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Gertrude Moakley


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Gertrude Moakley


Gertrude Moakley passed away ten years ago tomorrow. I thought this would be a good time to post a note about her, especially given that there doesn't seem to be any readily available information, not even a Wikipedia entry. Yesterday I went to the Pomona Public Library, where they list a book by her and a directory of librarians with an entry about her. Both books, however, have been disposed of -- old and worthless... of no interest... limited space... etc.

LOL -- it's not just Web pages that are ephemeral.

Gertrude Charlotte Moakley was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1905, to Arthur Irving Moakley and Josephine Henry (Barrett). She received a B.A. from Barnard College in 1926 and a B.S. from Columbia University School of Library Science in 1928. She then began working as a librarian for the New York Public Library. She appears in directories of librarians from 1933 through 1970, and she published several books on filing codes, including Basic Filing Rules for Medium-sized Libraries, foreword by Rudolf Flesch, (1957). This biographical information comes from page 2 of that book.

Quote:
Gertrude Moakley... has been a staff member of The New York Public Library, Cataloging Office, Circulation Department, during 1928- 34 and from 1945 to date. In charge of filing for about seven years, she served as chairman of the special committee, which revised the Filing Code of the Circulation Department, during 1949-53. In 1953-54, Miss Moakley was chairman of a special committee on revision of the ALA Rules for Filing Catalog Cards appointed by the executive board of the ALA Division of Cataloging and Classification. Miss Moakley has contributed articles to the Bulletin of The New York Public Library and the Journal of Cataloging and Classification, and she has lectured on catalog arrangement at New York University.
At some point Moakley became interested in the study of Tarot. Her article, "The Waite-Smith Tarot", appeared in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, (v.58, 1954). Among other insights, she argued for the influence of Arthur E. Waite's Tarot book and deck on T.S. Eliot's landmark poem The Waste Land. From 1955 through 1967 she corresponded with art historian Erwin Panofsky; this period brackets her article and book on the iconography of the Visconti-Sforza deck. The 17-page article, "The Tarot Trumps and Petrarch's Trionfi: Some Suggestions on their Relationship", appeared in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library (v.60, 1956), and foreshadowed the 1966 book for which she is famous.

In 1958 she wrote a brief introduction to the Arcanum Books edition of Waite's translation of The Tarot of the Bohemians, by Papus. Among other things, it expresses her interest in and understanding of the two sides of modern Tarot. Introducing the occult or "dark" side, she compares the duality of Tarot to "the Yin-Yang symbol, whose dark side has a little spot of brightness at its center." Then:

Quote:
To complete our idea of the Tarot symbolism we need to add to the darkly veiled side the bright conscious side with the spot of dark unconsciousness at its center. That is, we need to recognize that the literal facts about the Tarot cards are probably quite different from the occultist account. But this brings us again to another veiled darkness: the unconscious motives of those who meant to use symbols only to add to the amusement and excitement of a Carnival game. We may then accept the occultist tradition as a valid myth, that is, a solemn way of stating a truth symbolically with such imaginative force that even its authors at first always mistake it for the literal truth.
Today, a half century later, the more sophisticated Tarot cultists take much the same view. It has been noted that, around this time, Moakley was a guest on "Long John" Neville's late-night radio program "about psychism, spiritual mysteries, and paranormal phenomena", on WOR in New York. Their introduction was made by Eden Gray, godmother of modern Tarot. It is clear that Moakley was a notable figure in the Tarot world at this time, and in 1959, for the University Books edition of Waite's The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Moakley wrote an insightful introduction to Waite, his artist Pamela Colman Smith, and their Tarot deck. Crediting both for the deck, providing biographical information about "Pixie" as well as Waite, and dubbing the deck "the Waite-Smith Tarot" (rather than Rider-Waite) for the title of her earlier article, all seem natural today but might not have in the 1950s. Not surprisingly, her understanding of Waite was far better than most Tarot enthusiasts today. She also appended an unusual section, "Note on The Tarot as a Game", describing how Tarot games are played. She observes in passing that the game might have some connection with "the essential meaning of the Tarot". She recommends the book to people beyond the expected readership of fortune-tellers and occultists.

Quote:
Waite's Tarot is full of symbols to which he attracts your attention only indirectly. The gradual discovery of these is one of the delights of owning the book. Even in the plagiarized and debased De Laurence edition it has been for years one of my treasures, and it is good to see it appear again in its more gracious form.

