A Trip to the Used Bookstore

by Senior Midnight Freemason Contributor
Gregory J. Knott 33° 

I love visiting used bookstores.  They are usually crammed with titles of books that are no longer in the mainstream stores such as Barnes & Noble.   The staff is typically very passionate about books and extremely helpful in assisting you in finding that nugget you are looking for.

I was in Springfield, Illinois on a recent trip and made a visit to the Prairie Archives Bookstore located across the square from the Old State Capitol and two doors down from Abraham Lincoln’s law office in historic downtown Springfield. 

Upon entering Prairie Archives, I was instantly absorbed into all the books in front of me.   This store has been around since 1973 and has established a reputation as being one of the premier used bookstores.  I spent considerable time browsing through shelf after shelf of treasurers who were just waiting for someone to pick them up.  Numerous titles caught my attention and it was all I could do to resist so many of them.   

My own personal book collection is probably now approaching a thousand books, so I have begun to try and focus my collection down into a few key areas, with Freemasonry being one of them.  Of course, there is always room for one more book, but I am working hard to be more disciplined with my book selections.

Prairie Archives is extremely well organized and has an extensive online database on Abe Books.  As I was making my rounds, one of the staff members asked me if he could help me find anything and I told him that I collected masonic-related books.   He asked me if I had seen the masonic section, and I told him I must have overlooked it.  I was shown where it was and I was pleasantly surprised by how many titles they had on hand.

As I started working my way through the shelves of books, I found titles from the Missouri Lodge of Research, the Masonic Book Club, proceedings from various masonic groups, and more.   Some great stuff.

I settled on four books that included Anderson’s Constitutions of 1738 reprinted by the Masonic Book Club in 1978 and A Daily Advancement in Masonic Knowledge, The Collected Blue Friar Lectures published by the Masonic Book Club in 2003.   I also picked up Sesquicentennial History of the Grand Commandery of Knight Templar of the State of Illinois 1857-2007 by Robert Baker Fisher and Grand York Rite Presiding Officers (Illinois) 1847-2007 by John Thomas Riedas, Sr.  I was extremely pleased with my new treasures.  

Support your local bookstores, buy new and used.   There are many books just waiting for you to rediscover them and share the knowledge they contain.

Serva Lectio - which is Latin for keep reading!


Gregory J. Knott, 33° is a founding member and Senior Contributor of the Midnight Freemasons blog. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, Eastern Star and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign-Urbana. He is also a member of ANSAR Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg serves on the Board of Directors of The Masonic Society and is a member of the Scottish Rite Research Society and The Philathes Society. He is a charter member of a new Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter U.D., and serves as its Secretary. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts—an Eagle Scout himself, he is a member of the National Association of Masonic Scouters.

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