Manly P. Hall

Manly P. Hall
Hall in the late 1920s
Hall in the late 1920s
Born(1901-03-18)March 18, 1901
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
DiedAugust 29, 1990(1990-08-29) (aged 89)
Los Angeles, California, US
OccupationPhilosopher, writer
CitizenshipUnited States
Notable worksThe Secret Teachings of All Ages
The Lost Keys Of Freemasonry

Manly Palmer Hall (March 18, 1901 – August 29, 1990) was a Canadian-born author, lecturer, astrologer and mystic. He is best known for his 1928 work The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Over his 70 year career, he gave thousands of lectures, including two at Carnegie Hall, and published over 150 volumes. In 1934, he founded The Philosophical Research Society in Los Angeles, which he dedicated to the "Truth Seekers of All Time", with a research library, lecture hall and publishing house. Many of his lectures can be found online and his books are still in print.

Early life

Manly P. Hall was born in 1901[1] in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada,[2] to Louise Palmer Hall, a chiropractor and member of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, and William S. Hall, a dentist.[3] The younger Hall said to have never known his father.[4] In 1919, Hall moved from Canada to Los Angeles, California, with his maternal grandmother to reunite with his birth mother, who was living in Santa Monica, and was almost immediately drawn to the arcane world of mysticism, esoteric philosophies, and their underlying principles. Hall delved deeply into "teachings of lost and hidden traditions, the golden verses of Hindu gods, Greek philosophers and Christian mystics, and the spiritual treasures waiting to be found within one's own soul."


Hall took over as preacher of the Church of the People in 1919 as well, at Trinity Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.[4] Less than a year later, Hall booked his first lecture, and the topic was reincarnation.[4]:15–18 Hall was ordained a minister in the Church of the People on May 17, 1923, and "a few days later, he was elected permanent pastor of the church."[4]:28 His first publications consisted of two small pamphlets, "The Breastplate of the High Priest" (1920), and "Wands and Serpents." Between 1921 and 1923 he wrote three books, The Initiates of the Flame published in October 1922, The Ways of the Lonely Ones published in 1922, and The Lost Keys of Freemasonry published in March 1923. Hall did not become a Freemason until 1954, more than thirty years after this book was published.[5]

During the early 1920s, Carolyn Lloyd and her daughter Estelle—members of a family that controlled a valuable oil field in Ventura County, California—began "sending a sizeable portion of their oil income to Hall," who used the money to travel and acquire a substantial personal library of ancient literature.[4]:38–43 Hall's "first trip around the world to study the lives, customs and religions of countries in Asia and Europe," which commenced December 5, 1923, was paid for by donations from Carolyn Lloyd and her congregation.[4]:41 During the early 1930s, using money from the Lloyds, "Hall traveled to France and England, where he acquired his most extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts in alchemy and esoteric fields from London auctioneer, Sotheby & Company." Through an agent, due to the depressed economic conditions of the era, Hall was able to buy a substantial number of rare books and manuscripts at reasonable prices. When Caroline Lloyd died in 1946, she bequeathed Hall a house, $15,000 in cash, and "a roughly $10,000 portion of her estate's annual income from shares in the world's largest oil companies for 38 years."[4]:60

The Secret Teaching of All Ages

Hall became sufficiently known and respected as a lecturer and interpreter of the writings of the ancients, and the most useful and practical elements of classical idealism, that he successfully appealed, through advertisements and word of mouth, for funds to finance the book that became known as The Secret Teachings of All Ages, whose original cost of publication in 1928 was estimated to be $150,000,[4]:20–21, 50 although the price of individual copies varied. The full title of the book is An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy: Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of all Ages.[6]:vi According to original subscription agreements on file at the Philosophical Research Society, editions were sold by subscription for $75 on a pre-publication basis, but "the price of this edition after delivery by the printer is understood to be One Hundred Dollars." Under the subscription terms, $15 was due at signing of the agreement, and "the balance of Sixty Dollars in four equal monthly payments each."[7] The H.S. Crocker Company of San Francisco agreed to publish the book "if Hall could secure the interest of book designer John Henry Nash, who once worked as a printer to the Vatican."[4]:52

