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Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (entry A)

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum are the volumes of Transactions published each year since its constitution in 1886 by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, No. 2076, London, England. They contain the treatises read before the Lodge, discussions, Minutes of the Lodge, miscellaneous short articles, many illustrations as informative as the text, book reviews, obituaries, lists of members, etc. The typical treatise is a one-part essay (though some are of two or more parts) prepared with much care and labor by a specialist in some chosen field of Masonic study or research; it usually contains a bibliography, and is followed by discussions, written out with care and oftentimes in advance, which have in many instances been as weighty and as instructive as the treatise they have criticized.

Treatises and discussions both are independent, responsible, uncolored by personal feelings ; are critical of each other. With their more than fifty volumes the Ars are now a larger set of books than the Encyclopedia Britannica, and perform the function for Masonic knowledge that is performed by the Britannica and similar works for general knowledge; since almost every contributor to the Ars has been a trained scholar, at least has been a specialist in some field of scholarship, the academic standards are higher than those of popular encyclopedias.

Book dealers' catalogs for 1945 (to give one year for purposes of comparison) list complete sets at from $500 to $ 1200. Masonic students however need not wholly deny themselves ownership of Ars because the lack of early volumes has created a scarcity value for the whole set ; there is no continuity from one volume to another, therefore without reader's loss he can start with whatever earliest volume he can find.

In its Masonic Papers, Vol. l, page 263, Research Lodge, No. 281, Seattle, Washington, publishes a complete Index of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum; Part I, an index of titles; Part II, an index of authors. The last item in Part I is numbered 770 ; this is somewhat in excess of the total number of treatises in A.C. because of cross-indexing and because inaugural Addresses, etc., are incltided. The treatises on Freemasonry in the United States (which is 200 years old and in which are some 90% of the Masons of the world) are: "Freemasonry in America," by C. P. Maccalla (very brief) ; III, p. 123. "The Carmick MS." (of Philadelphia), by WV. J. Hughan; XXII, pg5. "Distribution in the U. S. of Anderson's Constitutions" (brief and incomplete), by Charles S. Plumb; XLIII, p. 227. "Josiah H. Drummond" (a short biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould ; X, p. 165. "Benjamin Franklin" (brief), by H. C. de Lafontaine ; XLI, p. 3. "Masonry in West Florida and the 31st Foot" (brief), by R. F. Gould; XIII, p. 69. "Morgan Incident of 1826," by J. Hugo Tatsch; XXXIV, p. 196. "Theodore Sutton Parvin" (brief biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould; XV, p. 29. "Albert Pike" (brief biographical sketch), by R. F. Gould ; lV, p. 116.

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