Who exactly was R. Hollingsworth,
Frederick White’s friend?
– August 25th – September 1st, 2007

Does anyone happen to know anything about the editor of an American astrological journal that was running from May-November 1899, and presumably for a long time afterwards if not before, called the ‘Prophetic Messenger’? His name was R. Hollingsworth, and address given as ‘417 5th St., S., Minneapolis, Minn.’, but I can find no information about him on the Internet.

Nor can I find any other information about the history of this particular journal. It clearly has absolutely nothing to do with the British publication ‘Raphael’s Prophetic Messenger’, yet I can find no trace of any mention of Hollingsworth’s journal also called ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ in F. Leigh Gardner’s ‘Bibliotheca Astrologica’.

Hollingsworth appears to have been a close associate of legendary astrologer beloved of Gann list devotees Frederick White. White ran a column in ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ with predictions on weather, business, speculative markets, sugar and war. Also, Hollingsworth contributed articles to White’s publication ‘The Adept’ in the same year (1899). And most tellingly of all, the two publications in that year are presented in exactly the same typeface and size format; and in the bound volume of The Adept spanning December 1898 to December 1899, ie 13 successive months, that I recently bought at considerable expense (because it’s a very rare journal), ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ from May 1899 to November 1899 has been contemporaneously bound in.

I don’t suppose anyone reading this has any other issues of either ‘The Adept’ or ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ in his or her possession, but if so, I’d be glad to hear about their contents. Would be glad to share further details of the contents of the issues I have acquired likewise if anyone wants to know more.


– (In response to Kim Farnell’s suggestion of a possible link to Thomas Hague’s ‘Horoscope and Scientific Prophetic Messenger’:)

I’m not sure, though it might have influenced the title, since Gardner states that Hague’s magazine terminated in May 1848, over half a century before Hollingsworth’s is found from the only evidence I have to hand to have been in full swing. It sems very possible to me that Hollingsworth’s magazine was a very short-lived one that may have run only from May 1899 onwards for a year or two, or three or four at most, as most of these journals did in those days.

It also strikes me that there have been many titles for astrological periodicals closely influenced by others, with Hague following at least two earlier examples set by the first Raphael and Simmonite, respectively:

Raphael’s ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ from 1827 onwards;
Simmonite’s ‘The Scientific and Literary Messenger’ in 1842;

Hague’s ‘Horoscope and Scientific and Literary Messenger’ in 1844;
Hague’s ‘Horoscope and Scientific and Prophetic Messenger’ from 1845 to 1848 inclusive.

Then we have simply ‘The Prophetic Messenger’ from May 1899 edited by Hollingsworth – perhaps influenced in its title by Hague’s last magazine if some copies were known to the editor, or perhaps by Raphael’s ongoing journal. It’s always a bit of a surprise to turn up one that Gardner did not catch within the time-frame of his survey, which seems to have taken him to many a library across Europe (though I don’t know the full story!), but it would seem most likely that he missed a few US publications that had not been exported to any UK library he visited, although he caught most of them, including ‘The Adept’.

I was amazed, incidentally, by the scarcity of ‘The Adept’ in library holdings listed on COPAC (www.copac.ac.uk) and OCLC (www.worldcatlibraries.org). There seem to have survived only a very few volumes and scattered issues in institutions, with at most about one volume in any one place, the British Library included. This is a much worse state of affairs than with ‘Modern Astrology’ or almost any other classic astrological periodical. But I suspect that there must be quite a lot in private hands, only a very small quantity of which ever comes to be advertised on the usual internet channels for sale, if indeed it is sold at all.

It’s easy to forget in the Internet age that a lot of people probably still take old magazines to car-boot sales, local auction rooms and the like, or to local booksellers who do not list their stock on Abebooks, and that some still get thrown out as worthless old clutter. I suspect equally that a great many private astrological collections end up being donated to local libraries and astrological organisations, all of which activity serves to deplete the stocks of saleable copies of these materials increasingly with every passing generation.

I’d still like to see as many as possible of the dedicated astrological libraries in the world compile and publish their own complete holdings lists so we can get a better picture of how much has accessibly survived and where!


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