Havana: Imprenta del H. Teodid, 1874-1875. 204;268pp., plus two portrait plates tipped onto front endpapers. 4to. Contemporary quarter sheep and paste paper boards, spine gilt. Moderate wear at edges and spine ends; boards scuffed in places. Front hinge split, with plates and initial leaf loose. Light toning and faint foxing. Slightly later manuscript inscription on front free endpaper;. Good. Item #3440
A complete run of this clandestine Cuban Masonic newspaper, which published a total of eighty-eight issues and a thirty-two-page supplement from January 1874 to September 1875. The name of the press is an anagram of the publisher, French mason Leon F. Dediot, who was active in Cuba from 1872, and all other contributors are identified by pseudonyms. During printing of the final issue, the premises were raided by colonial authorities, and the press was stopped, with the type and all printed materials confiscated. Dediot himself was imprisoned for three weeks before being deported to Mexico.
The establishment of freemasonry in Cuba dates to 1818 and the years of revolutions throughout Central and South America. The Spanish crown outlawed the group in 1824 and the colonial government in Cuba began to violently enforce the ban in 1828. Nevertheless, a secret lodge was founded in Havana in 1860, and the masons played a key part in the evolution of nationalist sentiment and a nascent independence movement against Spain. Before being deported in 1871, the young José Marti studied at the Colegio San Pablo, where many of the professors were eminent masons, and he was affiliated with Logia Caballeros Cruzados under the name Anahuac, which he also adopted for his revolutionary activities.
The paper itself prints news and developments of the masonic community in Havana, across Cuba, and internationally. It also contains numerous short or serialized essays on a variety of political, philosophical, and cultural topics, and publishes letters from its subscribers and excerpts from foreign masonic publications. Some of the articles are concerned with the defense of masonry and its continued practice, but of particular interest are the political articles that consider and support the nationalist cause published during the waning period of the Ten Years' War, the first war for Cuban independence that began in 1868. Contemporary manuscript notations in the supplement provide a key to the pseudonyms of several authors and contributors. The present copy is also contains a portrait of Cuban mason Emilio Rodriguez Canalejos to Aurelio Almeida, founder of Madre Logia de la Provincia de Habana in 1876 and publisher of La Voz de Hiram, the official organ of the new lodge, and several other successor publications to the present work. A rare and complete run; not located thus or in single issues by OCLC.