The Astrological Home Study Course of Ellen McCaffery:
a detailed comparison of the 1932 and 1952 editions
– 13 May 2012
Ellen McCaffery’s 1952 book “Graphic Astrology: the Ellen McCaffery Home Study Course” seems to have been a best-selling basic textbook of astrology in the United States during the 1950s and 1960s, as evidenced by the sheer proliferation of surviving copies. It is structured in 14 chapters called ‘lessons’ and runs to 300 pages excluding preliminaries and index.
Yet it came to my attention that an earlier version of her course, published in 1932, had 16 lessons. Furthermore, page scans provided by en eBay seller showed a different composition to some individual pages. Last year, I decided to investigate the differences by purchasing a copy of the 1932 edition, which unlike the 1952 edition, was not bound as a coherent book, but rather presented as sixteen separate stapled pamphlets. In the set I acquired, the covers are mostly partly disbound or missing, but the contents are complete.
The 1952 edition consists of the following lessons:
- One: Getting Aquainted with Astrology (23pp);
- Two: The Signs and their Symbols (43pp);
- Three: The Planets and their Symbols (26pp);
- Four: Why Time Is Important? (20pp);
- Five: The Kinds of Houses and Signs (25pp);
- Six: The Various Kinds of Time (9pp);
- Seven: How to Cast a Horoscope (24pp);
- Eight: Basic System of Reading a Horoscope (21pp);
- Nine: Signs and Planets Affecting the Twelve Houses (14pp);
- Ten: The Moon and Planets in the Signs (20pp);
- Eleven: The Planets in the Twelve Houses (16pp);
- Twelve: The Meaning and Value of Aspects (22pp);
- Thirteen: Health and Occupation (16pp);
- Fourteen: How to Erect an Accurate Horoscope (17pp).
Total text pages: 296.
(Followed by Notes: 4pp.)
The 1932 edition consists of:
- One: Getting Acquainted With Astrology: Astrology – History; The Signs and their Symbols; The Twelve Houses of the Horoscope (45pp);
- Two: The Symbols and Meanings of Planets; Complementary Signs (34pp);
- Three: The Quaternaries and Triplicities or the Fourfold and Threefold Divisions of a chart (18pp);
- Four: How to Cast a Horoscope (23pp);
- Five: The Horoscope in Detail: Getting Acquainted with Aspects; Charts of Ramsay Macdonald, Calvin Coolidge, and others (36pp);
- Six: Signs and Planets in the Twelve Houses (33pp);
- Seven: The Meaning and Value of Aspects; Effect of Planets on Health; Occupations of the Planets and Signs (33pp);
- Eight: Detailed Study of the Houses; Study of the Final Purpose of the Houses (53pp);
- Nine: Detailed Study of the Houses (contd.) (44pp);
- Ten: Detailed Study of the Houses (contd.) (23pp);
- Eleven: The Value of Knowing Physical Types; Physique and Temperament of the Signs from Aries to Virgo (54pp);
- Twelve: Physique and Temperament of the Signs from Libra to Pisces (51pp + index pages);
- Thirteen: Prophecy; the Radix System of Directions (53pp);
- Fourteen: Transits (48pp);
- Fifteen: Secondary Directions; the Diurnal Horoscope (30pp);
- Sixteen: Horoscopes of Presidents; Lunations; Eclipses; the World Horoscope; Saturn and Jupiter Conjunctions; the Cardinal Cross; Planetary Hours; Miscellaneous (56pp)
Total count of actual text pages: 634.
Thus it can be seen that the course was completely reworked between first and second editions, cut in more than half by length, and stripped of its predictive astrology content.
It should be clear from this analysis that if you want Ellen McCaffery’s astrological home study course in all its details as she originally conceived and presented it, there is no substitute for the sixteen-part edition of 1932, running to 634 actual text content pages, compared with 296 for the common fourteen-part edition of 1952.
As to the commercial reasons behind the radical culling of content and general reorganisation of the course, we can but speculate.