And even to a person with no interest in mysticism, the book may be of great value. The section entitled "The Tarot in History" is an excellent summing up of the development of occult Tarotism and a sound estimate of its claims. It will be useful to anyone who wants to study as a cultural phenomenon this modern instance of what Robert Graves has called iconotropy.

Then, too, this book will be useful to anyone who is curious about the imagery of T.S. Eliot's great poem, The Waste Land, and who refuses to let his curiosity be inhibited by Eliot's recent disparaging remarks about "wild-goose chases after Tarot cards." The "traditional Tarot" which plays so great a part in this poem must have been Waite's and it is all to Eliot's credit that his imagination was kindled by it in the second decade of the twentieth century.
Today, of course, Moakley is best remembered for her 1966 book, The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family: An Historical and Iconographic Study. Here she presented the first (and what remains to this day the most respectable) iconographic study of a particular Tarot deck. Her research (by this time over a decade of it) encompassed the history of the Visconti-Sforza deck itself, the family for which it was made, their heraldry and relationships, the artist who was responsible for its creation, and the symbolism of the allegorical figures. She provided sober identifications for "enigmas" like the Hanged Man and "mysteries" like the Popess, opening the door for subsequent rational treatment of Tarot iconography. Her findings in each of these areas remain foundational today, and her conclusions about the iconographic program of the trump cycle remain more reasonable than 99% of what has been written since.

Gertrude Moakley died in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 28, 1998. Reportedly, she had continued to study Tarot and work toward a revised edition of The Tarot Cards, and both her research notes and the rights to the original book were entrusted to Stuart Kaplan. Unfortunately, there is no indication that either a reprint of the original or a revised edition will ever be released.
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Thanks very much for providing this timely biography of Gertrude Moakley, Michael. I would really like to see her subsequent thoughts and developments of her ideas.

Perhaps we can get 1000 people or more to petition to Mr. Kaplan to republish the 1966 book, or better yet, hire an editor and publish a new edition with what I am sure must be Gertrude's interesting and informative thoughts.

All of us who are following in her footsteps should raise a toast to her memory: brilliant, enthusiastic, and inspiring pioneer of Tarot history and iconology, Gertrude Charlotte Moakley!


Ross
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Michael (& Ross)-

Thank you for posting this and for doing all the research. I just posted a bio of Eden Gray on my blog. Would it be okay to include a link to your piece on Moakley? I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is on this.

Mary
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Hi, Mary,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
Thank you for posting this and for doing all the research. I just posted a bio of Eden Gray on my blog. Would it be okay to include a link to your piece on Moakley?
That would be great. I didn't realize it, but Gray, like Moakley, doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. They are two of the most significant figures in the world of modern Tarot, pioneers in their own ways, and should be remembered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary's Blog
Along with various editions of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck..., Eden Gray’s tarot books formed the main impetus to the hippie adoption of the Tarot as spiritual guide for navigating a world-turned-on-its-head, leading directly to the booming Tarot Renaissance that began in the 1970s and continues to this day.
Eden Gray’s Fool’s Journey
http://marygreer.wordpress.com/

Best regards,
Michael
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Some references for Moakley


Most of the remarks in the original post include the name of the source material, but here is a list of the works referred to, along with a bit of additional info.

______________________
WORKS BY MOAKLEY:

1954 -- "The Waite-Smith Tarot: A Footnote to The Waste Land", Bulletin of the New York Public Library, v.58.

1956 -- "The Tarot Trumps and Petrarch's Trionfi: Some Suggestions on their Relationship", Bulletin of the New York Public Library, v.60.

1957 -- Basic Filing Rules for Medium-sized Libraries; a Compend Filing Code for Catalogs of 120 to 2000 Trays; foreword by Rudolf Flesch. William-Frederick Press.

1958 -- The Tarot of the Bohemians: Absolute Key to Occult Science, Papus, translated by A.E. Waite, with an Introduction by Gertrude Moakley. Arcanum Books.

1959 -- The Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition under the Veil of Divination, Arthur Edward Waite, with an Introduction and Note on The Tarot as a Game by Gertrude Moakley. University Books.

1966 -- The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family; An Iconographic and Historical Study. New York Public Library.

______________________
OTHER REFERENCES:

A History of the Occult Tarot: 1870-1970, Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett. Duckworth, 2002. The anecdote about Moakley appearing on the radio program is related on page 296.

