Dexter C. Grunow

The Astro-Philosophical Publications edition of Esoteric Lessons includes eight pages of descriptions of other titles from the same publisher. By far the most promotional attention is given to Belle M. Wagner’s novel Within the Temple of Isis. Among those who testify to its merits are “Zanoni.” As only the Wagners know who Zanoni is at this point (1900), his objectivity on Belle’s novel is open to question. Zanoni will be the topic of my presentation at the biennial convention of the Church of Light, starting with the 1842 novel of that name and tracing the pseudonym through 1900 and the second volume of The Light of Egypt. The most eminent and influential name among the promoters of Wagner’s novel was Thomas M. Johnson, about whom there will be more in future blog posts. Quite a few researchers seem to be discovering the great relevance of Johnson’s role in late 19th century occultism, simultaneously and in complementary ways. Minnie Higgins, whose role in The Light of Egypt was mentioned in a previous entry and has become more interesting with new evidence, gave a full page of glorious praise to Within the Temple of Isis. Her status as astrologer of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor in 1909, whose death led to Elbert Benjamine’s appointment as her successor, has insured her a footnote in history. But two other names in the promotional literature for Belle’s novel have never come to any author’s notice, as best I can tell at this point: D.C. Grunow and S.E. Morrison. Future posts will delve into each of them in more detail, but the only extensive reference to either is found in this 1913 article from the Battle Creek Idea in which Grunow, a meteorologist, is quoted on the virtues of a sanitarium. Born in New York of German immigrant parents, Grunow served in the army for two decades before joining the civilian Weather Service. In 1908 he was listed in the city directory of Baker City, Oregon, but had earlier served in Idaho, and retired to Valentine, Nebraska.