This recent blog post by Marc Demarest showed the title page of a copy of Gilbert Vale’s 1869 Astronomy and Worship of the Ancients with an 1885 signature from Parker Pillsbury (1809-1898). This reminded me of having seen the same signature in an 1891 inscription of his memoir to a Boston publisher. The Occult Publishing Company advertised in 1887 in Thomas Johnson’s Platonist, featuring works by Franz Hartmann.
The abolitionist memoir Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles was published in 1883 just after its author found common cause with the Rochester lodge of the Theosophical Society, which later became a nucleus of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor. Pillsbury is the only member of the Rochester lodge with known links to Sarah Stanley Grimke, and is thus the subject of current research on the origins of the H.B. of L.. His lifelong advocacy of abolitionism and feminism makes him part of a group of Boston acquaintances of the Grimkes who shared these two causes. Next month I will post a detailed review of a scholarly biography of Pillsbury.
(this will appear in May–KPJ)