A Finding Aid to the Erwin Panofsky Papers
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/fi...s/panoerwi.htm

Via ancestry.com:
-- 1930 United States Federal Census. Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Roll: 1508; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 1754; Image: 322.0.
-- Social Security Death Index. Number: 116-32-4164; Issue State: New York; Issue Date: 1958-1959.
-- Florida Death Index, 1877-1998.

Via Google Books:
-- ALA Handbook, by American Library Association; 1930.
-- Who's who in the Library Service, Alice L. Jewett, 1933.
-- Who's who in Library Service, C.C. Williamson & Alice L. Jewett, 1943.
-- Who's Who in Library Service: A Biographical Directory of Professional Librarians of the United States and Canada, Dorothy Ethlyn Cole, 1955.
-- Who's Who in Library Service: A Biographical Directory of Professional Librarians of the United States and Canada,
Lee Ash, 1966.
-- Biographical Directory of the Librarians in the United States and Canada, Lee Ash & Bernhard A. Uhlendorf, 1970.

I noted that Moakley entrusted both the copyright for her Tarot book and her research files to Stuart Kaplan of U.S. Games. This information comes from a 1999 alt.tarot thread. Back then a guy was making a few photocopies of Moakley's 1966 book available, and that started a debate with the notorious (jk) claiming that anyone involved with such (perfectly legal) research copies was a moral degenerate. Along the way Bob O'Neill reported on a discussion he'd had with Kaplan, and (jk) reported on his own discussions with Kaplan's company, U.S. Games. The full thread is very long and tedious, but available via Google Groups.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob O'Neill to alt.tarot
August 31, 1999

We spoke about interest in the book, but it was largely within the context of research. Moakley had donated the material to him with the primary purpose of preserving it - and we discussed it in the context of his plans to set up his collections and library as a "study" museum where serious students could come and get access to all of the material. I asked him if he was interested in re-publishing the book -and he responded that he didn't see it as commercially viable.

In the course of a conversation, I asked if he intended to republish and he answered that it wasn't commercially viable. But the context of the conversation was his current activities and his plans to make his collection/library available. His current activities involve finishing a novel he is writing and finishing Volume 4 of the Encyclopedia. So his answer may be influenced by his own priorities. Also, I don't think he sees himself as the person best qualified to do the updating and modifications in the book that would be needed. So i think his emphasis is more on making the material accessible to scholars who would do the work and republish the material.
Quote:
Originally Posted by (jk) to alt.tarot
August 24, 1999

Moakley left both the copyright to the book, but also her research notes and CORRECTIONS to the original text to Stuart Kaplan. This means, once this material is properly sifted through and the corrections added, this new text will be an UPDATED book, not merely a reprinting of the old text. This fact alone is one of the more important and exciting bits of news that came out in my discussions with U. S. Games, and as I pointed out certainly argues for the liklihood that many people, including those who already possess copies of the older text, will be interested in buying the new printing.

Stuart Kaplan would probably be involved in this editing process and though I've suggested others would be pleased to assist in this effort, the details of this will likely not get worked out for a while. But this is another key point. Kaplan was not much interested in devoting part of his printing budget, and also his personal research time, to republishing what he initially imagined would be a poor-selling item.

At this time, Kaplan is reviewing the prospective printing costs of the project and hopes to be able to get me a good estimate on the price of the book (the suggested retail) perhaps this week. Initially, the ballpark was the book would be a paperback, probably costing somewhere around $19.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
Gertrude Moakley passed away ten years ago tomorrow. I thought this would be a good time to post a note about her, especially given that there doesn't seem to be any readily available information, not even a Wikipedia entry. Yesterday I went to the Pomona Public Library, where they list a book by her and a directory of librarians with an entry about her. Both books, however, have been disposed of -- old and worthless... of no interest... limited space... etc.

LOL -- it's not just Web pages that are ephemeral.

Gertrude Charlotte Moakley was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1905, to Arthur Irving Moakley and Josephine Henry (Barrett). She received a B.A. from Barnard College in 1926 and a B.S. from Columbia University School of Library Science in 1928. She then began working as a librarian for the New York Public Library. She appears in directories of librarians from 1933 through 1970, and she published several books on filing codes, including Basic Filing Rules for Medium-sized Libraries, foreword by Rudolf Flesch, (1957). This biographical information comes from page 2 of that book.


