Occasional publications are published on topics that highlight the Special Collections of Burke Library

To purchase books, contact Willa Jacob, 315-859-4705, wjacob@hamilton.edu.

Universal Magic in the Age of Enlightenment: Touzay Du Chenteau's Great Philosophic Chart and Its Context

by Joscelyn Godwin

194 Pages, Richard W. Couper Press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-937370-34-3 ($35)

This Chart, comprising four huge copperplates engraved in 1775 by Du Chenteau himself, is a monumental attempt to unite ceremonial magic, Kabbalah, alchemy, Hermetic philosophy, and the science of number. In memorable images, many borrowed from the Rosicrucian philosopher Robert Fludd, it depicts a cosmos emanating from the mind of God, structured by correspondences, and culminating in the human being (the Microcosm), whose body and soul reflect the Macrocosm. Du Chenteau, a practicing alchemist and member of esoteric Masonic orders, represents an “enlightenment” very different from the secular and materialistic trends of his time. His work is a visual encyclopedia, forming a bridge between the late Renaissance world view and the occult revival of the nineteenth century. This edition sets Du Chenteau’s Chart in its historical context, traces all its sources, translates its texts from the original French, and explains its arcane imagery. An Appendix by Antoine Faivre, Professor at the Sorbonne, tells of Du Chenteau’s life, his friends, and his bizarre spiritual practices.

Joscelyn Godwin is Emeritus Professor of Music, Colgate University. He has published two books on Robert Fludd and many other works on esoteric topics, including Harmonies of Heaven and Earth, The Theosophical Enlightenment, Music and the Occult, Upstate Cauldron, and, co-authored with Christian Goodwillie, Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York (Couper Press of Hamilton College and Upstate Institute of Colgate University, 2016).

My San Francisco

By Gordon Ball

40 Pages, Richard W. Couper Press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-937370-32-9 ($15) Gordon Ball first saw San Francisco as a small child, traveling there by train with his Ohio River Valley family to join his father in Japan after his narrow escape from Shanghai before Mao Zedong took it. In My San Francisco he recounts incidents and experiences from family furlough visits in the City of Hills every few years, followed by hitchhiking there in the war-torn 1960s and embarking on a six-month stay a few years later, the culmination of a cross-country journey with poet Allen Ginsberg—a stay marked by a failed love affair and the start of a lifelong friendship. My San Francisco, a large format chapbook with several photographs including two by the photographer author, is both a highly personal memoir of and tribute to the city, vitalized by imagistic gists and brief encounters melded with longer narratives; it is, as some readers have celebrated it, “honest,” “brave,” and “beautiful.”
Author Bio: Gordon Ball edited Allen Verbatim and two volumes of journals with Allen Ginsberg. He’s the author of three memoirs (’66 Frames, Dark Music, and East Hill Farm) and a volume of short stories, On Tokyo’s Edge. His films and photographs have been shown and acclaimed widely. He’s currently at work on a half-century of family history from the Ohio River through 1920s Shanghai to prison camp World War II. He teaches at Washington and Lee University and with his wife Kathleen lives outside Lexington, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley.

The President's Medium: John Conklin, Abraham Lincoln, and the Emancipation Proclamation

By John Benedict Buescher

278 Pages, Richard W. Couper Press, 2019 ISBN: 978-1-937370-26-8 ($25)

The President's Medium collects and carefully examines the available material on the colorful but nearly forgotten life of spiritualist medium John Benjamin Conklin and concludes that he most likely conducted private seances at the White House for a receptive Abraham Lincoln during the time the president was weighing the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. It also examines Conklin's association with communitarians and health reformers Thomas L. and Mary S. Gove Nichols, as well as his connections within the theatrical community of New York City during the 1850s.

Dr. John B. Buescher is the author of books and articles on the history of 19th-century American Spiritualism. He is a co-director of the International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals (IAPSOP).

Symbols in the Wilderness: Early Masonic Survivals in Upstate New York


181 pages, Upstate Institute and Richard W. Couper Press, 2016ISBN: 978-1-937370-21-3 ($35)

Freemasonry played a vital role in the social development of New York State. Its Lodges provided a trusted place for newcomers to meet and for friendships and business partnerships to develop, free from political, professional, and sectarian differences. During its explosive growth from 1790 to the end of the 1820s Masonic brethren produced iconic architecture, as well as extraordinary examples of folk art, expressed in large symbolic paintings (“tracing boards”), murals, textiles, and graphics. Most of these have remained entirely unknown outside the Upstate Lodges that, against all hazards, have preserved them. Their symbolism seems mysterious and confusing to outsiders, but once explained, it gives insight into a period and place unique in American history.

Joscelyn Godwin is professor of music at Colgate University. Christian Goodwillie is director and curator of Special Collections, Burke Library, Hamilton College. Marianita Peaslee is the digital imagery specialist, Burke Library, Hamilton College.

Iroquois-Language Manuscripts, ca. 1768-1803: The Samuel Kirkland Papers


358 pages, 2916. ISBN: 978-1-937370-20-6 ($50)

A comprehensive collection of more than thirty Iroquois language documents from the Samuel Kirkland Papers at Hamilton College. Dating from 1768-1803, these manuscripts have been transcribed, transliterated, and translated, many for the first time. The volume includes line-by-line photographic illustrations of each letter, along with the translator’s work. Each document is then given in full facsimile, and full translation. Introductory essays by the compilers examine Iroquois literacy and linguistics as illustrated by the documents.

Jazz Tales from Jazz Legends: Oral Histories from the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College


209 pages with 13 black and white illustrations, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-937370-17-6 ($20)

Distills an oral history project that began in 1995 under the auspices of the Fillius Jazz Archive at Hamilton College in Clinton N.Y. Excerpts drawn from 325 one-on-one sessions conducted for the Archive are organized into categories including first-hand accounts of life on the road, inspiration, race and jazz, improvisation, and work inside the studios. Interviewees quoted in the book include icons in jazz world such as Joe Williams, Dave and Iola Brubeck, Jon Hendricks, Steve Allen, and Marian McPartland. Stories from unsung sidemen offer a rare perspective on the life and times of jazz artists who balance the love of music with the sacrifice inherent in the jazz lifestyle. The author provides informative commentary with personal insights into the accomplishments and personalities of over one hundred jazz artists.

The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette: September 18, 1907 through March 30, 1908


193 pages with 32 black and white illustrations, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-9796448-1-8 ($25)

Chester Gillette was accused of the murder of Grace Brown in 1906. After a sensational trial, covered by newspapers across the country, Gillette was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. This case was the basis for Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel An American Tragedy, the 1951 Academy-award-winning movie A Place in the Sun, and a 2006 opera. Revealed here for the first time are Chester’s private thoughts in his final months as he recorded them in his diary from September 1907 through March 1908. The diary was believed lost for nearly a century and only came to light in 2007 when Marlynn McWade-Murray, the grandniece of Chester Gillette, donated it to Hamilton College. In addition to the diary, the publication contains twelve letters Chester wrote from prison: eleven to Bernice Ferrin, a friend of the family; and one to his sister Hazel, written the day before his execution.

A Selected Catalog of the Ezra Pound Collection at Hamilton College


299 pages with 123 illustrations (mostly color),  2005 ($10)

This lavishly illustrated catalog highlights the Hamilton College Library’s holdings of Ezra Pound material. Pound, a Hamilton alumnus (class of 1905), was one of the most important and influential poets of the twentieth century. The first third of the book focuses on materials unique to the Hamilton collection, while the rest of the book identifies works by and about Pound held by the Hamilton College library. This catalog reveals the importance of this collection for Pound scholars and places it among the best in the country.

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