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"Occult and Esoteric Sciences" exhibition in Alexander Library, opens February 17

July 1, 2014
Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century

Image from 'The Astrologer of the Nineteenth Century,' 6th edition. London: William Charlton Wright, 1825. Courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries

The Rutgers University Libraries invite members of the Rutgers community and the general public to view “Unheard-of Curiosities”: An Exhibition of Rare Books on the Occult and Esoteric Sciences, the new exhibition in Alexander Library. The exhibition will showcase rare books from Special Collections and University Archives that illuminate the enduring popular interest in a diverse constellation of “occult” topics from the sixteenth century to the present day.

Many of the books in the exhibition were collected by the late Rutgers Professor of English, Clement W. Fairweather, Jr and predominantly focus on astrology and early astronomy from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries including works ranging from Arati Solensis Phaenomena et Prognostica (1569) to William Lilly’s Starry Messenger (1645) to the colorful Astrologer of the 19th Century and intriguing Raphael’s Witch!! Other titles featured explore topics such as prediction and prophecy, demons and the devil, witchcraft and magic, and the mysteries of ancient Egypt. The exhibition also highlights the exquisite illustrations of the tablet of Isis in the Mensa Isaica (1671), the whimsical The Magic Mirror of Nostradamus, and Book Four (1911), the work of the infamous Aleister Crowley.

Clement W. Fairweather, Jr. graduated from Rutgers College in 1935 and completed a doctorate in English literature at Princeton University in 1942. After service as a technician in the infantry during the Second World War (1942-1946) and surviving the Battle of the Bulge, Fairweather was appointed as assistant professor of English at University College, Rutgers, in 1947, ultimately reaching the rank of Professor in 1966. Unbeknownst to his Rutgers colleagues, he amassed a large collection of books focusing on the occult and esoteric sciences, the English poet, novelist, and short story writer Walter de la Mare, and other topics. After Fairweather’s death in 2000, the occult and de la Mare collections were acquired by his neighbors Marty Kelly and Bogie Boscha and donated to the Rutgers University Libraries in Mr. Fairweather's name.

"Unheard-of Curiosities" will be on display at the Special Collections and University Archives Gallery and Gallery ’50 at the Archibald S. Alexander Library from February 17 to August 1, 2014. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The exhibition is curated by Erika Gorder with the assistance of Meghan Rinn and Rebecca Feest. For more information on the exhibition please contact Fernanda Perrone, exhibitions coordinator, at 848-932-6154 or hperrone@rulmail.rutgers.edu.