Johnno

Monday, January 17, 2005

Secret Teachings Of All Ages- Manly Palmer Hall

I've collected some information about this book over time. In particular the first five printings in 1928.

There were five printings in 1928 of this Manly Hall Palmers Secret Teachings of all Ages (also known as: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosiccucian Symbolical Philosophy) .

The book is HUGE (about 12.5" x 19") with 49 full colour plates, hand painted (blue) roman page numbers and orange rubrics (large initial leters), watermarked paper that reads "Alexandra Japan Made in U.S.A." and a lovely elephant hide like paper cover and slipcase. Some were signed by Manly Palmer Hall.

I recall reading that the initial editions cost around $100.... to put this in perspective a base model Model T Ford in 1927 cost $360!

Here's a snippet from the introduction written by Hall.

The pre-publication sale of this book has been without known precedent in book history. The subscription list for the first edition of 550 copies was entirely closed a year before the manuscript was placed in the printer's hands. The second, or King Solomon, edition, consisting of 550 copies, and the third, or Theosophical, edition, consisting of 200 copies, were sold before the finished volume was received from the printer. For so ambitious a production, this constitutes a unique achievement. The credit for this extraordinary sales program belongs to Mrs. Maud F. Galigher, who had as her ideal not to sell the book in the commercial sense of the word but to place it in the hands of those particularly interested in the subject matter it contains. Valuable assistance in this respect was also rendered by numerous friends who had attended my lectures and who without compensation undertook and successfully accomplished the distribution of the book.
Two later editions "The Rosicrucian Edition" (100 copies) and the " Fifth Edition" (800 copies) were published in 1928.

This gives us a total of

First (Subscriber's) Edition 550
King Solomon Edition 550
Theosophical Rdition 200
Rosicrucian Edition 100
Fifth Edition 800
Total 2200 Copies

The next printing (Sixth edition) was in 1936 with black and white plates instead of the marvellous coloured illustrations by J. Augustus Knapp. Nevertheless it was still an impressive volume.

An on-line version of this book is available here

5 Comments:

  • I have the golden annivesary edition printed in 1978
    I don't know how many were printed

    By Blogger Beyonder, at 4:01 am  

  • I have my Grandfather's copy of the Fifth Edition. It's numbered 438 out of 800 published. Inside I found a small card issued to Grandpa on April 21, 1936 at the Grand Convention Order of High Priesthood State of California. The card identifies Grandpa as a High Priest. I've asked other Mason's about the book, but have only been told take good care of it. It still resides in it's original wooden box. I love the wonderful color plates and hope to have time to read it in depth during my retirement.

    By Anonymous susan, at 1:33 am  

  • Over 10 years ago I purchased a Golden Anniversary Edition of this work from the Philosophical Research Society for $175 for my father. I'm shocked by what these are selling for now!
    I however, have in my possession a photo copy of a King Solomon Edition from 1928 which had to be reduced to 11" by 17"paper (sadly this meant that all illustrations are b&w). It is Complete with the subscribers list and the original owners name printed with the edition number. Obviously to anyone that has seen let alone read this work, this book is not for everyone. However, for those that it is be advised that the real meat of this work is not necessarily in the text. One need only read the chapter titles to get the hint offered here.

    By Blogger Darklight, at 5:24 am  

  • In December 2011, I bought a copy of the Theosophical Edition (number 148 of 200), which is signed by Manly P. Hall, but there is no list of subscribers. It has a separate Dedication page, dedicating the edition to "Our Brother, H. P. V.", a reference to Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and some comments about theosophy. I am not sure what motivated Mr. Hall to dedicate editions to Theosophy and Rosicrucianism; I've never seen him explain that anywhere, and would be interested to know if anyone has this information (please contact me at larsone@starpower.net). It is interesting to know that both the Subscribers Edition and the King Solomon Edition listed the subscribers. The Rosicrucian Edition of 100 copies is obviously the rarest. I also earlier in 2011bought a copy of the Fifth Edition, which numbered but is not signed by Manly P. Hall. Both copies have their original wooden slipcase boxes. I think I am unusually fortunate to have acquired both of these copies, rare as they are.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:48 am  

  • Manly P. Hall's mother was a member of the Rosecrusian Society. That is the link. ;-)

    By Blogger Snoozin, at 7:43 am  

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