After The Secret Teachings of All Ages was published, Hall "went from being just another earnest young preacher in the City of Angels to becoming an icon of the increasingly influential metaphysical movement sweeping the country in the 1920s. His book challenged assumptions about society's spiritual roots and made people look at them in new ways."[4]:52 Hall dedicated The Secret Teachings of All Ages to "the proposition that concealed within the emblematic figures, allegories and rituals of the ancients is a secret doctrine concerning the inner mysteries of life, which doctrine has been preserved in toto among a small band of initiated minds."[8]:20 As one writer put it: "The result was a gorgeous, dreamlike book of mysterious symbols, concise essays and colorful renderings of mythical beasts rising out of the sea, and angelic beings with lions' heads presiding over somber initiation rites in torch-lit temples of ancestral civilizations that had mastered latent powers beyond the reach of modern man."[4]:50

In 1988, Hall himself wrote: "The greatest knowledge of all time should be available to the twentieth century not only in the one shilling editions of the Bohn Library in small type and shabby binding, but in a book that would be a monument, not merely a coffin. John Henry Nash agreed with me."[9]:4

Further publications and lectures

The major books which followed include The Dionysian Artificers (1936), Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians (1937), and Masonic Orders of Fraternity (1950). In his over 70-year career, Hall delivered approximately 8,000 lectures in the United States and abroad, authored over 150 books and essays, and wrote countless magazine articles. He appears in the introduction to the 1938 film When Were You Born, a murder mystery that uses astrology as a key plot point. Hall wrote the original story for the film (screenplay by Anthony Coldeway) and is also credited as the narrator.

Ticket for Manly P. Hall at Carnegie Hall, Dec. 2, 1942

In 1942, Hall spoke to an attendance-setting audience at Carnegie Hall, on "The Secret Destiny of America," which later became a book of the same title. In that book, through a series of stories, he alleged a secret order of philosophers had created the idea of America as a country for religious freedom and self-governance.[10][11] In one of the stories that Hall cites as evidence of America's exceptionalism, he claims that an angel was present at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and inspiring them with God's words.[11] President Ronald Reagan is reported to have adopted ideas and phrasing from The Secret Destiny of America (1944) in his speeches and essays for his allegorical use of the City upon a Hill.[10][11]

Hall returned in 1945 for another well-attended lecture at Carnegie Hall, titled: "Plato's Prophecy of Worldwide Democracy."[12]

Personal life

Hall and his followers went to extreme lengths to keep any gossip or information that could tarnish his image from being publicized, and little is known about his first marriage, on April 28, 1930, to Fay B. deRavenne, then 28, who had been his secretary during the preceding five years. The marriage was not a happy one; his friends never discussed it, and Hall removed virtually all information about her from his papers following her suicide on February 22, 1941.[4]:55, 97 Following a long friendship, on December 5, 1950, Hall married Marie Schweikert Bauer (following her divorce from George Bauer), and the marriage though stormy was happier than his first.[13] Marie Schweikert Bauer Hall died April 21, 2005.[4]:120, 127, 133, 278

In 1934, Hall founded the Philosophical Research Society (PRS) in Los Angeles, California, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization[14] dedicated to the study of religion, mythology, metaphysics, and the occult.[15] The PRS still maintains a research library of over 50,000 volumes,[16] and also sells and publishes metaphysical and spiritual books, mostly those authored by Hall.[17] After his death, some of Manly Hall's rare alchemy books were sold to keep the PRS in operation. "Acquisition of the Manly Palmer Hall Collection in 1995 provided the Getty Research Institute with one of the world's leading collections of alchemy, esoterica, and hermetica."[18][19]

