December 11th, 2014

Hypnotic huckster

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

IMG_0001In his book Practical lessons in hypnotism & magnetism, L.W. DeLaurence states that “Occult force” is simply personal magnetism that if well developed is able to control man, woman, child or beast at will.  If a person possesses this occult force they can then project thoughts, desires, and even habits into the minds of those that have no knowledge of this mental science.  DeLaurence saw a hypnotist on stage and decided to take it up himself, so he took a grand total of one lesson and then began touring around the country doing lectures and exhibitions.

DeLaurence was a pretty shady character even within the IMG_0002world of spiritualism and occult.  His publication of The Key to the Tarot: Oracles Behind the Veil was a blatant almost word for word plagiarism of Arthur Edward Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot : being fragments of a secret tradition under the veil of divination He was able to do this due to a loophole in the US copyright law at the time.  He also established DeLaurence, Scott and Company which sold spiritual amulets, candles, herbs, and other items.  Carolyn Morrow Long’s book Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic, and Commerce includes a detailed section about DeLaurence.

According to Long he was the subject of a mail order fraud investigation in 1919 where the prosecuting attorney seemed determined to expose him as a fake.  When DeLaurence was asked about the products he sold he admitted that they lacked any spiritual qualities and that the candles came from a nearby church, the amulets from a jewelry manufacturer, and the herbal remedies from a pharmaceutical company.  Transcripts show that he was given two weeks to remove the “fradulent and objectionable claims” but there is no final outcome noted, nor is there a police record of DeLaurence.


To brush up on your own personal magnetism take a look at Practical lessons in hypnotism & magnetism : giving the only simple and practical course in hypnotism and vital magnetism which starts the student or practitioner out upon a plain, common sense basis–prepared especially for self-instruction / by L.W. DeLaurence. Chicago : De Laurence Co., c1937 which can be found in Widener’s collection.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager for contributing this post.

December 10th, 2014

The town musicians of Houghton

Gervasius Redler came to Paris from Alsace in the early 19th century, and set up shop as a piano teacher. Around 1840, he began publishing dance music in the popular styles of the day, particularly quadrilles.

*98TW-10.355 title page

*98TW-10.355 title page

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December 9th, 2014

On the Money

Money 1

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo collection.

This edition of Jules Boissière’s Propos d’un intoxiqué has featured before in this space – see this post for a copy formerly owned by its illustrator, Tsuguharu Foujita. This copy, however, warrants revisiting the title.

Every page of this 240-volume book has been covered with original illustrations in crayon and watercolor, depicting personages, creatures, iconography, and scenery of Southeast Asia. On most pages, these embellishments are limited to the margins, but chapter breaks as well as the front and back matter offer larger canvases. The artist is Fred Money (1882-1956), a French painter and illustrator in the Post-Impressionist tradition. Money (a pseudonym for Raoul Billon) supported his work as a painter of landscapes and still lifes with commercial work, illustrating advertisements and novels – his work appears in books by Alexandre Dumas and Pierre Louÿs, among others.

Money 2

Per the edition’s limitation statement, the volume’s copy number indicates that it was originally issued with several states of Foujita’s illustrations. These are entirely absent, leaving only the extra-illustrated text. It also provides no clues as to provenance: whether it was commissioned, and if so, by whom, is a mystery.

Money 3

Money 4

Propos d’un intoxique: PQ2603.O37 P76 1929x (C).

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

December 8th, 2014

Child’s Play

Vigil, Constancio C. Cuentos de Vigil para los ninõ, 1940. LAC9.V6836.940cThe partnership between the Argentinian publisher Constancio C. Vigil and the Spanish graphic designer Federico Ribas was an exceedingly fruitful and colorful one. Vigil was born in Uruguay in 1876 and came to dominate the field of Argentinian journalism during the first quarter of the 20th century, editing no fewer than seven highly-popular magazines. In 1918 he founded the house of Libreria Atlántida (which continues to flourish today). Vigil used the firm to consolidate his publishing efforts and to promote other popular literature, much of which he wrote. He also established for himself a prominent position in the marketplace for juvenile literature and wrote scores of stories for children.

Ribas, born in Galicia in 1890, is little known today, yet is still considered one of Spain’s great early 20th century graphic artists. While Vigil solidified his position in Argentina, Ribas was building a distinguished career as both a publisher and designer throughout Europe. He illustrated books and magazines, worked in advertising, and designed both commercial and artistic posters. Then, in 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. Ribas was a vocal opponent of Franco’s and thus found it prudent to leave Spain. He had visited Argentina as a youth so decided to cross the Atlantic – where his reputation had preceded him. Vigil quickly scooped him up and appointed him the Artistic Director of Alántida, a post he held until it was safe to return to Spain in 1949.

