Apr 21, 2014
The University Library has acquired the extensive collection of astrology journals and books belonging to Michael Erlewine, an American musician, astrologer, photographer, TV host, and Internet entrepreneur. The collection includes many videos, calendars, kits, and tarot card decks, and more than 16,000 books and periodicals—4,000 of which no other library appears to hold.
Erlewine contacted the University Library in 2009 about possibly donating his collection. His ultimate goal was to make it available, in its entirety, to a research university for permanent retention. Today, his collection is housed in a climate-controlled environment within the Oak Street Library Facility. Erlewine’s materials complement the Mandeville Collection of Occult Sciences already at Illinois.
Part of the Erlewine collection includes papers from Gary Duncan (Neil Llewellyn Bloch), an important research astrologer.
“The Rare Book & Manuscript Library already owns some material from Astrologer Sybil Leek,” said Nancy O’Brien, head of the University’s Social Sciences, Health and Education Library and curator of the Mandeville Collection. “This acquisition makes the University Library a nexus for astrology research.”
“The size, scope, uniqueness, and the complementary nature of this collection to our Mandeville Collection make this a great addition to our holdings,” concurred Associate University Librarian for Collections and Technical Services and Assistant Dean of Libraries Tom Teper.
The collection comes to Illinois from the Heart Center Astrological Library in Big Rapids, Michigan, where it resided for many years. According to Erlewine, the Library of Congress was interested in the journals within his collection; however, he opted to donate them to Illinois to keep all of the materials together.