The Philalethes Society is an international Masonic research society; the oldest independent Masonic research society in North America. The Philalethes Society was started to serve the needs of those seeking a deeper insight into the history, rituals, and symbols of Freemasonry as well as spreading Masonic light to others. The purpose of this Society is to find the truth in response to the abundant examples of historical fiction, myths, fabrications, and exaggerations. Due to our geographical size and location, American Freemasons have and were often sheltered from the activities of Freemasonry around the rest of the world. The Philalethes Society seeks to fill this gap of knowledge and, in one instance, was instrumental in researching the atrocities committed by the Nazis and its persecution of Freemasonry.
The Philalethes Society was founded on October 1, 1928, in Cedar Rapids, IA, by Cyrus Field Willard (California), Robert I. Clegg (Illinois), George H. Imbrie (Missouri), Alfred H. Moorhouse (Massachusetts), Henry F. Evans (Colorado), and William C. Rapp (Illinois), all of whom were prominent Masonic authors of their time. Cyrus F. Willard served as the Society's first President. The Philalethes Society is overseen by an Executive Board which consists of a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Third Vice President, Fourth Vice President, Executive Secretary, Treasurer, Editor, Business Manager, Librarian, and Immediate Past President
Philalethes (φιλαλήθης) is pronounced "fill-a-LAY-thayss" and is Greek in its origin. Philalethes is the combination of "philo" meaning lover and "alethes" meaning true, and when taken together Philalethes means "a lover of truth." Philalethes was used by some alchemists in the 17th and 18th centuries including Robert Samber with his pseudonym, Eugenius Philalethes (a name also used by Thomas Vaughan). In 1772, a Masonic rite known as the "Rite of Philalethes" was founded in Paris, France, which was devoted to the study of esotericism. It was from this rite that the Philalethes Society took its name.
Within this group, there are Fellows of the Philalethes Society (FPS) and Members of the Philalethes Society (MPS). As it was in the beginning, the number of Fellows is limited to forty (40) Masonic authors. All other Master Masons retain access to the Philalethes Society as Members of the Correspondence Circle, which has no membership limitations. Membership is available only to Master Masons in good standing. The cost for membership is $50 for those Masons in the United States and Canada and $60 for all other international Masons. The advantages of membership include receiving four quarterly issues of the "Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters", access to the members-only forum, discounted prices on back issues of the journal, fellowship in a local Chapter of the Philalethes Society (where available), correspondence with like-minded Freemasons throughout the world, and direct access to Masonic scholars who can assist with your own research
Originally, the Society had no publication of its own, but published its work in other Masonic publications (many of them were edited by Fellows of the Society). The Society attempted to get their own publication started, but with the onset of the Great Depression and World War II, this effort was delayed until 1946, when the paper rationing was lifted. The first "Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters" was released in March 1946 with Walter A. Quincke, FPS, as its Editor.
Notable Fellows of the Philalethes Society include Cyrus Field Willard, Harold V. B. Voorhis, Rudyard Kipling, Oswald Wirth, Robert I. Clegg, Henry F. Evans, Louis Block, J. Hugo Tatsch, Charles S. Plumb, Harry L. Haywood, J.S.M. Ward, Charles C. Hunt. Carl H. Claudy, Arthur Edward Waite, Ray V. Denslow, S. Brent Morris, Thomas W. Jackson, Norman Vincent Peale, and Robert G. Davis.
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