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American Mercury Article

In its issue for February, 1941 (page 184), the American Mercury, a national monthly magazine specializing in non-fiction articles for the well educated, published "The Annihilation of Freemasonry,'' by Sven Lunden.

The article in itself was sound, competent, unexceptionable, but is here placed on record among the memorabilia of the Fraternity not for its content but because it marks a mile-stone in the history of American Freemasonry. For the whole length of the period between World War I and World War II Freemasonry was publicly and freely discussed in Europe in books, newspapers, magazines, and from the platform by Masons and non-Masons alike, and in the same manner as any other subject important to the public; but during the same period in the United States Masonry almost never appeared in the public prints except incidentally, and in what journalists call "spot news''; certainly its principles were not discussed nor was there any public awareness of its role in American ways of life. The American Mercury article was the first of its kind; it is possible that it may be one of very few; it is more probable that by 1950 it will be proved to have been the first of innumerable instances.

One of the indications of this latter probability is the rapidly increasing number of books in which Freemasonry is discussed (most of them by anti-masons) that are appearing on the shelves of public libraries.

Mr. H. L. Mencken, the founder-editor of The American Mercury, once undertook a campaign of derision against those whom he described as "joiners," but his campaign recoiled upon his own head because be discovered that more than thirty million American men and women held membership in at least one fraternity, and be was unable even to convince himself that almost one-third of the population could be "playing at Indian" or belonged to "the booboisie."

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