Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts
Date (inclusive): 1500-1825
Collection number: 950053
Hall, Manly Palmer, 1901-
7.5 linear ft.
Getty Research Institute
Special Collections and Visual Resources
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
Abstract: A collection of 243 manuscripts detailing the arts of Alchemy, Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, and Masonry, gathered by Manly
Palmer Hall, author and researcher in the realms of mysticism and the occult.
Language: Collection material in Latin
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts, 1500-1825, Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no.
Acquired in 1995.
Trevor Bond processed the collection January 1998 and wrote the finding aid March 1998
224 printed books were transferred to the library on June 6, 1995.
Manley Hall was born in 1901,in Peterborough, Canada, to William S. and Louise Palmer Hall. The Hall family moved to the United
States in 1904 and lived for a time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Manly Hall settled in Los Angeles in 1919.
As a young man he became interested in occult matters. He subsequently joined a number of societies, among them the Theosophical
Society, the Freemasons, the Societas Rosecruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, and the American Federation of Astrologers.
In 1922 Manly Hall wrote his first book on philosophy/religion,
Initiates of the Flame. According to Hall, he began collecting works on mysticism and the esoteric sciences: "late in the fall of 1922, the plan
for a comprehensive work on the symbolism of western mystical societies began to take shape in my mind. It soon became apparent
that research facilities for such a project were not available in Southern California... The only answer was to contact antiquarian
book dealers and elict their cooperation in the search for the items desired." The collection of books and manuscripts which
Hall purchased, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s, became the basis for his own research and the cornerstone of the Philosophical
Research Society's holdings.
Ordained to the ministry in 1923, Hall became minister to an occult/metaphysical congregation. As the leader of the Church
of the People, Hall started a magazine titled the
All Seeing Eye. In 1928 Hall published his extensive work
An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy.
In 1934 Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society, a research institute modeled on the ancient school of Phythagoras.
1935 marked the ground breaking for the first building of the complex. Major additions to the Philosophical Research Society
came in 1950 and 1959. Hall delivered weekly lectures and continued writing on mystical topics. By 1940, Hall is said to have
delivered over 7,000 lectures.
1944 was the year of the first printing of Hall's book,
Secret Destiny of America, apparently an expansion of a lecture he gave in 1942. The Philosophical Library edition of
Secret Destiny of America was published in 1958. And in 1986 Hall completed his book the
Rosicrucians and Magister Christoph Schlegel: Hermetic Roots of America.
Manly Hall died in California. During his life he wrote over 50 books and hundreds of shorter works.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection contains 243 manuscripts, some only a few pages, bound in 68 volumes which detail the arts of Alchemy, Hermeticism,
Rosicrucianism, and Masonry. Highlights of this collection include: a twenty-one foot long Ripley Scroll, a heavily illustrated
manuscript that records an alchemical poem by Ripley (George Ripley d. 1490); a 17th-century French manuscript copy of Michael
Maier's "Atalanta Fugiens" with emblematic and mystical drawings and illuminations after Jacob Böhme; an 18th-century Pennsylvania
Dutch manuscript of Rosicrucian cosmological charts and symbolic images; two triangular masonic manuscripts; two independent
collections, the first named for Dr. Sigismund Bacstrom, who gathered together an assortment of manuscripts from the 16th
to the early 19th century, many of which he translated into English, the second collection, attributed to Count Cagliostro,
contains thirty manuscripts bound in one volume.
Arranged in one series according to Hall's inventory list and using the manuscript numbering from Hogart's bibliography of
the Manly P. Hall collection of books and mauscripts.
Numbers in brackets following item descriptions refer to the numbering in Hogart's bibliography of the Manly P. Hall collection
of books and mauscripts
Genres and Forms of Material
Scroll (information artifact)
Böhme, Jakob, 1575-1624
Cagliostro, Alessandro, conte di, 1743-1795
Maier, Michael, 1568?-1622
Ripley, George, d. 1490?
Publications consulted by the cataloger.
Hogart, Ron Charles, 1958-
Alchemy, a comprehensive bibliography of the Manly P. Hall Collection of books and mauscripts: including related material
on Rosicrucianism and the writings of Jacob Böhme; introduction by Manly P. Hall
. Los Angeles, Calif.: Philosophical Research Society, 1986.
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Alchemy and the occult: a catalogue of books and manuscripts from the collection of Paul and Mary Mellon given to Yale University
New Haven, Yale University Library, 1968-77.