Together, Vigil and Ribas issued hundreds of popular illustrated works. The Cuentos de Vigil para los niños, recently acquired by Houghton, is the fruit of this remarkably fertile partnership. It is a diminutive five-volume set consisting of a series of seventy short children’s stories, most of which had already been issued separately. Many of the tales feature anthropomorphized animals, many conclude with moral endings, many display a charming sense of humor, many strive to instruct – all are very colorful. Each one exhibits an innocence that conceals the great effort and talent that went into making it.

Thanks to Karen Nipps, Head of the Rare Book Team, for contributing this post.]

December 4th, 2014

The rituals of Illuminates of Thanateros

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

Liber nullLiber Null, a book by Pete Carroll, was originally written as a sourcebook for the magical organization, Illuminates of Thanateros.  It includes spells and magical exercises ranging from mind control to transmogrification.  Liber nullA warning at the beginning of the book states “Liber Null contains a selection of extremely powerful rituals and exercises intended for committed oculists who are aware of the extent of their own state of being.”  Not for the magical novice, this book discusses intense rituals that are akin to sensory deprivation that should not be tried if the reader has any health issues.  Much if the IOT magic discussed in Liber Null is from the darker side of magic and is devoted to the black arts.Liber Null

Illuminates of Thanateros, or IOT, was founded in 1978 by Pete Carroll and Ray Sherwin as a hierarchical organization based on the Greek gods of sex and death and the idea of chaos magic.  Related to the Zos Kia Cultus and Thelmic Magick, Carroll combines both traditional magic with new forms of thought and focus.   Although he debunks astrology, he grounds his new system in similar terms.  Carroll, who studied science in college, attempts to demystify magic much like Aleister Crowley.  Liber nullHowever, chaos magic lives up to its name, creating a realm where everything can contradict itself.  As Carroll says in Liber Kaos, “Chaoist magic is characterized by it’s cavalier attitude to metaphysics…”





Liber Null : an I.O.T. publication in class 4,3 and 2 comprising liber MMM, liber LUX liber NOX millenium, liber AOM by Pete Carroll ; illustrations, Andrew David can be found in Widener Library’s collection.  A later publication that includes both Liber Null and the related text Psychonaut is also available here: Liber Null & Psychonaut Peter J. Carroll; BF1611 .C38 1987.


Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

December 1st, 2014

New on OASIS in December

John Updike, Photo © Martha Updike. 2008M-40Finding aids for four newly cataloged collections have been added to the OASIS database this month, most notably the John Updike Papers, a major collection of some 300 linear feet, which has been under way since its acquisition in 2009.

Photo © Martha Updike

Processed by Jennifer Lyons and others:
John Updike Papers, 1940-2009 (MS Am 1793)

Processed by Ashley M. Nary:
Timothy Pickering Letters to Henry and Timothy Pickering, 1792-1807 (MS Am 1977)

Processed by Bonnie B. Salt:
William Boden Legal Documents from Natick, Massachusetts and Other Documents, 1729-1805 (MS Am 623)

Letters Sent to Martin Cawood and the Opera Company Limited, 1854-1865 (MS Thr 1047)

November 26th, 2014

Circulating libraries

I recently had the great pleasure of assisting a Jane Austen scholar who was looking for book evidence of English circulating libraries during Austen’s lifetime. At first I thought that the assignment would be a piece of cake, since I’d run across a fair amount of 18th and 19th century French subscription library evidence in my music cataloging, as French music publishers of the time often maintained active lending libraries. But soon I discovered that what I had thought would be a straightforward research project would teach me far more about these libraries than I expected.

M1500.M75 F4 1785 cover

M1500.M75 F4 1785 cover

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November 25th, 2014

Urdu Punch

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring material from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection. 

Punch, the seminal British satirical magazine, is credited with popularizing the use of ‘cartoon’ to mean a comic drawing, rather than a preliminary sketch for a painting or tapestry. During the time of the British Raj, a number of publications throughout India adopted Punch’s model of political cartoons and satirical commentary; the first of these was The Oudh Punch (also cited as The Awadh Punch), an Urdu magazine founded in 1877 and based in the northern city of Lucknow. Many others, such as The Delhi Punch and The Punjab Punch, followed suit. They employed the sardonic devices of the original Punch to skewer and criticize British imperial leadership; nonetheless, a British author, Archibald Constable, saw fit to produce this selection of cartoons with English explications, putting the cartoons forward as a cultural curiosity, and as evidence of the Indian sense of humor.

