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The Esoteric Archive of Rochester (the EAR, The Archive) is a digital and physical collection of esoteric materials and information, with a special area of interest in esoteric movements having something to do with the city of Rochester, NY.

Our Mission[edit]

The mission of the Esoteric Archive of Rochester is threefold:

  1. To record and document esoteric and spiritual/fraternal movements in and around Rochester, NY, as well as across the globe
  2. To identify and investigate potential connections between these movements and concurrent social reform movements, with a focus on the local area
  3. To provide a digital space for community research and education as related to these three points

How will we fulfill our mission?

  1. The staff of the EAR along with any and all willing community members will actively search out materials that conform to our Collection Plan (below); we will catalog and record those materials, making them available to the general public.
  2. The staff of the EAR along with any and all willing community members will actively research the potential connections between these movements (as identified in our Collection Plan) and concurrent social reform movements.
  3. The staff of the EAR has created this wiki-style website, designed to facilitate community research and education. We will maintain this website and moderate content added (whether by staff or community) as needed.

About the Collection[edit]

The current collection is both digital and physical. Digitially, we have hundreds (over 800 at the time of writing) of publicly available files that focus mostly on late 18th to early 19th century movements around New York, as well as a substantial collection of Rosicrucian and Alchemical texts. Physically, we have over 100 objects (books, pamphlets, decks of cards, and other items) spanning general Occultism, with a focus on Spiritualism and Rosicrucianism. As the collection grows, we expect the focus to change, as detailed below:

Collection Plan and Policies[edit]

Subjects and Topics[edit]

This archive intends to collect digital and physical materials based on the following categories:

  • Western Esoteric and Occult, Spiritual, Religious, and Fraternal Movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • General Western Esotericism
  • Eastern Esotericism
  • New American Religions (for example: Spiritualism, Mormonism, etc.)
  • Secret Societies and Hierarchical Mystery Schools (Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, etc.)
  • Practical Tools of the above points (tarot cards, spirit boards, spiritualist trumpets, etc.)
  • The History and Happenings of all these points as they specifically relate to Rochester, NY.

While this is a fairly wide net to cast, the intention is to become a large archive of these subjects. At its inception the collection contained a spattering of these topics, but the initial focus of this archive will be subjects as related to New York state and the Rochester area. The largest barrier we foresee at this time is time, money, and space. As this project continues, collecting may stop and start to accommodate our physical reality.

Material Formats[edit]

The Archive collects two main varieties of material: Digital materials and Physical materials.

Digital Materials

  • File types
    • The Archive far and above prefers files in .PDF format.
    • File types associated with images (.JPG, .PNG, etc.) are also acceptable
    • .PDF materials that depict photographs or photographic scans of a physical object (the original book) are strongly preferred
  • Copyright
    • Because digital items can be copied at will, The Archive will only hold digital materials that are either:
      • already in the public domain, or
      • The Archive has received explicit permission to host and distribute said files by the copyright holder
    • Many collectors of digital materials have copies of material that is currently under active copyright in their personal collections. This website, nor webhost, nor the file storage service, is a personal or private collection and all of these services are used to provide materials to the public. Therefore, this is not the medium for copyright protected digital files.

Physical Materials

  • The Archive collects the following types of materials:
    • Books, in a variety of formats (Priority 1)
      • hardcover
      • softcover
      • pamphlets (stapled binding)
      • Printed materials bound cheaply or placed in a 3-ring binder
    • Decks of cards (Priority 2)
      • Tarot, Lenormand, and Oracle decks
    • Various items
      • Spirit/talking boards, etc. (Priority 3)
      • At this time, The Archive does not collect materials stored on CD, DVD, or any other such media
  • Quality/Value
    • The Archive purchases gently to moderately used books in order to make financially-sound choices
    • Rare and valuable works are currently a very low priority, as they cannot circulate. With limited space, we want to prioritize objects that can circulate.
  • Number of copies
    • The Archive allows up to 2 copies of each title
    • In the case of card decks only, up to 4 copies may be held
    • If the Archive acquires more than the accepted quantity of a given material, the most worn versions must be sold or otherwise weeded from the shelves


Digital materials available through this website are available to anyone with an internet connection. Just visit this website and click on stuff! Physical materials (physical books, tarot decks, etc.) are available to browse via our LibraryThing catalog. These materials will be available for circulation (lending/borrowing) and/or for on-site research. This side of the Archive will initially operate out of The Archivist's apartment, and this project is referred to lower on this page as the guerrilla library. Click here to learn more about the guerrilla library and how to borrow materials.