Hall was a Knight Patron of the Masonic Research Group of San Francisco, with which he was associated for a number of years prior to his Masonic affiliations. On June 28, 1954, Hall initiated as a Freemason into Jewel Lodge No. 374, San Francisco (now the United Lodge); passed September 20, 1954; and raised November 22, 1954. He took the Scottish Rite Degrees a year later.[20] He later received his 32° in the Valley of San Francisco AASR (SJ).[21] On December 8, 1973 (47 years after writing The Secret Teachings of All Ages), Hall was recognized as a 33° Mason (the highest honor conferred by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite) at a ceremony held at the Philosophical Research Society (PRS).[22][23]

Bust of Manly Hall,
artist unknown

Selected works

  • (1922) The Initiates of the Flame. The first published book by Hall[24]
  • (1923) The Lost Keys of Freemasonry[25]
  • (1929) Lectures on Ancient Philosophy — An Introduction to the Study and Application of Rational Procedure[26]
  • (1933) Introduction to Max Heindel's Blavatsky and The Secret Doctrine, 1933[27]
  • (1942) How to Understand Your Bible[28]
  • Lady of Dreams: A fable in the manner of the Chinese (Los Angeles, 1943)
  • (1944) The Secret Destiny of America[29]
  • (1944) The Guru by His Disciple – The Way of the East[30]
  • (1951) America's Assignment with Destiny[31]
  • (1980) The Blessed Angels: A Monograph[32]
  • (1984) Lectures in Ancient Philosophy: An Introduction to Practical Ideals
  • (1988) Meditation Symbols in Eastern & Western Mysticism-Mysteries of the Mandala[33]
  • The Adepts Series
  • Unofficial Listing of All Books by Manly P. Hall, with topics[34]
  • Complete PDF archive of Manly P. Hall's Journals: The All-Seeing Eye, Horizon, and PRS Journal[35]
  • Manly P. Hall: Resources and Inspirations [36]
  • A Monthly Letter Devoted to Spiritual and Philosophical Problems[37]
    • Atlantis, An Interpretation
    • Symbolic Essays
    • Noah and His Wonderful Ark


