Open Lectures on Freemasonry

What is Open Lectures on Freemasonry?

In this era where the printed and manuscript word becomes ever more available through digital technology, new wider panoramas for the curious can open. OpenLFM, through its online lecture series on Freemasonry given by prominent scholars, will aim to demonstrate a range of new perspectives for academics, Freemasons or simply the curious.

Lectures are audible, within technical limits, to those who are interested in the topic to be presented. Participation requires prior registration. Registration is free of charge. Registered users will be invited to OpenLFM Googlegroups and will be informed about forthcoming activities. OpenLFM beholds the right to reject any registration with no further explanation.

Next Lecture

Fraternal Frontiers: Reconstructing the Life of Benjamin Hyam, California’s Third Grand Master

Adam Kendall

October,24 2020 19:00 BST


Born in London and raised in Jamaica, Benjamin Daniel Hyam joined the rush to California in 1850. But his interest was not in gold; it was in community and fraternal organizing, for which he possessed a natural flair. Initiated in a military lodge in Veracruz, Mexico during the Mexican-American War, he became associated with the (then) unrecognized Louisiana Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons and obtained a warrant to establish a lodge. Overcoming the difficulties of recognition by a combination of aplomb and circumstance, Hyam joined with other pioneer luminaries in constituting the Grand Lodge of F. & A.M. of California, eventually becoming the new state’s third grand master in 1852. In this role, he challenged the contemporary American Masonic understanding of a grand master’s power, creating a unique controversy that sheds light on diverse Masonic perspectives, evolving interpretations of social status, and religious prejudice. Not to be outdone by his activities in California, in his later years, Hyam attracted additional controversy on the east coast and in England due to his association with the Rite of Memphis and a well-known student of Masonic and esoteric orders, John Yarker.

This presentation will describe how the life of one of California Masonry's most misunderstood characters was reconstructed from historical bits and pieces. It is a classic tale of power gained and lost at the frontiers of nations and institutions, revealing a subtle network of historical actors joining California Freemasonry to an expansive fraternal lineage.

Chair&Post-Discussion John L. Cooper

Adam Kendall, MA, is a California-based historian and member of Quatuor Coronati Research Lodge in London. His research focuses on the role of fraternalism in a variety of topics, such as the reception of ancient religions and mythology, nativism, art, and local histories. He is currently involved with the leadership and editorial committees of several international Masonic research societies.

John L. Cooper pursued a career in public education as a high school teacher and administrator. He is a past grand master of the Grand Lodge of California and an internationally recognized researcher into Freemasonry.

Only registered users could get an invitation which will be sent before the lecture date. Please note that the size of the audience is limited by technical capacities.


Adam Kendall

John L. Cooper