Some early astrological journals
– 25 October 2008
– updated in red, January 7th 2016
This note was first posted to Facebook. I have updated a few paragraphs to reflect realisations and acquisitions since then. It is otherwise unchanged.
The production and sale of journals (or periodicals, as sometimes known), as distinct from almanacs, dedicated to astrology was a relatively recent development in the history of western astrology as far as I’m aware, arguably beginning in English-speaking countries around 1791 with the publication of ‘The Conjuror’s Magazine’, a significant portion of which was devoted to astrology despite the title; this significant portion had become the majority by its third year, resulting in its renaming as ‘The Astrologer’s Magazine and Philosophical Miscellany’ (from 1793).
So far, my late 18th, 19th and very early 20th century (I am adopting December 1906 as an arbitrary cut-off point – otherwise from 1907 Old Moore’s Monthly Messenger and its successors cut in, and the list becomes too forward-reaching for these purposes) collection consists of (in summary):
The Astrologer’s Magazine and Philosophical Miscellany (ed. Lemoine), 1793-4 – first bound volume only, lacking one leaf (title continued in individual issues for a few years afterwards but these are extremely rare);
The Straggling Astrologer, 1824 (as rebound under the title ‘The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century Sixth Edition’)
The Spirit of Partridge, c. 1824-1825 (should be on its way soon… despite the title, this was not a work by Partridge, who had died over a century before, or an astrological text-book, but rather an astrological journal named in Partridge’s honour, and featuring some extracts from one of his best-known works)
The Horoscope (edited by Zadkiel) 1834 (ran for 19 weeks)
The Horoscope (also edited by Zadkiel) 1841 (ran for five months only)
The Astrologer’s Magazine and Philosophical Miscellany (ed. E. Vaughan Williams), c. 1870 – this appears to be a bound compilation issued around 1870, denuded of original issue numbers etc., of highlights from an extremely rare periodical edited by this gent. over several years previously; its name was clearly borrowed from the Lemoine journal of the 1790s but it is completely different in contents
Broughton’s Monthly Planet Reader and Astrological Journal 1860-9 (publication was not continuous throughout these years)
Urania (edited by Alfred Pearce) 1880 (ran for nine months)
The Astrologer (edited by Powley) 1887-90: Three Volumes
The Astrologer’s Magazine (ed. Leo and Lacey) 1890-5, complete
The Future (ed. Pearce) 1892-3 (= Vol. 1 only, of 3 issued). UPDATE: complete set now owned
Modern Astrology 1895- (ran far beyond the cut-off point of Dec. 1906 I am using here; I have bound volumes of all issues that far at least)
Planets and People (ed. Ormsby) 1896; 1897, bound volumes for both these years, complete (later and earlier years are extremely rare)
Star Lore and Future Events (ed. Pearce) 1897-1903 (bound volume of all issued, but lacking original individual issue covers)
The 20th Century Astrologer (ed. Astor) – so far I just have six consecutive issues around 1898-9; it started in 1897 but I don’t know how long it ran for. (Gardner gets his facts wrong about this journal, claiming it began in 1879 when in fact it was 1897; he also claims it was still in production at the time of his writing the entry for this journal in his ‘Bibliotheca Astrologica’, which claim I have found to be false on closer inspection of contemporary journals; I believe it ran only until about the summer of 1899; I should note here that OCLC records holdings only at New York, and then only four of the first ten issues, all published between Aug 1897 and June 1898; COPAC records no copies at all in UK libraries).
The Sphinx (ed. Thompson), circa 1900 (sorry but everything’s in boxes still) – so far I just have two non-consecutive monthly issues. Gardner says it was very short-running – six to twelve months at most I guess?
The Adept (ed. White), c. 1899-1900 (I have a bound volume of about 12 months’ worth around that time, but it was not the first, and this is a very rare journal that ran right up until the early 1920s)
The Occult and Biological Journal (Butler), c. 1901-3? (two-year, complete run) The Horoscope (ed. Ralph Shirley, aka Rollo Ireton), 1903 (I have Vol. 1 only, of 2 published – second was 1904)
Hazelrigg’s Astrological Herald c. 1902-3? (complete bound volume)
Anubis / Out of the Silence 1902-3 (complete run of the first; first seven issues of the second, bound together in a single volume, though actually mine is falling apart and needs to be rebound)
Destiny (ed. E. H. Bailey), 1904-5 (complete run as bound volume – not a long-running journal)
La Science Astrale (ed. F. Charles Barlet) 1904-6, complete three-year run
This leaves plenty still to collect. Journals edited by Simmonite and Hague from the mid-19th century are conspicuous by their total absence from my holdings, and journals edited by Sepharial from the end of the century likewise; I don’t expect to fill these gaps quickly because they are all so rare and might never make it in some cases. Similarly, it will be extremely difficult to collect the two missing volumes of Pearce’s ‘The Future’, and only a bolt-from-the-blue stroke of luck would allow anyone to build a substantial collection (ie more than an isolated year and a few isolated later issues) of Fred White’s ‘The Adept’, which is extremely sparse in the tiny number of the world’s libraries that have any issues at all. UPDATE: See note above regarding “The Future”. Further, a bound volume of Simmonite’s “Scientific and Literary Messenger” has since been acquired.