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Ralph P. Lester
[Ralph P. Lester]
Editor of Look to the East!1 a ritual of the first three degrees of Freemasonry, in 1876; it is a sobering thought that a man who gave American Freemasonry one of its more popular and enduring—albeit unauthorized—books of masonic ritual, appears to have left no other memorial to his life.
Neither Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia, nor the transactions of Ars Quatuor Coronatorum even acknowledge his passage.
"Several lodges [in British Columbia] doing American work make use of Lester's Look to the East — a book of no standing in the U.S.A. and roundly condemned by some Freemasons. We have been unable to find out who Lester was, whether he was a freemason at all, and what jurisdiction practices the work he prints. However, like all 'spurious' rituals, the book contains many genuine elements, especially those culled from monitors."2
The catalogue for the British Library identifies "R.P. Lester", the annotator of Aleister Crowley's Oracles, as Ralph P. Lester, but this is suspect.3 His next of kin, Thomas H. Leggett, registered the rights to the book in 1904.4 This, combined with the lack of any other documentation, suggests that "Ralph P. Lester" may have been a pseudonym.

1.Look to the East!, Lester, Ralph P. ed. New York : Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, 1876. 201pp
2."Report of Special Committee on Rituals", R.F. Blandy, chairman. Annual Proceedings. Grand Lodge of British Columbia, Vancouver : 1950. p. 134.
3.See: Oracles. The biography of an art : unpublished fragments of the work of Aleister Crowley With explanatory notes by R. P. Lester and Aleister Crowley. Boleskine,Foyers, Inverness : Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth , 1905. 175pp. plus Excerpt A - from the catalogue 14pp., A list of the works of Mr. Aleister Crowley, order form. [Although the British Library identifies R.P. Lester as Ralph P. Lester, internal evidence suggests that "R.P. Lester" was yet another of Crowley's many pseudonyms.]
4.Catalogue of Copyright Enties Appendix 350. pt. 1, n.s., v. 14, Dec., 1917


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