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Dates for the De Laurence Variants

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Bansuri93  Bansuri93 is offline
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Smile Dates for the De Laurence Variants


I have recently acquired a copy of the yellow (rounded corner/printed back) De Laurence deck. I have been trying in vain to put a date to this deck. The font style and deterioration of the box would certainly favor the 1920s, but the information I have found on-line is very confusing.

Almost all of the dates listed on-line for the four versions of the De Laurence decks seem to be taken from Holly Voley's Rider-Waite Site (http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/). Holly lists them as 1916-1918 for the yellow (square corner/plain back), 1960 for the orange, and 1980 for the red/blue. While Holly's site is very informative, she does not cite her source for these dates.

After some research, I believe that these dates are incorrect, and I would like to know what you think.

The decks were produced by the De Laurence Co. (or De Laurence, Scott & Co.) of Chicago. The company was a publishing house and mail-order supplier operated by the mustachioed book pirate, Lauron William de Laurence. LW de Laurance died in 1936, and the production of new books seems to have dropped sharply after that time. Holly has helpfully provided us with a scan of a c1938 de Laurence catalog, which shows that the company was going strong after his death. However, I am skeptical that the company persisted much past 1950.

Looking at WorldCat, I found 115 books in library holdings published by the De Laurence Co. The most recent bore the dates 1950 and 1948: late printings of the Goetia, of Abramelin, and several catalogs.

The idea that there was still a de Laurence Co. producing a tarot deck in Chicago in 1980, a decade after US Games began claiming their 'copyright' and 30 years after the last instance of a De Laurence book, seems very far-fetched to me. Even 1960 seems a stretch--among other things, that would mean that this company had been printing decks for more than forty years with the same "No. 20 D" catalog number.

I think that Holly discovered the answer on her own when looking at the c1938 advertisement. The advert states that the cards are "Double-Headed" and "printed in Five Oriental Colors." I do not think that this advert referred to the decks that we now know of as De Laurence decks (conjecture). I am of the opinion that all four variants were produced between 1916 and c1938-1940. The latest I can imagine one of these decks being produced is 1950.

If anyone has copies of the boxes that the orange and red/blue editions came in, I would love to see pictures of them. Also, if anyone has copies of books with the de Laurence, Chicago imprint that are published after 1950, I'd love to know about it. Thanks!

NOTE: There are several modern reprints of the books that De Laurence claimed authorship of that still bear his name, but these are not the same as books published by the De Laurence Co. of Chicago.

NOTE 2: The Encyclopedia of Tarot lists the deck in vol. 1, page 99, but does not provide a date.
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Welcome to Aeclectic Bansuri93!

Unfortunately I don't have any answers for you about the dates for the De Laurence. I have an incomplete box (it's missing at least the top if not also the bottom) that my orange came in. I probably won't get a chance to scan it until this weekend though.

Rodney
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I also have one of those falling-apart orange deck boxes. I'll post a picture a bit later tonight.
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There are two original hardbacks, one 1918, one 1913


http://www.scribd.com/doc/27815970/D...-1918-Complete

Scroll to page 5 and you will see the listing of the company then was "de Laurence & Scott " that far back.

My browser keeps timing out, will post the 1913 title page later.

Cerulean
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The remains of the box for the Orange deck.

Here's Holly Voley's info--see first paragraph here:
http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/index.html

And three pages about the de Laurence decks:
http://home.comcast.net/~vilex/Adverts.html
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1913 title on Crystal Gazing


Anyway, starting from the 1913-15 timeframe, the research might be under the publishing house name de Laurence or de Laurence Scott & Co. I don't know when his publishing house also started selling occult supplies, or what remaining tarot stock was resold years and years later after Laurence's death in the late 1930's.

Here's the wikipedia note:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._W._de_Laurence

One thing odd about tarot decks--such as the Etteilla pattern--is warehoused stock does get resold and sometimes redistributed for sale. Grimaud bought decks that might have been made in the 1850's but they were date stamped for taxing purposes to be 1890. It may be stock was distributed much later after all the turnovers of assets--it will be interesting to see what the deck boxes may yield, given that de Laurence's book "Illustrated Key" (as opposed to Waite's Pictorial Key) was as early as 1918.