At this time, we are accepting all donations to the EAR. Please be aware that if we cannot add your donated material to the collection, it may be sold to support the archive, or donated to another collection, if applicable. If you are concerned about your donated material remaining in the Archive collection, please contact us before you make your donation.

If you live in the Rochester area and have physical books or objects you'd like to donate, OR if you have digital materials you'd like to donate, please fill out this form.

You can also donate books and materials from all over the globe! Shop our Amazon Wish List and help us expand our collection! While we appreciate beautiful and new books, the archive has purchased many used books in good or acceptable condition. The content is the important part. So please purchase what works for you!

Decision Makers[edit]

As of this moment, the only person making choices about what is added to or removed from this Archive is The Archivist. Since it's just the one guy running the show, he endeavors to be as transparent in his work as possible. If you have any questions about literally anything, please contact The Archivist. Eventually, it would be ideal if a small board of directors was in charge of choices made by The Archive.

Finances and Support the Archive[edit]

Current Finances[edit]

All expenses listed here have been incurred by The Archivist.

  • TinyCat Library Software - $3/month
  • Nearly Free Speech website hosting - $1.65/month
  • Domain name - $1/month
  • Proton Drive storage - $120/year
  • This equals ~$126/year
    • Web hosting has a variable price and will increase slightly as traffic to this archive increases
    • The price for TinyCat covers a collection of up to 1,000 titles, so that should work for quite a while
  • 2022-2023 Acquisitions - ~$1,200
    • This total is all Amazon, eBay, and local bookstore purchases between December 2022 and December 31, 2023. It does not include books received at no cost
    • These purchases do include some supplies: A bookshelf, borrower cards, etc.
    • This also means the average budget for materials is currently ~$92/month

This project is my creation and you, by reading the books on this website or by taking books on loan from the physical library, do not owe this archive anything. I have organized this here for you to use for free. I am deeply grateful for financial donations, but they are by no means required or expected.

Support the Archive[edit]

  • Your financial support helps keep the site running (current expenses above)
  • Your financial support also funds the Master Plan (more on that to follow)
  • Your support in editing this website helps the entire community, here in Rochester and anywhere internet is available

This website is offered to you for free and without ads, now and forever. It is the opinion of this archivist that knowledge should always be offered freely. If you'd like to support the work being done here, you can send donations via the personal channels of The Archivist:

  • PayPal
  • Venmo: nick_foos
  • CashApp: $foos87
  • Sign up for a paid Proton account. We are transitioning all storage and email over to Proton because it is way more secure and, frankly, ethical than Google is. I also use Proton for my personal use and highly recommend it.

Donations will be used to procure new objects and information to add to the archive, to support the archivist in their endeavors, to support digital storage costs (currently google drive), hosting costs (currently Nearly Free Speech), and other incurred expenses. Because this is a private project run by volunteers and not a not-for-profit organization, these donations are not tax-deductible, but are rather gifts to an individual person.

Master Plan[edit]

The ultimate goal of The Archive is to run this website in addition to a brick-and-mortar library and books store located within the city of Rochester. The purpose of this library is similar to the purpose of this website, but is aimed at helping people who don't always have internet access, who want to learn more but who can't find the information they need in the Rochester Public Library System, and to offer items we cannot provide digitally due to DRM and copyright laws. While it's the goal of this Archivist to take over the Auditorium Center on West Main street (connected to the RBTL auditorium is a 6-story building built as a masonic lodge complex), we have to start much, much smaller. So, here's the plan as it is currently envisioned:

  1. Collect and catalogue digital esoteric files on a website aimed at education and research
  2. Start a small physical library, initially running out of The Archivist's apartment
  3. Eventually move to a dedicated and public space for the physical library
  4. As the collection grows, seek out larger spaces that allow for more community engagement
Home of Amy and Isaac Post in Rochester, NY
Home of Amy and Isaac Post in Rochester, NY

Running a library out of your home, by the way, is not a new concept. "Guerilla Librarianship" is concept where people who are not actually librarians still want to provide material to the community and work to do just that. The Archivist will be seeking education to better support this project and will connect with experts in the field to make sure dumb mistakes are avoided.

