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Masonic Bios

Robert Macoy


Robert Macoy was born in Ireland, October 4, 1816, but from the time he was four years old lived in New York City, where, at an early age, he apprenticed himself in the printing and publishing business, and continued in it for nearly forty years, first as printer and bookseller, and then as a Masonic publisher. During his generation he made a large place for himself in the American Craft, along with Mackey, McClenachan, Drummond, Morris, etc., with whom he was closely associated He won a success in four separate spheres of Masonic labors:

    1. In the Order of the Eastern Star. Rob Morris had conceived the idea of it, had written rituals, had filled it with his inspiration, but was a failure at the work of organization. ". . . Upon his departure for the Holy Land, in 1868, Brother Morris transferred to Brother Macoy all the authority he had assumed and exercised in regard to the Order. Bro. Macoy immediately set about arranging the work more systematically.... Under his guiding hand the Supreme Grand Chapter. a selfeonstituted body, was organized in December, 1868. . ."

    2. In the work of Grand Bodies of Masonry. He held the high office of Deputy Grand Master of New York, and was Grand Recorder of the Grant Commandery, E. T.

    3. As author. He wrote an unknown number of articles for the Masonic press; wrote much in a number of Monitors and Manuals- and was author of The Worshipful Masters' Assistant which for half a century was to the office of Master what Mackey's Encyclopedia was to the whole of the Craft.

    4. As a publisher. He published (and oftentimes either edited or helped to write) a long list of Masonic books, among them The Master Workmen, 1849- The Masonic Manual 1852; The Book of the Lodge, 1855, a work of immense national influence which American Masonic historians have overlooked- Vocal Manual, 1853- Masonic Minstrel, 1857; Worshipful Master Assistant, 1885; Rise of Adoption, 1868, and in 1890- and the General History, Cyclopedia, and Dictionary of Freemasonry which is described under ENCYCLOPEDIA, Mackey's etc., elsewhere in this Supplement.

During the productive period of Bro. Macoy's published and writing the one demand everywhere was for Monitors and Hand-books, and Macoy was but one of a number who supplied them, from Webb to Mackey A detailed, exhaustive bibliography of Macoy by an expert would open up a path for historians into one of the most important fields of either American Masonic history or American Masonic Jurisprudence~ Grand Lodges (and other Grand Bodies) now prepare and publish their own Monitors. In the period, of almost three-quarters of a century, when it was left to private members to prepare and publish Monitors not a few of them (as was inevitable, and it is not to their discredit) insinuated into Craft practice more than one element of the Exoteric work which represented nobody's idea but their own, and in some instances was a mistaken idea. Certain of the small discrepancies, anomalies, inconsistencies which Grand Lodges find in the Monitorial sections of their Uniform Work, and sometimes in Lodge practice, could be traced back to a private Monitorialist.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

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