At some point Moakley became interested in the study of Tarot. Her article, "The Waite-Smith Tarot", appeared in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library, (v.58, 1954). Among other insights, she argued for the influence of Arthur E. Waite's Tarot book and deck on T.S. Eliot's landmark poem The Waste Land. From 1955 through 1967 she corresponded with art historian Erwin Panofsky; this period brackets her article and book on the iconography of the Visconti-Sforza deck. The 17-page article, "The Tarot Trumps and Petrarch's Trionfi: Some Suggestions on their Relationship", appeared in the Bulletin of the New York Public Library (v.60, 1956), and foreshadowed the 1966 book for which she is famous.

In 1958 she wrote a brief introduction to the Arcanum Books edition of Waite's translation of The Tarot of the Bohemians, by Papus. Among other things, it expresses her interest in and understanding of the two sides of modern Tarot. Introducing the occult or "dark" side, she compares the duality of Tarot to "the Yin-Yang symbol, whose dark side has a little spot of brightness at its center." Then:


Today, a half century later, the more sophisticated Tarot cultists take much the same view. It has been noted that, around this time, Moakley was a guest on "Long John" Neville's late-night radio program "about psychism, spiritual mysteries, and paranormal phenomena", on WOR in New York. Their introduction was made by Eden Gray, godmother of modern Tarot. It is clear that Moakley was a notable figure in the Tarot world at this time, and in 1959, for the University Books edition of Waite's The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, Moakley wrote an insightful introduction to Waite, his artist Pamela Colman Smith, and their Tarot deck. Crediting both for the deck, providing biographical information about "Pixie" as well as Waite, and dubbing the deck "the Waite-Smith Tarot" (rather than Rider-Waite) for the title of her earlier article, all seem natural today but might not have in the 1950s. Not surprisingly, her understanding of Waite was far better than most Tarot enthusiasts today. She also appended an unusual section, "Note on The Tarot as a Game", describing how Tarot games are played. She observes in passing that the game might have some connection with "the essential meaning of the Tarot". She recommends the book to people beyond the expected readership of fortune-tellers and occultists.


Today, of course, Moakley is best remembered for her 1966 book, The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family: An Historical and Iconographic Study. Here she presented the first (and what remains to this day the most respectable) iconographic study of a particular Tarot deck. Her research (by this time over a decade of it) encompassed the history of the Visconti-Sforza deck itself, the family for which it was made, their heraldry and relationships, the artist who was responsible for its creation, and the symbolism of the allegorical figures. She provided sober identifications for "enigmas" like the Hanged Man and "mysteries" like the Popess, opening the door for subsequent rational treatment of Tarot iconography. Her findings in each of these areas remain foundational today, and her conclusions about the iconographic program of the trump cycle remain more reasonable than 99% of what has been written since.

Gertrude Moakley died in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 28, 1998. Reportedly, she had continued to study Tarot and work toward a revised edition of The Tarot Cards, and both her research notes and the rights to the original book were entrusted to Stuart Kaplan. Unfortunately, there is no indication that either a reprint of the original or a revised edition will ever be released.

Fascinating stuff of which I was unaware. Too bad someone can't light a fire under Kaplan

Mac22
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Hi, Mac22,

Quote:
Originally Posted by mac22
Fascinating stuff of which I was unaware. Too bad someone can't light a fire under Kaplan
The problem is, he's a real bright guy. He was correct ten years ago when he talked with Bob, and the same facts are probably true now in terms of making money with Moakley's book -- not viable. In an interview, apparently from June of 1999, he notes that he sold around 200,000 copies of the first Tarot deck he marketed, the Swiss 1JJ Tarot deck from A.G. Muller. That's an interesting number! He also claimed that a particular deck which he owned the rights to, Waite-Smith, outsold any other by about 500:1. Either he was talking through his hat, or those are very interesting numbers.

Ross says we should get a petition together, but we'd be lucky to raise 200 names. That's not a number of much interest. Kaplan was preparing for a presentation at the time of the interview, and one of the topics was going to be "how it was possible for me to sell $100 million worth of Tarot cards." That's a number.

Moakley can't make money. Editing and publishing Moakley would be a "loss leader", done for the love of the subject. Clearly he also has that, and one of the things he talked about in that interview was his (then recent) research about Pixie. That's got to be the motivation for an investment in Moakley, his interest in the history of the subject.

Quote:
I think they started really as a game for the nobility in northern Italy. What happened is that in 1781 Court de Gebelin came to the idea that the major arcana were in hieroglyphics and he started this esoteric use of the cards. Another person by the name of Etteilla picked it up. It was basically the French that gave the esoteric meaning, cartomancy, to the cards. [...]

What really appeals to me is the origin, trying to separate fact from fantasy. That's why I've devoted myself to thirty years of research and trying to find out what's really true about these cards and what isn't.
So if he pursues it, that would be the reason.

