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Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts, 1500-1825

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Hall (Manly Palmer) Collection of alchemical manuscripts

Biographical/Historical Note

Manley Hall was born in 1901,in Peterborough, Canada, to William S. and Louise Palmer Hall. The Hall family moved to the United States in 1904 and lived for a time in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Manly Hall settled in Los Angeles in 1919.

As a young man he became interested in occult matters. He subsequently joined a number of societies, among them the Theosophical Society, the Freemasons, the Societas Rosecruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, and the American Federation of Astrologers.

In 1922 Manly Hall wrote his first book on philosophy/religion, Initiates of the Flame. According to Hall, he began collecting works on mysticism and the esoteric sciences: "late in the fall of 1922, the plan for a comprehensive work on the symbolism of western mystical societies began to take shape in my mind. It soon became apparent that research facilities for such a project were not available in Southern California... The only answer was to contact antiquarian book dealers and elict their cooperation in the search for the items desired." The collection of books and manuscripts which Hall purchased, primarily in the 1920s and 1930s, became the basis for his own research and the cornerstone of the Philosophical Research Society's holdings.

Ordained to the ministry in 1923, Hall became minister to an occult/metaphysical congregation. As the leader of the Church of the People, Hall started a magazine titled the All Seeing Eye. In 1928 Hall published his extensive work An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic, and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy.

In 1934 Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society, a research institute modeled on the ancient school of Phythagoras. 1935 marked the ground breaking for the first building of the complex. Major additions to the Philosophical Research Society came in 1950 and 1959. Hall delivered weekly lectures and continued writing on mystical topics. By 1940, Hall is said to have delivered over 7,000 lectures.

1944 was the year of the first printing of Hall's book, Secret Destiny of America, apparently an expansion of a lecture he gave in 1942. The Philosophical Library edition of Secret Destiny of America was published in 1958. And in 1986 Hall completed his book the Rosicrucians and Magister Christoph Schlegel: Hermetic Roots of America.

Manly Hall died in California. During his life he wrote over 50 books and hundreds of shorter works.

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