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Aleister Crowley Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: unknown

Biographical History

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), born Edward Alexander Crowley, was an English occultist, writer and mystic. His interests and accomplishments were wide-ranging: among other things he was a poet, painter, astrologer, and social critic; he experimented with various drugs and was an excellent chess player. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge where he read English literature and became interested in the occult, investigating alchemy, mysticism, and magic. He was involved in several occult organizations, including the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.).

Crowley is perhaps best known today for his occult writings, especially The Book of the Law which laid out the central tenets of Thelema, a religious philosophy he developed. Thelema's often-misunderstood emphasis on the sovereignty of the individual will, famously phrased as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," was later adopted in various forms by many Wicca, Pagan, and Neo-Pagan groups.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Aleister Crowley Collection consists of six series. Artwork contains three drawings in an oversize package. Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing. Writings comprises manuscripts of various articles, essays, etc written by Crowley. Writings of others contains letters from the "Clear Crowley's Name" campaign and, more interestingly, a typescript (in red and purple) of 180pp of Leah Hirsig's journal. Hirsig was a Swiss-American who, with Crowley, founded the Abbey of Thelema in Sicily and had a child with him. Most of the journal is set in Paris and mentions some conflict with Crowley which she refers to as "the 207 affair."Printed material includes advertisements and songs, and finally there is some little Miscellaneous material.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Because of the deleterious effect on the life of the paper caused by continual handling, the original documents in this collection are completely closed. Researchers may refer to Microfilm #4636, or request photocopies for reproduction costs plus postage and handling. (30 Jun 1982)

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The entire collection is also available on microfilm (Microfilm #4636).

Special Collections Research Center also has a set of microfilm reels comprising "The Aleister Crowley Papers: The Microfilm Edition," released by Ordo Templo Orientis in association with the Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London (2002). This consists of notebooks, manuscripts, papers, novels, poetry, commentaries on The Book of the Law, diaries, financial and legal papers, galley proofs, catalogues, bibliographies, and Crowley's Golden Dawn notebooks, all on microfilm. Please contact the repository listed above for more information on this material.

Subject Headings


Crowley, Aleister, 1875-1947.
Harris, Frieda.
Hirsig, Leah.
Sutherland, Cordelia.


Authors, English.
Occultists, England.

Genres and Forms

Drawings (visual works)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Aleister Crowley Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents




Writings of others

Printed material



Note on alternate formats:

The entire collection is also available on microfilm (Microfilm #4636).