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The Philalethes Society

The Philalethes Society is the oldest independent Masonic research society in North America. The society was founded on October 1, 1928, by a group of Masonic authors led by Cyrus Field Willard, a former reporter for the Boston Globe The Philalethes was designed to serve the needs of those in search of deeper insight into the history, rituals and symbolism of Freemasonry.

The Greek word φιλαλήθης (pronounced "fill-a-LAY-thayss") was used by ancient writers such as Aristotle and Plutarch, and means "a lover of truth."

In the earliest days, the Society described itself as "An International Body of Masonic Writers." Official membership was limited to forty Fellows, who were drawn from writers and editors of the many Masonic newspapers and magazines that existed before the second world war.

This structure consciously imitated both the Académie Française (in the limitation of forty Fellows) and the world’s premier lodge of Masonic research, Quatuor Coronati № 2076 in London, England (in allowing non-members to participate through an unlimited "Correspondence Circle"). Members of the Correspondence Circle were also called "corresponding members."

Today, members of the Correspondence Circle are merely referred to as "Members." The number of members who are designed Fellows is still restricted to forty.

Since 1946 the Philalethes has published its quarterly journal Philalethes: The Journal of Masonic Research & Letters.

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