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Masonic Service Association of North America

Emessay Notes May 2010

Freemasonry And Public Education

         That’s the title of the Nov. 1990 Short Talk Bulletin by Sidney Kase, PGM, Grand Lodge of Washington. In this Short Talk Bro. Kase traces the history of the involvement of Freemasonry in Public Education. An extract from that Short Talk follows and on the reverse side of this issue of Emessay Notes is a listing of Masonic Colleges and Universities begun by Freemasons.

“Our Masonic forefathers supported the idea of free universal education for the citizenry, which was true to their belief that a builder is an enlightened man. We’re generally the first to take practical steps in support of public education in any newly developing area. As our Masonic Brethren joined in exploring the burgeoning “New World”, led by Lewis and Clark, other Masons were to be found among the pioneers who moved into and developed these areas. One of their first endeavors in a new community was to build a Masonic Lodge. Generally, this was a two-story structure with the ground floor to serve as a school room, the upstairs as the Lodge room.

   The first Masonic jurisdiction to introduce the idea of a Masonic school or college was Ohio, and this action was quickly followed by a number of other Masonic jurisdictions. In 1924, Frederick Eby, a professor at the University of Texas, wrote: “The services of the Masonic Lodges in conducting schools and furnishing buildings must be regarded as one of the most important transitional steps toward free public education. A certain parallelism can be noted between the educational program of the Grand Lodge and the later organization of public education in the state.” (Frederick Eby, “THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN TEXAS’, 129, quoted in James Carter, Education and Masonry in Texas to 1846)”

(Source: MSA Short Talk Bulletin – November 1990)

The Fire Of The Mind

         Therefore, if any young man here has embarked his life in pursuit of knowledge, let him go on without doubting or fearing the event;—let him not be intimidated by the cheerless beginnings of knowledge, by the darkness, from which she springs, by the difficulties which hover around her, by the wretched habitations in which she dwells, by the want and sorrow which sometimes journeys in her train; but let him ever follow her as the Angel that guards him, and as the Genius of his life. She will bring him out at last into the light of day, exhibit him to the world comprehensive in acquirements, fertile in resources, rich in imagination, strong in reasoning, prudent and powerful above his fellows, in all the relations and in all the offices of life.
Sydney Smith

                (Source: A Treasury of Masonic Thought, Edited by Carl Glick)


Masonic College & Universities

Starting in 1844 in Lexington, Missouri, at least 30 colleges and universities have been started by American Masonic Lodges and Grand Lodges, mostly in the Southern Jurisdiction. It is amazing to think that a local lodge would even think about an undertaking as massive as a college, but it 'was part of the Masonic tradition of meeting the community needs. Most of these schools dosed long ago, but a few served as the foundation for contemporary institutions.

School Location Founded
Auburn Masonic Female College Auburn, Alabama 1840s
Dadeville Masonic Seminary Dadeville, Alabama 1852
Dayton Masonic College Dayton 1885
East Alabama Female Institute Talladega, Alabama 1849
Eureka Masonic College Holes County, Miss.  
Furlow Masonic Female College Americus, Georgia 1859
Georgia Masonic Female College Covington, Georgia
Gilmer Masonic Female Institute Gilmer, Texas 1857
Henderson Masonic Male and Female Institute Henderson, Tennessee 1877
Masonic College Little Rock, Arkansas 1850
Masonic College (today Central Methodist College) Lexington, Missouri 1844
Masonic College Macon, Tennessee   
Masonic College Larissa, Texas  
Masonic Female College Cokesbury, S.C 1853.
Masonic Institute (today Weatherford College) Parker County, Texas 1869
Masonic Institute of San Augustine San Augustine, Texas 1851
Masonic Male Academy Tyler,  
Masonic University La Grange, Kentucky 1842
Masonic University Selma, Alabama 1853
Masonic University Cincinnati, Ohio  
Masonic University Blanco, Texas 1870
Masonic University of Tennessee (today Rhodes College) Clarksville, Tennessee 1848
New Danville Masonic Female Academy Jacksonville, Texas 1854
Parsons College Veal's Station, Texas 1892
Pea. Ridge Masonic College Pea Ridge, Arkansas 1874
Saint John's College

(today Oxford Orphanage)
Oxford, North Carolina 1858
San Saba Masonic College San Saba, Texas  
Somerset Masonic College Somerset, Kentucky 1855
Southern Masonic College Covington, Georgia  
Union Female College Eufaula, Alabama 1854
Upshur Masonic College Gilmer, Texas 1851

From Dr. Ray C. Brown, "List of Colleges and Universities that have Closed, Merged, or Changed their Names,

(Source: The Scottish Rite Journal, Southern Jurisdiction March/April 2010)


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