The first library of Spiritualist material was housed in Rochester in the mid 1800s in the home of Amy and Isaac Post. These two Quakers were integral to reformation movements of the day including Woman Suffrage, Abolition, Temperance, and Spiritualism. They turned the second floor of their home into a Spiritualist library and reading room and made it accessible to the public. This Archive intends to use the home library of the Post's as a model to start our own library.

It's The Archivist's hope that the final step of this plan will lead us to that grand masonic temple and allow us to add restoration and historical research of the building to our plans. Though, we are very open to other historic and esoteric spaces within the city of Rochester. Regardless of the space occupied, this website will serve as the home of the digital collection, a forever-free collection available to anyone with internet access.

  • This website (The Wiki) will always be the free and open home to our digital collection.
  • Searching the entire catalog (including the physical collection) is currently handled by LibraryThing.
  • Membership is required to borrow physical books and that is currently free.
    • In the future, when the library moves into a public space, we may transition into a membership library, meaning that patrons will need to purchase a membership in order to borrow physical book and receive other exclusive benefits.
      • A membership will not be required to enter the library and use the collection for research within the library building.
  • Physical books will be lent from the archive to locals using a traditional library card system and patrons will become members to get the right to take books out of the building.
  • We are planning on collecting rare, delicate, and heavily protected items in the physical space, so some sort of system will exist to separate circulating from non-circulating books. How this will be dealt with is not yet clear. Perhaps a rare book room that can be accessed by appointment.

If you are interested in donating books or supplies to support this physical extension of the archive, please shop through our Amazon Wish List. These are a collection of books that The Archivist wants to add to our collection, but you will have the option to send any materials you'd like. If you already own books or materials you'd like to donate to the Archive, please fill out this form.

Donation Requests

Become a Member

Frequently Asked Questions[edit]

Why Esotericism?[edit]

The term esotericism is defined in widely different ways across the globe and is used to address a variety of different practices and schools of thought. This Archive was created with the understanding that esotericism describes a unique and individual approach to spirituality, specifically an inner path. Esotericism shows us that the path to peace, the path to happiness, the path to enlightenment, is accessible within us right now. Furthermore, esotericism invites us to interact with the world around us in an enchanted, magical way. It brings a sense of wonder to a world that is often dark and scary. It is the belief of The Archivist that an esoteric course of study, an esoteric world view, and/or an esoteric spiritual practice can be a deeply liberating to the human mind. It is his belief that Rochester, NY, a place where esoteric thought has inspired and supported a variety of social and religious reform movements, can especially benefit from esotericism. Reading the works of early Spiritualists or Rosicrucians is not going to solve homelessness or end poverty on their own, but the potential for inspired thinking that leads us to new solutions and new ways of living together is great.

Why is everything so empty?[edit]

There are hundreds of books and papers available to view and download for free on this wiki, but, yes, many of the pages are currently pretty empty. Users are invited to add to any object page to add relevant information (summary of work, information about the author, etc.). The purpose of this Archive is twofold: 1) to catalog and make publicly available books, papers, and objects related to esotericism and 2) to provide a space to further investigate those works. This wiki is a living resource and will never be done. Each page holds a primary source, at a minimum. That is an excellent place to begin the work of understanding. Why not give us a hand?

How do I report an object on this wiki that is not in the public domain?[edit]

While we make every effort to confirm objects in our wiki are in the public domain, mistakes do happen. If you have happened upon something you believe should not be here, please fill out this Google Form, and The Archivist will get back to you right quick. To learn more about how we figure out if something is indeed in the public domain, check out our Copyright page.

Can I publish my own writings here?[edit]

Sure! Please create a page using the appropriate template(s) and fill in all the appropriate information. Make sure you use the copyright symbol "PG," denoting that you have given the Esoteric Archive of Rochester permission to host and distribute your material. If you ever change your mind, you are fully able to delete the page and any associated files.

How can I help?[edit]

First and foremost, thank you for even offering. I am personally and deeply grateful (<3 - The Archivist). Our first priority is in growing and using this website. There's a fairly involved list of a bunch of different things you can do located here. The second priority is the Guerilla Library. Finally, if you are in Rochester and you'd like to be involved with this project in any way, please contact The Archivist.

How can I get updates on what The Archive is working on?[edit]

Great question! The best option is to sign up for our free SubStack.