Meet The Author – Albert Mackey 

As a contributor to the literature and science of Freemasonry, Doctor Mackey’s labours have been more extensive than those of any other in America or in Europe.

The American historian of Freemasonry. Albert Mackey was born on March 12, 1807 in Charleston, South Carolina.

This learned Brother lived to be seventy-four years old. He passed away at Fort Monroe, Virginia, on June 20, 1881, and was buried in Washington, District of Columbia, on Sunday, June 26, with all the solemnity of the Masonic Rites, in which he had been an active leader for many years.

From 1834, when he graduated with honours from the Charleston Medical College, until 1854, he practised his profession, but after 1854, literary and Masonic endeavours occupied his time.

During the Civil War, Doctor Mackey supported the Union, and in July 1865, President Johnson appointed him Port Collector.

Senator Sawyer defeated Brother Mackey in a contest for senatorial honours. In 1870, Doctor Mackey relocated to Washington, District of Columbia.

In 1841, the Saint Andrews Lodge No. 10 in Charleston, South Carolina initiated, passed, and raised Doctor Mackey.

In December of 1842, he was elected Worshipful Master of Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 in Charleston, where he joined shortly thereafter.

He served as Grand Secretary from 1842 to 1867, during which time he compiled all Foreign Correspondence Committee reports for the Grand Lodge.

He was a founding member of Landmark Lodge No. 76 in 1851.

During the winter of 1841-2, he was promoted and exalted in Capitular Freemasonry; he was elected High Priest in December 1844; he was elected Deputy Grand High Priest in 1848 and re-elected until 1855; and he was also elected High Priest in December 1844.

From 1855 to 1867, he was elected Grand High Priest of his state each year.

Elected to the position of General Grand High Priest in 1859, he held this position until 1868.

In 1844, he was elected Eminent Commander of South Carolina Commandery No. 1, and he was later honoured as a Past Grand Warden of the Grand Encampment of the United States.

In 1844, he was crowned Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Thirty-third and final Degree.

For many years, he served as Secretary-General of the Supreme Council, Southern Jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.

Doctor Mackey’s contributions to the literature and science of Freemasonry have been more extensive than those of any other American or European.


  • In 1845, he published A Lexicon of Freemasonry, his first Masonic work;
  • In 1851, he published Tame True Mystic Tie, his second Masonic work.
  • The Ahiman Rezon of South Carolina, 1852;
  • Principles of Masonic Law, 1856;
  • Book of the Chapter, 1858;
  • Text-Book of Masonic Jurisprudence, 1859;
  • History of freemasonry in South Carolina, 1861;
  • Manual of the Lodge, 1869;
  • Cryptic Masonry, 1877;
  • Symbolism of Freemasonry, and Masonic Ritual, 1869;
  • Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1874;
  • Masonic Parliamentary Law, 1875; followed.


Doctor Mackey also freely contributed to Masonic periodicals and edited a number of them with remarkable skill.

In 1849, he founded and edited for five years the Southern and Western Masonic Miscellany.

In 1857, he began publishing the Masonic Quarterly Review, which lasted for two years.

In July 1859, he accepted an invitation to assume editorial control of a section of the American Freemason, a position he held for one year.

His first article appeared in the September 1865 issue of the Masonic Trowel, and he contributed to the publication for nearly three years.

In October 1871, Doctor Mackey once again published his own Masonic publication, Mackey’s Nationd Freemason.

It was discontinued after three years, despite being a noteworthy publication.

In January of 1875, Doctor Mackey became one of the editors of the Voice of Masonry, where he remained a regular contributor for over four years until failing health forced him to stop.

The funeral services in Washington, D.C., in 1881 began at All Souls Church, Unitarian, of which Doctor Mackey was a member, and were led by the revered General Albert Pike and his fellow officers.

At the time of Doctor Mackey’s death, General Albert Pike penned a touching and ape precative message, which was sent out by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Southern Jurisdiction.

The Masonic Bodies were instructed to “drape in black the altars and working tools, and the Brethren will wear the proper badge of mourning for sixty days.”

The following Memorial was presented at a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia by a Committee led by Brother Charles F. Stansbury:

Our illustrious Brother, Albert Gallatin Mackey, is no more!

He died at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, on the 20th day of June, 1881, at the venerable age of 74, and was buried at Washington on Sunday June 26, 1881, with the highest honors of the Craft, Rites and Orders of Masonry uniting in the last sad services over his remains.

The announcement of his death has carried a genuine sentiment of sorrow wherever Freemasonry is known.

His ripe scholarship, his profound knowledge of Masonic law and usage, his broad views of Masonic philosophy, his ceaseless and invaluable literary labors in the service of the Order, his noble ideal of its character and mission, as well as his genial personal qualities and his lofty character, had united to make him personally known and vividly respected and beloved by the Masonic world.

While this Grand Lodge shares in the common sorrow of the Craft everywhere at this irreparable loss she can properly lay claim to a more intimate and peculiar sense of bereavement, inasmuch as our illustrious Brother had been for many years an active member of this Body Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence, and an advisor ever ready to assist our deliberations with his knowledge and counsel.

In testimony of our affectionate respect for his memory the Grand Lodge jewels, and insignia will be appropriately draped, and its members near the usual badge of mourning for thirty days.

Additionally, a memorial page of our proceedings will be dedicated to his honour. We assure his family of our sincere and respectful condolences, and we direct that a copy of this Minute be sent to them with an attested signature.

In the eulogy over Doctor Mackey delivered by Past Grand Master Henry Buist, of Georgia, before the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction, he said of the Doctor:

He was a fearless and gifted speaker; his language was courteous and manner dignified; and occasionally, in his zeal to defend what he believed to be right, he became animated and eloquent.

Positive in his beliefs, he advocated for them with courage. Once he determined his course of action, supported by a favourable conscience, no fear, disfavour, or discomfiture could sway him from it.

Whatever the emergency, he was always capable of handling it. Where others had doubts, he had confidence; where others wavered, he was immovable; and where others questioned, he asserted.

He was devoted to every public and Masonic responsibility. He had no place in his character for treachery.

He never betrayed a confidence. He was extraordinarily sincere and loyal to his friends, and those who were closest to him learned to value him the most.

His impulses were generous and forthright, and he harboured no malice toward anyone and only charity for all.

His legacy is in the hearts of those who knew him best and for the longest. He no longer resides on earth.

His work among humans has concluded; his record on earth is complete.

Article by: Albert G. Mackey

Albert Gallatin Mackey (1807 – 1881) was an American medical doctor and author.

He is best known for his books and articles about freemasonry, particularly the Masonic Landmarks.

In 1849 he established The Southern and Western Masonic Miscellany, a weekly masonic magazine.

He served as Grand Lecturer and Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of South Carolina, as well as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States

Books by Albert Mackay


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Unlock the secrets of the Freemasonry with The Blazing Star - a symbol that holds immense significance in their rituals and practices. Delve into its history, meaning and role in the different degrees of Freemasonry with expert insights from the Encyclopedia of Freemasonry by Albert Mackey. Discover the mystique of The Blazing Star today!

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