Oudh 1

A selection from the illustrations which have appeared in the Oudh Punch from 1877 to 1881, then, is an interesting window into its period: original illustrations with Urdu text  are accompanied by Constable’s English notes, which provide political and cultural context, and a general introduction and postface. Constable regards the cartoons with the optimistic authority of the colonialist; their original authors may have offered differing descriptions. The volume’s inclusion in the Santo Domingo Collection is on the basis of one of its plates: “An opium den in Lucknow”, which depicts the range of users from intoxication to catatonia; the Oudh Punch himself draws back the curtain on a prostrate opium eater.

Oudh 2

Oudh 3

A selection from the illustrations which have appeared in the Oudh Punch from 1877 to 1881: NC1718.O8 1881.

Thanks to rare book cataloger Ryan Wheeler for contributing this post.

November 20th, 2014

Myths of London

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Santo Domingo collection.

London walkaboutAlthough at first glance London Walkabout by Andrew Collins looks like a typical pamphlet for a tourist it actually is much more unusual.  Subtitled “Your guide to discovering the myths and legends of ten mystical sties in and around the City of London, accessible in one easy walkabout,” this pamphlet promises a whole lot more than a standard tour.   The ten sites include: the Tower of London, the London Stone, the Temple of Mithras, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Ludgate Hill, the Church of St. Martin’s-within-Ludgate, St. Bride’s Church Fleet St., the Church of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West Fleet St., the Temple Church and St. Clement Danes Aldwych.London walkabout

Each site has its own section which includes basic historical facts as well as myths and stories about the supernatural occurrences at the site.   A list of famous ghosts at the Tower of London, an explanation of the Dianic Cult at St. Paul’s Cathedral  and a section on psychic work at the Temple Church are some of the more intriguing stories told.  Essentially arranged in a geographic line, Collin’s gives a walking guide that takes about 5 hours to complete and can be done entirely on one’s own.  Details of what to look for at each site are included with the stories as well as pictures of each site for historical comparison and identification.

London walkabout

Andrew Collins, a prolific writer on the supernatural and occult, leads you through each site with unusual insights and history.  Still an active writer today, he also does book tours and signings for his many mythological texts.  Several of his books are available at Widener including Beneath the pyramids : Egypt’s greatest secret uncoveredThe Cygnus mystery : unlocking the ancient secret of life’s origins in the cosmos and The knights of Danbury.  London walkabout /by Andrew Collins, Wickford : Earthquest, 1984 (1986 [printing]) is also available at Widener Library.

Thanks to Emma Clement, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

November 13th, 2014

Shall I read your future?

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items from the newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.

Death.  Typically depicted as a skeleton with a sickle, one might suppose that if this card appeared in a tarot reading that you should prepare for an untimely demise, but it rarely signifies a physical death.  Tarot card readings are a highly subjective topic depending on what you believe, but according to A.E. Waite, a recognized authority on the occult and tarot, the Death card usually means an end to a cycle or a transition into a new stage in your life.

Le Taro sacerdotal : reconstitué d’après l’astral et expliqué pour ceux qui savent déja published in 1951 consists of 22 beautiful lithograph cards, most of which are hand-colored with watercolors. The cards consist of an iconographic image with a corresponding description of the archetype below it, one of the exceptions being Death.  

IMG_0003 IMG_0004

You can see that the style of the description scripts vary according to the image.  Again according to Waite the Hermit represents guidance, introspection, solitude, and seclusion.  The Hanged Man is based on a pittura infamante, a shameful image of a traitor being punished in a manner common at the time in Italy.  Waite suggests the Hanged Man is associated with sacrifice, passivity, contemplation, and inner harmony. 

The illustrator of these cards, Lucien Laforge, is also known for his illustrative work in magazines including LinkLa Charrette : “Charrie” Aujourd’hui which was a short lived serial publication in 20th-century France.  Courtesy of the JMSD collection we have the very last issue no. 24 in Widener and it is possible we may uncover more as we continue to catalog.

Hoping to find more information about Laforge I discovered the Database of Modern Tarot Art.  Adam MacLean, who is an enthusiast for alchemical texts and symbolism, is creating a database from his own collection of tarot decks.  They are currently sorted by geographic regions though there is also a keyword search function.  The description of the entries vary depending on the information MacLean has on the specific deck, but it is a pretty robust database with at least two images from the deck for each entry.   

le taro 3_edit

Le Taro sacerdotal : reconstitué d’après l’astral et expliqué pour ceux qui savent déja / Lucien Laforge [and] André Godin : prints, 1951.  MS Fr 606 can be found at the Houghton Library.

Thanks to Alison Harris, Santo Domingo Project Manager and Susan Wyssen, Manuscript Cataloger, for contributing this post.

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