L. W. de Laurence
1868 – 1936
Who was L. W. de Laurence?
L. W. de Laurence was an American author and publisher on occult and spiritual topics. He was born on 20 March 1868 at Ravenna, Ohio, the eldest child of William and Mary Lawrence and died on 11 September 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, USA at the age of 68. He was married twice: the first time was in 1897 to Orrie Eckert in Ohio and the second time in about 1905 to Pauline McAdoo in Illinois. His publishing company and spiritual supply mail order house was located in Chicago, Illinois.
Although he is mocked and reviled among modern occultists for his plagiarism of the Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite, he also wrote his own works, including The Master Key. In addition, he is believed to have co-written some books with his fellow Chicago resident, the prolific New Thought and yoga author William Walker Atkinson.
De Laurence was a pioneer in the business of supplying magical and occult goods by mail order, and his distribution of public domain books, such as Secrets of the Psalms by Godfrey Selig and Pow Wows or the Long-Lost Friend by John George Hohman had a great and lasting effect on the African American urban hoodoo community in the southern United States as well as on the development of Obeah in Jamaica.
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