If you can get a listing of the de Laurence & Scott reprinting of their own version of the tarot books such as "The Illustrated Key" then perhaps that would help with dating?


Regards

Cerulean
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No date on my box. The top and bottom are missing but I doubt they were stamped, as the back and sides are blank.
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Here is a gentleman who remembers Fate Magazine and ads from De Laurence in 1960's


Quote:
The decks were produced by the De Laurence Co. (or De Laurence, Scott & Co.) of Chicago. The company was a publishing house and mail-order supplier operated by the mustachioed book pirate, Lauron William de Laurence. LW de Laurance died in 1936, and the production of new books seems to have dropped sharply after that time.

However, I am skeptical that the company persisted much past 1950.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hope this helps:
1.Here is a gentleman who relates his childhood/teenage experience looking at the De Laurence catalog in the 1960's:

http://www.rosicrucians.org/salon/de...eLaurence.html

Since his recollection is of seeing the true de Laurence company as a small storage room with glimpses of warehouse shelving--and also, if you look through the advertised samples posted, some the products from the 'mystic' catalog remind me of very inexpensive and repackaged or re-titled imports. It might be of use to send the gentleman e-mail of what he recalls of their products and if he recalls tarot cards in advertisements.

2. Here's another copy of the majors of the De Laurence tarot with the same code 20 D but different coloring - the Society of Inner Light has an e-mail address link if you wanted to email them for dating your deck purposes:

http://www.innerlightsociety.org/DeLaurence-tarot.html

3. And if you have the yellow/blue edition, here is the box and cards listed on Amazon.com with the note "1940" would be approximate:

http://www.amazon.com/Laurences-Taro.../dp/B001LGALE2

I'm certain we'll uncover better data soon, but right now, hope these leads help you and others.

Best wishes,

Cerulean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerulean
1.Here is a gentleman who relates his childhood/teenage experience looking at the De Laurence catalog in the 1960's:

http://www.rosicrucians.org/salon/de...eLaurence.html
Thanks for this link, Cerulean.

I love the Spirit Trumpet!
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Bansuri93  Bansuri93 is offline
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Making Progress...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerulean
Quote:
1.Here is a gentleman who relates his childhood/teenage experience looking at the De Laurence catalog in the 1960's:

http://www.rosicrucians.org/salon/de...eLaurence.html

Since his recollection is of seeing the true de Laurence company as a small storage room with glimpses of warehouse shelving--and also, if you look through the advertised samples posted, some the products from the 'mystic' catalog remind me of very inexpensive and repackaged or re-titled imports.
This is interesting. It's a shame the catalog isn't dated, but I do know that it has a different address than the box for the orange variant that Debra shared. The Wabash Ave. address housed the company from at least 1958, as can be seen from this letter. The address for the older De Laurence Co. is:

179 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago 1, Illinois, U.S.A.

The address (a couple blocks away) for the more recent De Laurence Co. is:

180 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago 1, Illinois, U. S. A.

So now we know at least a little more:

1 - The De Laurence Co. did exist after 1950 but appears to have sold backdated stock and imported knick-knacks primarily. (Cerulean, you are certainly right that there are two dates in play: a printing date and a sale date that may have been years--even decades--later.)

2 - The box for the yellow variant is identical to the box for the orange variant.

3 - The orange and yellow variants had to be printed before the De Laurence company changed location sometime prior to 1958.

Here's some further guesswork: Sometime around 1948, the De Laurence Co. ceased its publishing business and changed location to a smaller space on Wabash Ave. where it became solely a mail-order catalog company. All three rounded corner / printed back variants of the De Laurence Tarot came in the same box with the No. 20 D catalog code on it and probably were printed prior to the company's move around 1948.

Curiously, the letter mentioned above that is dated 1958 is signed De Laurence. I am assuming that the company took on the persona of the dead mystic as a marketing tactic.

Thank you all for your warm welcome and for help figuring this out.

Anyone have a box for the red variant?
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