Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Place Your Offerings Here.
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In the Tarot Deck Facsimiles thread I posted a link to the Tarot material by L. W. de Laurence
who apparently was an infamous book pirate that published knockoffs of the Tarot deck drawn by Pamela Colman Smith, and the book about it by A. E. Waite, without even giving her credit. In penance, I have created this thread to post and discuss the work and life of this cute bohemian babe.

My first offerings -
Three Books A War Poster Bryn Mawr College
  • Pamela Colman Smith Collection -A bio and quite a few examples of her paintings (very small, lo-rez), along with an inventory and brief description of the contents of a 1.5 ft box containg letters and other ephemera. ... hbox.shtml
Anyone interested in the artwork of the Rider-Waite / Waite-Smith Tarot should check out these links !
P.S. The description for this Plush Parlor forum reads
Enormous portraits of de Gébelin, Etteilla, Levi, Papus, Wirth, Waite, and Crowley grace these hallowed halls.
So here is a link for a much larger jpg of the above portrait of Pamela Colman Smith ... 1&isize=XL
This is a public domain image at U. of Wisconsin digital collections from-
The craftsman(October 1912) MacDonald, M. Irwin-The fairy faith and pictured music of Pamela Colman Smith, pp. 21-35
The wikipedia page for her says of their smaller version of this magnificent and magical photo that it
comes from the biography card of the Rider Waite Tarot Deck, as published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Stamford, CT. 06902. The biography card is itself reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume III, by Stuart R.Kaplan
Now you have a bigger and better and more authentic one.
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

I was quite delighted when I read a biography of Stieglitz, that he had been so fond of her artwork and exhibited it several times.

The relevant book:

Alfred Steiglitz, a Biography: Photography, Georgia O'Keeffe, and the Rise of the Avant-Garde in America by Richard Whelan; 1995 ISBN 0316934046

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Well, I'm back with more -
Thanx for the video link Pen. Here's the link for the book
cadia wrote:I was quite delighted when I read a biography of Stieglitz, that he had been so fond of her artwork and exhibited it several times.
I quess he took 22 photographs of her paintings and published 7 somewhere. (No more info yet).

I seem to have become pleasantly bewitched. The photo of her from 'The Craftsman has so much life and personality in it compared to most of the photos of people from this time ! Today I took the jpg from the article facsimile and did some rudimentary image editing for exposure, contrast, and sharpening, and made a new small version to replace the one I got from the wikipedia article that I posted at the beginning of this thread yesterday.

I also got back to searching online and had an evening just as exciting and lucrative as last nights foray. Here are some more great links !
Jack B. Yeats & Pamela Colman Smith. Broadsheets William Hooker Gillette souvenir brochure War Poster 2 The Story of My Life (Dame Ellen Terry, One 2pg illo by Pixie) The Lamp ( monthly 1903 Vl 26) Women designers of book-plates (Wilbur Macey Stone) Well, that's all for now.I've actually got more from tonights search but I've just spent 6 full hours doing this and I am exhausted !
I'll post the rest of these treasures when I get back from work tomorrow.
Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

Well, back to finish last nights work. My third day on Pixie Shrine.
The Strand Magazine (Vol xxxv july 1908 no210) The issue numbering and everything else seems totally screwed up. Just click on the pdf link and download it and it should be right.
  • Pictures In Music (pg 647 - 652 of the actual issue/pg57-61 of the google books pdf.)
    - Another article on Pixie's 'synesthesia' and it's role in her art. (The other one being "The Craftsman -October 1912 MacDonald, M. Irwin-The Fairy Faith And Pictured Music Of Pamela Colman Smith", which I linked to at the end of my opening post, where there is a very nice large version of the portrait gracing both this shrine and her wikipedia page.)
    - 5 pics in B/W that look like they mightt have been in color originally. There is no color in the magazine. I'm pretty sure they had color printing back then. It could be that Google books just made the pdf all B/W ... 08&f=false
The Occult Art Gallery Website
  • 2 full pages devoted to documenting all the art published by Pixie ! Many, many mid-rez jpgs from each entry. If I had found this first, I would have stopped !!! The jpgs are smaller than you will find from the links I've given above. But it is so much more convenient to have what must be close to her entire ouvre in one spot!
Letter of the Beasts to Dina(Edith M. Theobald 1905 illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith) Green Sheaf (Location of volume only)
  • well almost - It's a page at King's College London which discusses an exhibition there. I guess they have possesion of at least one edition of Pixie's little magazine-. Rare Books Collection PR1145 G82. There's one small lo-rez illo for the article and no link to any pdf or other facsimile that I can find so far. ... press.html
I'm almost done. Before I post my last resource link (for now, anyway), I have to say that I've learned quite a bit about this lady, this 'Pixie', in the last few days. I never really paid much attention to the Rider-Waite/Smith Tarot until now. It has been the antique Mantegna and Minchiate decks which most attracted me. But Pamela Colman Smith was a true Bohemian, in the same world as Aubrey Beardsley and Walter Crane. A fin de siecle artist who drew the most famous Tarot deck in the world. I believe now that she must stand as an example of what many of the artists of the various tarot decks all through history were. She definitley lived the Boho lifestyle. Darling of literary and theatrical icons. A dabbler in the occult. Brief fame and then, for the last half of her life, obscurity and a death in poverty. A study of her life could probably illuminate the lives of many Tarot artists who came before her. A study of her art will certainly help answer questions and musings on the deck of Tarot cards she created. I hope all these links I've posted will serve the Tarot community, and the historians of it as valuable source material. In my search for these treasures over the last 4 days I have often used biographical and bibliographic material from the wonderful web pages devoted to her work- (already listed in my first post here.) listed in this post)
Her Wikipedia page and much else.
Now a little treat.
Bohemia In London (Arthur Ransom 1907)
  • This book contains one of the very few accounts of Pamela Colman Smith that I've run across. Much of itis posted at the 'Biography Of Pamela Colman Smith') website directly above. I found a pdf of the book. The section on Pixie runs from page 56 of the book/ pg 84 of the pdf - pg 65 of the book/ pg 93 of the pdf. Ransom calls Pixie "Gypsy" instead. But the evidence is pretty good that he was describing Pamela Colman Smith. You can read this evidence at the Arthur Ransom page of the just mentioned website

    Appropriately for our pixie faced boho beauty and Tarot deck creator, it is part fact and part fiction. I enjoyed it immensely. ... 00ransiala
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Deliver me from reasons why you'd rather cry - I'd rather fly...
Jim Morrison - The Crystal Ship

Re: Pamela Colman Smith Shrine

The thing I remember most is from the article about her in the Encyclopedia of Tarot V III: she was quite down in her last years, and her career never became what she wanted of it. She had no money at the end and no one remembered her. She knew it.

Imagine how you'd feel, being courted for your artistry, imagination and storytelling by the bigwigs of the day like Ellen Terry and Yeats, only to die in penury, forgotten?

She is a great example of the human condition, the bright spark, the dying off of light......