 1898 to 1921 that focused on New York City, but also carried Masonic news of the state, the country, and the world. Der Fuhrer, which carried an historically unfortunate title that simply means The Leader, served New York City's large commuity of German-speaking Freemasons from 1873 to 1933.

    Both of these filled a commercial niche by bringing together readers and advertisers. Any independent journal has to serve this function to succeed.

    The Masonic Standard and Der Fuhrer functioned in the American golden age of newspapers. Today we are in the age of electronic communication. I have been impressed by the quality of Masonic communication on the internet that has sprung up in the last five years. We can't expect the future to be like the past.

    Best wishes-

    Will Moore


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