np: nd. A small archive, incluing typescripts, relating to the occultists Jacob Bonggren and Laura McCormick.
Jacob (or Jakob) Bonggren was a Swedish-American poet, Theosophist and occultist, who moved from Sweden to the Chicago area in 1882. In the Chicago area he became an editor for Svenska Amerikanaren and an editor of the Occult Digest. Bonggren, though largely forgotten today, seems to have been an important nexus in the early 20th century occult scene in America. He was one of the 4 original founders of the Chicago Theosophical Society, along with William and Mira Phelan of the Occult and Mystical Order of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Atlantis, Luxor and Elephanta. [see Andrick p. 74]. He was also an associate of Alice A. Bailey, who mentions him in chapter 5 of her unfinished biography, suggesting a break with Theosophy; " I was warned by Dr. Jacob Bonggren that the classes were under attack. He was an old pupil of H.P.B. and his writings are to be found in the earlier magazines and I am very proud that he stood behind me in those earlier days.”
Most of his work was published in periodicals in both English and Swedish, including Lucifer and the Occult Digest, and has not been collected. A work on occult chromotherapy was published in Spanish in Barcelona in 1936 and was reprinted several times in Spanish, but we are aware of no English appearance of the work, though we believe this archive may include Bonggren’s original English language typescript of that work (see below).
The archive also includes material relating to Laura McCormick, a student of Bonggren, seems to have been connected to C. F. Russell's The Choronzon Club (a piece of stationary for the club bearing her printed address and name is included).
A tantalizing nexus for research on the early 20th century occult underground in America.
The archive is divided
A. Some of the Occult Writings of Laura McCormick and Dr. Jacob Bonggren. [Bound collection of typescripts].
4to, 169 leaves, largely printed on rectos only, a mix of typescripts, carbon copies, and mimeographed material, with additions in ink throughout, in ink and colored pencil. Clipbound in a Cameo Cover brand folder, with typewritten title label to front panel. It is unclear when the material was assembled - handwritten dates range from 1928-1938.
The texts appear to be a mix of quotes from other sources and original material. Other topics beside chromotherapy include Alchemy, Rosicrucianiam, Buddhism, auras, color theory, tarot, yoga, etc. Some of the works are attributed to fraternal initials - F E , H T , et al, which we’ve been unable to trace.
About 64 pages of the binder are devoted to mimeographed works on color theory and Chromotherapy, dated in holograph 1937, which likely are related to Bonggren’s Spanish language work on chromotherapy, and may constitute the only surviving example of the original English text.
One page of diagrams refers to the "Brotherhood of the Holy Home," a group which we can find no record of. One page, entitled "Orders of Devas," is attributed to "K. H. to A.O. Hume," the A. O. Hume certainly the Theosophist Allan Octavian Hume, the K.H. the Mahatma Koot Humi. A page entitled "The Master Key of Numbers" bears the note "Instructions from F E " and appears to be a passage from "Man. Fragments of a Forgotten History" which was written under pseudonym by Mohini Chatterji and Laura C. Holloway.
A 2 pp. text is entitled “instructions from Gurudeva” (perhaps Gurudeva Sivaya Subramuniyaswami?) which warns of hypocricy within the Theosophical Society, and is signed “High noon 22 Oct. ’29 (Sunshining).
Intriguingly, two pages are devoted to a typescript of Aleister Crowley's Liber Al Vel Legis, or the Book of the Law - here with the early title of "Liber L Vel Legis,” suggesting it was retyped from an early copy in circulation in Chiago. There are some minor textual differences.
B. Mounted Photographic Portrait of Jacob Bonggren with Brief Note in His Hand.
np: nd. 3 7/8 x 6" silver gelatin print, mounted on a thin sheet of woven paper tipped onto into a textured card folder with tissue guard. Signed in pencil on mount at lower right hand margin of print, but the signature is not legible to our eye - but is not Bonggren's signature, perhaps by the photographer? With a small sheet of yellow paper with 8 lines of text in Bonggren's distinctive hand, discovered laid in under the print, which reads
"Going over again the cooperation of the seven principles. It was not marred in full on all hands; Kenneth Mackenzie had no answer to it."
Given the context, the Kenneth Mackenzie of the note seems very likely to be the linguist and orientalist Kenneth Robert Henderson Mackenzie (1833-1886).
C. Black folder of Photographs & Printed Materials.
Includes two photographs of Madame Blavatsky, a 4 3/4 x 6 3/8” gelatin print, and a 3 13/16” x 6” print on matte paper string mounted into a folding card mount, a printed portrait of Countess Wachtmeister (10 1/8 x 6 3/4”, and 18 photographic prints of paintings of Morya and other ascended masters, one of which is hand tinted, and several of which are mounted on card stock or in folders, of varying sizes, and a marriage announcement for Mr. William Nelson Forbis and Irene Adair. Item #29486