Full View

Title:Harry Price Library of Magical Literature
Description:The library of Harry Price (1881-1948), the publicist of psychical research. The material developed from a childhood collection of books on conjuring, into a collection unique in the United Kingdom of materials on the cultural history of attitudes to the occult. Although its holdings are strong from the early modern period onwards, they are also indispensable for the history of psychical research and spiritualism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1937 it contained 4,376 books, 5,343 pamphlets, 725 volumes of periodicals, with ephemera, press cuttings, manuscripts, photographs and slides. It has been enlarged to approximately 14,000 volumes from a modest endowment and many gifts. The Harry Price Library's holdings on psychical phenomena, psychical research, spiritualism and hypnotism include the first editions of all the occult works of Daniel Defoe (1660?-1731), "The mystery revealed…" (1762) by Oliver Goldsmith (1728?-1774), containing the first account of a seance, and a large number of scarce British and foreign 19th-century items. Works on witchcraft include several incunabula and the first edition (1584) and all later editions of "Discoverie of Witchcraft" by Reginald Scot (1538?-1599). Works by and about prophets and religious eccentrics are also well represented, with particular emphasis on Nostradamus (58 editions from 1533 onwards). The investigative activities of Harry Price and his associates are recorded in manuscripts, letters, clippings, photographs and films.
Physical Extent:c.13,000 items: books, pamphlets, periodicals, ephemera, press cuttings, manuscripts, photographs, slides, artefacts.
Catalogue Information:Printed books accessible via the Main Catalogue. The printed catalogue of 1929 and its 1935 supplement (see Note field below) are available from Special Collections staff. A collection-level description of the papers associated with the collection is available via AIM25. Detailed item cataloguing is expected to be complete by the end of 2004, and a handlist is available from Special Collections staff. Direct access to Senate House Library's electronic catalogue for archives and manuscripts will be available in 2005.
Accrual Status:By purchase from a small endowment and donation; open (active, regular).
Note:Harry Price Library of Magical Literature at Senate House Library. See also: Trevor H. Hall, "Search for Harry Price" (London: Duckworth, 1978) pp.109-35, 212-28. Graf C. von Klinckowstrom, 'Die altesten Ausgaben der Propheties des Nostradamus: ein Beitrag zur Nostradamus-Bibliographie', "Zeitschrift fur Bucherfreunde Neue Folge", 4(2), (1913) pp. 361-72. National Library of Psychical Research, "Short-title catalogue of works on psychical research, spiritualism, magic, psychology, legerdemain, and other methods of deception…" compiled by Harry Price.. issued as "Proceedings of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research", 1(2) (1929) pp. 67-422; supplement published as "Short-title catalogue of the Research Library… Supplement", compiled by Harry Price ( London: 1935) ((University of London Council for Psychical Investigation, Bull.1). Harry Price, 'My Library, "Magic Wand", 12, (1923), pp.133-8. Harry Price, 'The National Laboratory Library', "British Journal of Psychical Research", 1(10) (Nov/Dec 1927) pp. 307-16. A. Wesencraft, 'The Harry Price Library', "Libraries Bulletin" (University of London Library Resources Co-ordinating Committee) no. 12 (Jan-Mar 1978) pp.10-13; no. 13 (Apr-June 1978) pp. 5-9, 15. "Journal of the Society for Psychical Research", 20 (1922) pp. 270-271; (1923) pp. 33-34.
Strength:Of international significance.
Start Date:1533
End Date:present
Holding Institution:Senate House Library, University of London
Access Information:Senate House Library opening hours; Special Collections opening hours. Library contact details. Library membership information.
Postal Address:Senate House Library, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London
Postcode:WC1E 7HU
Related Links:Senate House Library Special Collections homepage. University of London Research Library Services homepage.
Subject heading(s)