Occult Collection at the Science History Institute in Philadelphia

We recently attended an event at the Science History Institute in the Old City section of Philadelphia (the area where you’ll find the Liberty Bell, the reproduction of Independence Hall and a couple blocks of genuine 18th century buildings). In the course of the evening, a representative of the Institute proudly announced that they had a significant amount of original manuscripts devoted to occult subjects in their sizeable collection. Indeed, their website states:

“Our Othmer Library has over 150,000 modern books and journals in 15 languages, including hard-to-find sources like dye sample books and technical reports. We also have one of the greatest collections of rare books on chemistry in the world, with more than 7,000 volumes from the 15th to 19th centuries. Our growing collection of alchemical manuscripts includes documents handwritten by Sir Isaac Newton.”

Regarding the background of this organization:

Founded in 1982, the Institute is dedicated to uncovering the hidden stories of the people responsible for significant scientific achievements and to illuminating the complex circumstances behind important moments of investigation and discovery. As the Science History Institute looks forward, our research, storytelling, public programming, and educational outreach will continue to reflect these diverse and compelling histories and to challenge perspectives by applying a critical lens to past theories and harmful practices.”

So next time yr in town realize that are other interesting places to visit besides the White Dog Cafe (occupying a building where Helena Blavatsky once resided), The Philadelphia Museum of Art (who’s founding collection includes Charles Leland’s records of studying folk magic in Italy), the onetime home of sex magick pioneers Ida Craddock (now in the middle of Philly’s Chinatown) and the Mutter Museum (well, that’s not occult stuff – just weird and macabre).


Frater Lux Ad Mundi

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