  1. ^ "Manly P Hall |". Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  2. ^ Magazine, New Dawn. "Secret Teachings Reborn: The Mysterious Life of Manly P. Hall | New Dawn : The World's Most Unusual Magazine". Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  3. ^ "About | Philosophical Research Society". Retrieved 2017-06-15.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sahagun, Louis (2008). Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall. Port Townsend, Washington: Process Media.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1988) [1928; facsimile, with new prefaces]. An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy: Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of all Ages (Diamond Jubilee ed.). Los Angeles, California: The Philosophical Research Society, Inc. ISBN 0-89314-830-X reduced paperback. Also 0-89314-546-7, 0-89314-548-3 reduced casebound, 0-89314-830-X reduced paperback;CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  7. ^ Several original subscription documents were located by Edie Shapiro, PRS Librarian, on August 6, 2012. Ms. Shapiro stated: "It appears the price was $50, $75 or $100 (or complimentary, depending)," so an exact accounting of the costs may not be possible to reconstruct.
  8. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1928). An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy: Being an Interpretation of the Secret Teachings concealed within the Rituals, Allegories and Mysteries of all Ages (Subscribers' ed.). San Francisco, California: H. S. Crocker & Co.
  9. ^ Hall, Manly P. (2003). The Secret Teachings of All Ages: Reader's Edition (Reader's ed.). New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin. ISBN 1-58542-250-9. The Reader's Edition is a trade paperback (6" wide and 9" tall).CS1 maint: postscript (link)
  10. ^ a b "Reagan and the Occult" by Mitch Horowitz, The Washington Post, Political Bookworm, April 30th, 2010
  11. ^ a b c
  12. ^ "Carnegie Hall : Performance History Search". Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  13. ^ Nichols, Kimberly. "The Maestro and the Boy: The Kindness of Manly P. Hall | Newtopia Magazine". Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  14. ^ The Philosophical Research Society's Tax Exempt Status[permanent dead link] – The Philosophical Research Society's declaration of its 501(c)3 nonprofit status on its website, retrieved December 12, 2010.
  15. ^ "About the Philosophical Research Society". Philosophical Research Society. Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  16. ^ "About the Philosophical Research Society". University of Southern California Archival Research Center: LA as Subject Database. University of Southern California. Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  17. ^ "About the Philosophical Research Society". McRae’s Bluebook. McRae’s Bluebook. Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  18. ^ "Alchemy—Special Collections". The Getty Research Institute. J. Paul Getty Trust. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  19. ^ "Manly Palmer Hall collection of alchemical manuscripts (1500-1825)". Getty Research Institute. Retrieved November 23, 2020.
  20. ^ The Manly Palmer Hall Archive, retrieved September 28, 2009.
  21. ^ Denslow, William R. (1958). 10,000 Famous Freemasons, vol. ii. [Trenton, MO. : Missouri Lodge of Research / Educational Bureau, Royal Arch Mason Magazine]. p. 165.
  22. ^ "MPH Biography". Archived from the original on 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2005-04-18.
  23. ^ Manly P. Hall's Obituary, Scottish Rite Journal, November, 1990, p. 22. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-03-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). (Note: archives don't go back this far so this reference is in question. However, the Philosophical Research Society Manly Palmer Hall biography Archived 2011-03-04 at the Wayback Machine states this (word-for-word) except the text on this page stated the 33° is the highest degree conferred by the Scottish Rite, a rare and high honor, Manly Palmer Hall, was given the highest honor conferred by the Scottish Rite in recognition of his esteemed work: The Grand Cross of Scottish Rite Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, Washington, D.C. in 1985 (can only be conferred on 33rd Degree Masons). The Supreme Council – Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? – The Methods of Anti-Masons Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine questions Hall's Mason authority status.
  24. ^ The Initiates of the Flame. Los Angeles: The Phoenix Press. 1934 [1922; reprinted, with illustrations by J. Augustus Knapp].
  25. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1923). The Lost Keys of Masonry or The Legend of Hiram Abiff (Special students ed.). Santa Monica, California: Priv. pub. by the author.
  26. ^ "19 Rosicrucian and Masonic Origins". Lectures on Ancient Philosophy — An Introduction to the Study and Application of Rational Procedure. Los Angeles, California: The Hall Publishing Company. 1929.
  27. ^ Heindel, Max (1933). "Introduction". Blavatsky and the Secret Doctrine, by Max Heindel; with a short biography of the author; introduction by Manly Hall. Los Angeles, California: Phoenix Press.
  28. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1942). How to Understand Your Bible: A Philosopher's Interpretation of Obscure and Puzzling Passages. United Kingdom: White Crow Books.
  29. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1944). The Secret Destiny of America. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society.
  30. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1944). The Guru by His Disciple – The Way of the East. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society.
  31. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1994) [1951]. America's Assignment with Destiny. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society. ISBN 0893145025.
  32. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1980). The blessed Angels: The Reality of Things Unseen. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society. ISBN 0893148075.
  33. ^ Hall, Manly P. (1988). Meditation symbols in Eastern & Western mysticism : mysteries of the mandala. Los Angeles, California: Philosophical Research Society. ISBN 0-89314-543-2.
  34. ^ Alan Harris (ed.). "Manly P. Hall's Books with Topic Listings". Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  35. ^ "Complete Archive of Manly P. Hall's Journals". Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  36. ^ "Manly P. Hall: Resources and Inspirations". Alan Harris. Retrieved 2018-07-01.
  37. ^ Hall, Manly P. "A Monthly Letter Devoted to Spiritual and Philosophical Problems". Los Angeles: The Phoenix Press. 1934-8, 1944-5.CS1 maint: postscript (link)

Further reading

  • Sahagun, Louis (2008). Master of the Mysteries: The Life of Manly Palmer Hall. Process. ISBN 978-1-934170-02-1.
  • Horowitz, Mitch (2009). Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation. New York: Bantam. ISBN 978-0-553-38515-1.

External links

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