A Conversation with Stuart Kaplan
http://www.lightworks.com/MonthlyAsp...une/699-02.htm

Best regards,
Michael

P.S. If we have any Wikipedians in the house, Uncle Stu is yet another key figure in modern Tarot, along with Gray and Moakley, who does not have an entry... although U.S. Games has a stub.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjhurst
Hi, Mac22,


The problem is, he's a real bright guy. He was correct ten years ago when he talked with Bob, and the same facts are probably true now in terms of making money with Moakley's book -- not viable. In an interview, apparently from June of 1999, he notes that he sold around 200,000 copies of the first Tarot deck he marketed, the Swiss 1JJ Tarot deck from A.G. Muller. That's an interesting number! He also claimed that a particular deck which he owned the rights to, Waite-Smith, outsold any other by about 500:1. Either he was talking through his hat, or those are very interesting numbers.

Well sometimes you do something because it's right -- NOT because you make another 5 million dollars...

As for signatures where do I sign....?

Mac22
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Just out of curiosity- what would be likely to happen if someone had/owned this book...
The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family; An Iconographic and Historical Study.
and then proceeded to type it out on a thread here? Word for word?
Would it bring strife upon one's head?
Thank you for the thread mjHurst- I am a Gertrude Moakley fan!
~Rosanne
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Copyright and Fair Use


Hi, Rosanne,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosanne
Just out of curiosity- what would be likely to happen if someone had/owned this book...
The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family; An Iconographic and Historical Study and then proceeded to type it out on a thread here? Word for word?
The first thing that would happen is that the post would be deleted by the moderators, and rightly so. Putting Kaplan's property, the entire text of an arguably valuable work, out in the public would clearly violate his copyright even if the work is out of print and there are no plans to reprint it. (BTW, currently, used copies of Moakley can be had online starting at about $30.)

The legalities of electronic file sharing are rather hotly debated, but mostly in connection with popular books (like Harry Potter), music, and movies, where huge amounts of money (and bandwidth) are at stake. However, even in the world of obscure books and journal articles for research purposes the matter is subject to some debate. Generally speaking, you can make a personal copy of any such texts for your own use, without violating copyright. Libraries have photocopy machines for that purpose.

If a book is currently in print or when journal article reprints (or electronic access via JSTOR, et al.) are available, such facts become relevant. This is especially the case with books and articles used by a professor for an entire class. The professor may insist that all students buy a copy of his/her own text, but photocopy and distribute other works to save the students money.

There are lots of pages about Fair Use and copyright law online. What I take to be the gist of it is that you can quote reasonable passages, (i.e., multiple paragraphs or even a section), within the context of your own writing, pretty much at will. Just make it clear it's a quote, and cite the source. You cannot, however, quote entire chapters or articles as standalone presentations. As a small part of your work the quoted material is transformed; as the main part of a presentation of the original author's work, it violates the copyright. Here's an oft-quoted section of the U.S. law.

Quote:
17 U.S.C. SS107. Limitations on exclusive rights:
FAIR USE

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
Here are some guidelines from the American Library Association.

Quote:
At the very least, instructors may make a single copy of any of the following for scholarly research or use in teaching or preparing to teach a class:

1. a chapter from a book;
2. an article from a periodical or newspaper;
3. a short story, short essay, or short poem, whether or not from a collective work;
4. a chart, diagram, graph, drawing, cartoon or picture from a book, periodical, or newspaper.

These examples reflect the most conservative guidelines for fair use. They do not represent inviolate ceilings for the amount of copyrighted material which can be photocopied within the boundaries of fair use. When exceeding these minimum levels, however, you again should consider the four factors listed in Section 107 of the Copyright Act to make sure that any additional photocopying is justified. The following demonstrate situations where increased levels of photocopying would continue to remain within the ambit of fair use:

1. the inability to obtain another copy of the work because it is not available from another library or source cannot be obtained within your time constraints;
2. the intention to photocopy the material only once and not to distribute the material to others;
3. the ability to keep the amount of material photocopied within a reasonable proportion to the entire work (the larger the work, the greater amount of material which may be photocopied).

Most single-copy photocopying for your personal use in research -- even when it involves a substantial portion of a work -- may well constitute fair use.
But posting an entire work online, even in a less obtrusive manner than a public forum like Aeclectic, is about as plain a case of infringement as one can imagine, short of publishing it for money.

Best regards,
Michael
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