RUDOLPH L. BIESELE, Editor
Masonry in Texas: Background, History, and Influence to 1846.
By James David Carter. Introduction by Walter Prescott
Webb. Waco (Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. and A.M.), 1955.
Pp. xviii+54o. Illustrations. $7.00.
This book strikes a new and encouraging note among fraternal
and religious histories. Most men who undertake such works,
although sincerely devoted to their subject, lack the objectivity
required to make their writing ring true to anyone except other
devotees. Doubtless many qualified historians have been tempted
to write of an organization with which they are affiliated, but I
cannot recall having seen many of their products in print. Fra-
ternal histories have tended to be filially eulogistic rather than
Carter's Masonry in Texas is the work of a dedicated Mason
(he edits the Grand Lodge Magazine) whose devotion to the
order is innate, perhaps hereditary. He has gathered materials
for this study through years of patient digging-the kind of work
that consumes time but does not fire the imagination. But Carter
is also a dedicated historian. He understands the canons of the
craft and can distinguish between fact and legend. This enables
him to handle his materials with appreciation and with insight,
without improvising or resorting to special pleading. The his-
torian will find here little that he cannot go along with on the
evidence presented, and the Mason will find it as accurate and
as carefully researched a study of his order as he is likely ever to
It is a prodigious work, and probably it is only the beginning
of a still more prodigious one. Before Dr. Carter gets to Texas,
he has to acquaint the reader with the origins of Freemasonry in
England and on the Continent and make clear the order's tenets.
Then he must trace the spread of Masonry from the Old World
into the British and Spanish colonies in America, and evaluate
the role of individual Masons in public affairs while the United
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/. Accessed March 2, 2015.