The first Masonic book published in America was printed in Philadelphia by Brother BENJAMIN FRANKLIN in 1734. It was a reprint of what is known as “Anderson’s Constitutions,” which was published in 1723 under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England, and entitled: “The Constitutions of the Freemasons, Containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c., of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the use of the Lodges,” and was compiled by Brother James Anderson, D.D. This reprint is now very scarce. A copy of it is in the Library of the Grand Lodge.
The “Ahiman Rezon; or, A Help to a Brother,” was prepared in 1756 by Brother Laurence Dermott, Grand Secretary of the GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND ACCORDING TO THE OLD INSTITUTIONS, once called the “Ancients.”
This corresponded to the Book of Constitutions of the GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, once called the “Moderns.”
The first Book of Masonic Law published by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was entitled: “Ahiman Rezon abridged and digested: as a Help to all that are or would be Free and Accepted Masons.” It was prepared by the Grand Secretary, Rev. Brother William Smith, D.D., Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, and was almost entirely a reprint of Dermott’s work; it was approved by the Grand Lodge November 22, 1781, published in 1783, and dedicated to Brother GEORGE WASHINGTON.
It is reprinted in the introduction to the first or edited reprint of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1730-1808.
On April 18, 1825, a revision of the Ahiman Rezon was adopted, being taken largely from “Anderson’s Constitutions.”
Another revision was adopted June 15, 1857, which was followed by the revisions adopted June 15, 1867; December 5, 1877; December 6, 1893; December 4, 1895; December 1, 1915; December 5, 1928; December 3, 1947; December 5, 1962; December 6, 1972; December 2, 1981, and December 4, 1991.
Credits: Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania