James Madison Durand and his wife Theodosia Durand were initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at its Isis-Urania temple in London on 28 February 1894. They chose mottoes which reflected their interest in the Kabbalah: his was ‘Judah’, her’s was ‘En hakkore’. February 1894 was a busy month for initiations in London. Anaesthetist Dr George Rowell and writer on interior design and good taste Mary Eliza Haweis were initiated during the same ritual as the Durands; and Allan Bennett and Minnie Prewett were also initiated that month, though probably not that night. Frederick Leigh Gardner, who became a friend of the Durands, was initiated in March 1894.
THIS BIG UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2020...
...is entirely due to Ted Harwood of northern California, a descendant of Theodosia Durand’s first cousin. He has sent me b/m/d information, newspaper clippings and passenger lists that he’s been putting together over these past few months when so many of us have been trapped indoors by covid-19. As a result, the biographies of James and Theodosia are hugely longer, much more detailed and much, much better. So many thanks to Ted for all his hard work, finding and scanning the items in the first place and bearing patiently with me when I started raising queries on some of them!
There are now other files, mostly on Theodosia, at these sub-headings on my GD index page:
- the Moore family and Theodosia as an artist
- Theodosia: life-by-dates 1914 to spring 1926
- Theodosia: life-by-dates 1927 to 1949.
If there is more information on the Durands out there, it will be in France, Italy, Egypt, México, maybe Turkey, possibly places even further-flung. This is what Ted Harwood and I know of the Durands without undertaking all that travel, always expensive and in these pandemic days, nigh-on impossible.
JAMES AND THEODOSIA IN THE GD
If you wanted to do actual, practical magic in the Order of the Golden Dawn, you had to me a member of its inner, 2nd Order. To get that far, initiates had to follow a wide-ranging study programme and take a series of exams. Part way through this demanding process, the Durands moved to Paris and joined the GD’s Ahathoor temple there, which was headed by one of the GD’s founders, Samuel Mathers. Both the Durands received the second initiation and joined the GD’s 2nd Order in Paris in 1895.
Many years after the Durands had ceased to be active members of the GD, Theodosia Durand gave a talk in which she named William Butler Yeats, Florence Farr and George Bernard Shaw as particular friends of hers in the 1890s. Yeats and Florence Farr were members of the GD before the Durands were initiated; and for long after they left it. Farr and Yeats were close friends for many years. Within the GD they didn’t always see eye to eye but they collaborated on projects both inside and outside it, in the 1890s and afterwards.
There’s a bit more on Yeats below, in the section on the artists’ colony. Florence Farr had trained as an actress and was one of the GD’s most dramatic ritualists. While the Durands were living in England, she was researching the work that was published in 1896 as Egyptian Magic. If they visited her at home, they will have seen the paintings she had done in the British Museum, of Egyptian gods and goddesses. She spent a lot of time in the BM’s reading room and galleries, examining manuscripts in hieroglyphs and studying talismans and other magical objects from ancient Egypt. On one occasion in 1895 Florence had a mystical experience in the BM in which she communicated with an entity she understood to be an Ancient Egyptian skilled in magic.
George Bernard Shaw was friendly with many GD members although he was never a member himself. It’s not known how much Florence told him about the GD but he did know of its existence, and Florence’s membership of it was something they argued about. He thought she had it in her to be a great actress if only she would work at it more; he wrote the part of Blanche Sartorius in Widowers’ Houses for her (1892) and probably would have written other roles for her if she’d shown more enthusiasm. She was more interested in her magical studies than in making the effort that was needed to get more work in the theatre. Her membership of the GD out-lasted the period of closeness in which Shaw was trying to press on her the role later taken up by Mrs Patrick Campbell, though they did remain friends.
Theodosia also said that she knew Maud Gonne. Maud was introduced to the GD by Yeats and was initiated in November 1891. She doesn’t seem to have taken any real or sustained interest in it, and was declared to be a member no longer, in December 1894. The Durands are more likely to have known Maud in France, as she lived there more than in England during the 1890s.
Perhaps the Durands’ curiosity about the occult was set off by reading Helena Petrovna Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled. In the GD they would have been able to take that interest further: a PhD thesis by Jennifer Rachel Hallett shows just how immersed in Ancient Egyptian theology and iconography the GD’s rituals were. Much of Florence Farr’s work on Egyptian magic was in the hope of reconstructing its practices, to make the Order’s rituals as authentic as they could be. Ancient Egypt also informed the GD members’ understanding of other experiences they had as members: for example, in 1892, Florence Farr and GD member Lina Rowan Hamilton shared a vision in which they saw things that they interpreted as Ancient Egyptian spirits. Although many gods were referenced in the GD, the duo of Isis/Nepththys and Osiris was favoured, particularly by Samuel and Moina Mathers at the GD’s Paris temple. The Durands had left Europe by the time the Mathers performed their Rites of Isis in public in 1899, but they had probably taken their part in earlier versions of them at the Ahathoor Temple. Her period in the GD inspired Theodosia with a life-long interest in Ancient Egyptian wall-paintings, and she later went to Egypt to study them.
Although many GD members made friendships that lasted beyond their years in the Order, most initiates joined because of the chances offered them to study and practice magic: the friendships were just a bonus. The ability to predict and therefore to control the future – both their own and on a wider scale – was something all members seem to have wanted, in an increasingly fast-moving and uncertain world. The GD taught astrology; tarot; scrying with a mirror, and other techniques of clairvoyance.
James Durand used both astrology and tarot to try to predict future events. He seems to have lacked confidence in his own abilities, though: he asked Samuel Mathers to interpret astrological charts for him so many times that in the end he got embarrassed, and turned to other GD members. In 1895 James was faced with a difficult decision. He cast a horary chart to see what to do about it, but couldn’t understand what the chart was telling him. So he wrote to Frederick Leigh Gardner, enclosing the chart and asking Gardner what he made of it. He also went to Samuel Mathers’ wife Mina and asked her to do a tarot reading on the decision. For more on what was causing James Durand such concern, see the ‘family’ section below.
The Durands’ friend, the German author Max Dauthendey, said of them that they regarded their trip to Europe as necessary for their spiritual as well as their artistic well-being: you can see their initiation as GD members as a part of that learning experience. However, in their enthusiasm for the GD and what it had to teach, they were not always discreet. They told Dauthendey of the Order’s existence, though they didn’t tell him its name. Dauthendey wondered whether to apply to join the Order himself. When he and the Durands were in Paris in 1896, the Durands did take him to meet Samuel and Mina Mathers at one of the Mathers’ Sunday ‘at homes’. However, the Durands felt that Dauthendey was too sceptical of things occult to be acceptable to the GD’s hierarchy. Dauthendey’s biographer says that Dauthendey soon lost interest in the Kabbalah and numerology that the Durands were teaching him. There is no record that he was ever initiated into the GD.
In 1897 the Durands left Paris and went to México. They were not active members of the Order, at least for the next few years.
Sources for the GD section:
For the Durands as members of the Ahathoor Temple: R A Gilbert The Golden Dawn Companion p39. Their original initiations in London: p152.
For Mary Eliza Haweis, see ODNB volume 25 p873. The Durands may have known some of her books:
1877 The Art of Beauty
1879 The Art of Dress
1881, reprinted 1889 The Art of Decoration
1882 Beautiful Houses.
Theodosia’s talk on her friends in the GD: seen by me at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection; [Santa Rosa] Oak Leaf volume 8 number 11 issued 8 December 1933 p1: Mme Durand Presents Lecture.
Yeats: plenty of sources but I’ve found the Collected Letters particularly good.
Volume 1 1865-1895. Editors John Kelly, Eric Domville. Clarendon Press 1986.
Volume 11 1896-1900. Editors John Kelly, Warwick Gould, Deirdre Toomey.
Oxford University Press 1997.
Yeats and Women edited by Deirdre Toomey. 2nd edition Macmillan Press 1997.
Jennifer Rachel Hallett’s PhD: available online at //research-information.bristol.ac.uk. Paganism in England 1885-1914: particularly pp 190-199. Department of Historical Studies University of Bristol 2006. Hallett’s supervisior was Ronald Hutton.
Beware her wikipedia page: it says she played Rebecca West in the first English production of Ibsen’s Rosmersholm. She didn’t.
The paintings: Yeats’ Autobiographies pp81-82.
Egyptian Magic by SSDD (the initials of Florence’s GD motto). London: Theosophical Publishing Society 1896.
There’s a biography of Florence though it focuses on her theatre work more than her GD membership: Florence Farr: Bernard Shaw’s New Woman by Josephine Johnson. Colin Smythe 1975. See p73 for the part of Blanche Sartorius.
The 1892 visions shared with Lina Rowan Hamilton: the two women wrote an account of what they had seen, which was issued to GD members as Flying Roll 4.
Florence’s meeting with the Egyptian adept in the British Museum: Hallett’s PhD p194. Her source is Yeats’s Golden Dawn pp221-23 where there’s a quotation from a letter written by Florence Farr to GD member John William Brodie-Innes, on 17 January 1901.
Rites of Isis: see the wikipedia page of Moina Mathers and there’s a photograph of her in the dress and regalia she wore for the 1899 public ritual.
Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology. On p1 the introduction to the edition published 1972 by the Theosophical Publishing House says that the first edition was published in New York by J W Bouton in September 1877.
Maud Gonne in the GD:
R A Gilbert’s The Golden Dawn Companion p147 for her initiation, and the date at which William Wynn Westcott – the GD’s administrator at that time – noted that she was no longer a member under the ‘three years without subscription’ rule.
The records of the GD’s Ahathoor Temple in Paris have not survived. Though there is a list of the initiates, it’s not possible now to know how long any of them remained active members.
THE ARTISTS’ COLONY
This section is based on the reminiscences of two men who knew the Durands in the mid-1890s but were writing of that time at least 15 years later. Reminiscers’ memories can be faulty and they definitely were, about some things, in this case; but they are nearly all we’ve got for how the Durands were at the centre of a group which hoped to set up an intentional community of artist-farmers.
I think I should say here, in the text, that a lot of the research I would have done on this period in the Durands’ lives had been done already when I began the 2020 update; by Günther Schmigalle while preparing an article for Yeats Annual on the influence of the 1897 Manifesto on Yeat’s Inishfree.
The route to the artists’ colony began early in 1894, when the Durands met Max Dauthendey in London. He was staying at a boarding house at 24 Upper Woburn Place, near Euston Station, and so, perhaps, were they. Dauthendey remembered James Durand as a New Yorker, a grandson of the founder of Tiffany and Co, and wanting to be a sculptor; and Theodosia as from San Francisco and wanting to be an artist. He himself was wanting to be a writer and he had had a novel, Josa Gerth, published in Germany in 1893.
The Durands and Dauthendey became friends, and the Durands introduced him to William Butler Yeats. Dauthendey remembered them all going to the first night of a play by Yeats at Drury Lane. That’s not quite correct; for example, I think Dauthendey was remembering the play as having been performed in the internationally-known Theatre Royal Drury Lane. What they did actually go to see was a performance, possibly the first performance, of Yeats’ Land of Heart’s Desire, at the rather less glamorous Avenue Theatre, in March 1894.
In 1895 the Durands went to Paris, the ideal place for a couple to pursue a training in art while also being involved in the occult world. Initially they rented some rooms at Rue Boissonade, Boulevard Raspail, before moving to 156 avenue de Suffren by the end of 1896. Dauthendey in due course arrived in Paris too, in February 1896. Later in the year he married the Swedish sculptor Anna or Annie Johansson, apparently with money James Durand had given him; and all four of them began to discuss how to form a colony of artists. By the end of the year they had produced a Manifesto for such a colony, to be published in magazines likely to be read by the kind of creative people who would be keen to join it. James Durand was the person those people were to write to, if they wanted further information; and he may have been the person who wrote most of the Manifesto. On an occasion remembered by Yeats many years later, he was the person who read it to Yeats, as the two of them sat at a table in a Paris café with Theodosia Durand, Max Dauthendey, possibly Annie Dauthendey, and August Strindberg; though Yeats didn’t name the Durands, he’d probably forgotten who they were.
According to the Manifesto, the community’s members-cum-residents would live on land bought for the purpose, growing their own food but having plenty of time to work as painters, sculptors, poets - anything creative. All members of the community were going to be equal - except (I have to say) for the servants that the creative men and women were going to bring with them to do their housework and childcare for them while they worked on the land and at their art.
The Manifesto was published in French in the magazine La Plume; and in English in the Boston-based magazine The Arena. It was sent to a magazine in Germany though I’m not clear as to whether it was actually published there. However, problems had already arisen between the Durands and the Dauthendeys over where the colonists should settle. The four of them argued about it, apparently without involving any other would-be colonists in the debate; and without any consideration of whether the colonists would actually be welcome in the country of their choice. Geneva was mooted, but discarded. James Durand’s suggestion that they should buy land in South Carolina was vetoed by Dauthendey, who didn’t want to live in the United States. Eventually, they found a country they thought might work for all four of them: México. Responses to the publication of the Manifesto were positive, at least to start with; and in the spring of 1897 the Durands and the Dauthendeys set out to see what México was like.
The two couples travelled separately, and the Dauthendeys arrived in México before the Durands. By the time they met up with the Durands in México City as they had planned, Max Dauthendey had realised he would never be able to write the kind of German poetry he wanted to in México’s hot climate. The Dauthendeys had also, it seems, given up on the artists’ colony idea. They went back to Europe. The two couples don’t seem to have met again, perhaps having parted in an atmosphere of recrimination.
The Durands had gone to México by way of the United States, probably with the idea of raising money, or at least being put in touch with people of wealth and influence in México. They arrived with a letter of introduction to President Porfirio Díaz. They did meet him but nothing seems to have come of it; and as far as any researcher has been able to ascertain, the artists’ colony never became a reality.
Günther Schmigalle suggests that the plans of the Durands and the Dauthendeys for an intentional community of people living at least a partly communal life had been influenced by the Brooke Farm experiment, which ran from 1841 to 1847 in West Roxbury near Boston Massachusetts. I think Schmigalle was thinking that the Durands would have read about Brooke Farm; he may not have known that there was a GD member who had been a part of the community there for a few months. Anna Blackwell lived at Brooke Farm during 1845, before moving to Paris to begin her career as a newspaper columnist, writer and translator. Her translations included works by Charles Fourier (1772-1837) whose ideas of concern for others, co-operation and equal rights had influenced how Brooke Farm worked; and works by the French spiritist known as Allan Kardec. She was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn in 1892, by which time she was living with her sister Dr Elizabeth Blackwell in Hastings. She was a member of the Isis-Urania temple throughout the period in which the Durands found out about it and joined it in England in 1893; they were still playing a part in its internal affairs in late 1896. So the Durands could have had personal reminiscences of life at Brooke Farm from Anna. However, they did not actually have any need to ask Anna for her memories of a failed attempt at a communal life from more than forty years before. Theodosia Durand had grown up in Sonoma County northern California, where she will have heard about the estate owned by The Brotherhood of the Inner Life.
The land at Fountain Grove, just outside Santa Rosa, had been bought by Thomas Lake Harris and his followers in 1875. The Brotherhood of the Inner Life was Harris’ third attempt at setting up a spiritually-based rural community: the first, in Virginia in the 1850s, had only lasted two years; but Harris had learned from his mistakes when he tried again in Armenia, New York state, and that second community had already lasted longer when Harris and a small sub-group decided to move to California. Brooke Farm community had struggled to pay its way throughout its existence, but Harris’ communities set up businesses to ensure that the bills could be paid and the community’s members could live comfortably: Armenia had a bank and a flour mill as well as its farms; and Theodosia Moore will have known Fountain Grove as a large, prosperous vineyard.
Thomas Lake Harris had begun his life as a Baptist preacher but had abandoned orthodox Christianity, firstly for spiritualism and the mystical teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg; and later for a life as a messianic poet and mystic, writing descriptions of visits to other planets and other dimensions that he had made in visions and transcendental states. He was regarded by his followers as rather more than human and did, late in life, claim to have discovered the secret of human immortality. He was no ascetic: the luxurious furnishings of the main house at Fountain Grove surprised its visitors; and he was married three times. His writings advocated a relationship of equality between a man and woman as partners in the search for a transcendental spirituality. The writings could be taken in two ways: as mystical symbolism; or as advocating the use of sex between a man and a woman in reaching alternative states of consciousness; and now we get to the GD, where some of Harris’ works were known in the mid-1890s. They created controversy amongst the members, who were in general rather conservative in their social outlook.
Three of the GD’s members in the 1890s are known to have been followers of Thomas Lake Harris and The Brotherhood of the Inner Life. They all knew Harris personally, though none of them ever spent anything more than a few weeks living at any of the Brotherhood’s communities. The two men of the three, at least, had been involved in occultism for many years; and all three joined the GD in 1889, very early in its existence. Charles William Pearce had worked in the wine and spirits trade all his life. By the 1890s he was running his own business at 206 West George Street Glasgow and 19 King’s Arms Yard in the City of London, and had an exclusive contract with The Brotherhood of the Inner Life to sell wines from the Fountain Grove vineyard in the UK. His second wife was Isabella née Duncan, the socialist newspaper writer Lily Bell.
The Durands may not have met the Pearces, who lived in Glasgow and were members of the GD’s temple in Edinburgh, but they will certainly have known Dr Edward William Berridge, whose motto in the GD was Resurgam, but who also wrote and published using the pseudonym Respiro. He was a homoeopathic doctor with a practice in west London. Given Berridge’s character and his seniority in Isis-Urania temple, it wasn’t possible for the Durands to have been members of the GD in the mid-1890s without knowing of Berridge’s views on Harris. Berridge wrote a series of commentaries on Harris’ mystical writings, attempting to interpret them for a lay audience; and was also noisy and confrontational in verbal defence of Harris’ as a man who could lead humanity towards a higher mode of being. In 1897 Berridge was accused by other GD members of using works by Harris to advocate that its Great Rite should involve real sex between the celebrants. Though the Durands had left London by then, I should imagine the noise of that controversy reached them in the Ahathoor temple in Paris. Thomas Lake Harris’ writings, however, were not the point for the artists’ colony’s founders, though: the Brotherhood of the Inner Life at Fountain Grove was an intentional community that had lasted and could pay its way. However, they might also have realised that in order to be successful and lasting, an artists’ colony would probably need to own land. I wonder if they also took on board the understanding that unlike Brooke Farm, and completely against the concept of communality, The Brotherhood of the Inner Life had a leader, whose word its members hung on and whose decisions they either followed without question or rejected, leaving the community altogether; I think that would have been a very thorny issue for the artists’ colony.
Sources for the artists’ colony and the Dauthendeys:
Wikipedia, though the English-language article is very short. If you can read German (I can’t), the German-language wikipedia has a detailed biography.
At www.poemswithoutfrontiers.org there is more information in English.
The British Library catalogue had 75 items with Max Dauthendey’s name on them; but by item 30 there was still nothing published in his lifetime; and nothing by him translated into English. The BL does have a copy of his novel, Josa Gerth, published 1893 by E Pierson’s Verlag of Dresden and Leipzig; though there isn’t a translation into English.
Anna Johansson Dauthendey:
Even less on her. One item: Edvard Munch: the Complete Graphic Works by Munch and Gerd Woll. It’s a catalogue published Philip Wilson 2001. Item 100 is a lithograph by Annie or Anna Dauthendey; 1897. Her dates are given as 1870-1945 and she was a sculptor.
Google came up with several mentions of her in books in German; I think one references was saying she died 1945 in Dresden.
Yeats’ Land of Heart’s Desire: its wikipedia page says that the Avenue Road Theatre performances were the first performances of any play by Yeats. It had a run of six weeks.
The Yeats sources:
The Trembling Veil by W B Yeats. London: privately printed by T Werner Laurie Ltd 1922.
Essays in Honour of Eamonn Cantwell. Yeats Annual number 20, edited by Warwick Gould. Open Book Publications 2016 and you can read it all via google. The relevant article is pp293-335: The Trembling of the Veil Book 4: The Tragic Generation Chap XX by Günther Schmigalle.
This is my source for Yeats’ memories of the Paris café meeting. Yeats doesn’t give a date for the meeting; Schmigalle ties it down to late 1896/very early 1897.
Schmigalle was using the biography of Max Dauthendey by H G Wendt that I’ve listed below. Schmigalle took the trouble to check out various questionable items of information about the Durands in both Yeats’ account and Max Dauthendey’s autobiography. He followed up:
1) whether James Durand was a grandson of the founder of Tiffany and Co, which was how Dauthendey remembered him. Schmigalle found that he couldn’t have been, at least, not legitimately: Charles Lewis Tiffany (1812-1902) had several children; but none of them married someone called Durand. He also checked whether James Durand had ever become the sculptor he was saying in the 1890s that he intended to be; and couldn’t find any evidence that he did.
2) the supposed first night of a Yeats’ play at Drury Lane. Schmigalle couldn’t find any evidence of such an event and suggested that Dauthendey must have meant the Avenue Theatre production I’ve mentioned above, whose date (29 March 1894) fitted in nicely with his time in London. The double-bill performed that night was a very GD affair and if Dauthendey couldn’t remember that a second play had been staged, that was not surprising: he hadn’t gone there to see it, and Todhunter’s A Comedy of Sighs got terrible reviews.
3) the addresses the Durands were living at in Paris.
4) the Sunday ‘at home’ given by a man Dauthendey could only remember as “the last descendant of a Scottish king”. It was easy for Schmigalle to identify him as the GD founder Samuel Mathers and to note that Dauthendey had remembered the venue wrongly: he thought the Durands had taken him to Neuilly, but the Mathers were living in Auteuil.
5) that the Durands were the French American couple Yeats couldn’t put a name to. Workng on his biography, H G Wendt was able to see a letter from Max Dauthendey written in Paris on 3 March 1897 to the Durands, who were then in Atlanta Georgia.
Schmigalle also made the suggestion that James Durand might have hoped that he could get financial backing for the artists’ colony from George W Vanderbilt, grandson of Cornelius, who was building a house in North Carolina in the 1890s.
The Dauthendey source, also used by Schmigalle in his article on Yeats:
Max Dauthendey: Poet-Philosopher by Herman George Wendt. New York: Columbia University Press 1936. In his Preface, Wendt thanked Dauthendey’s widow Annie for her help and for giving him access to original documents. On p109 footnote14 Wendt explains that Max married Anna Johanson (sic) at St Helier, Jersey, the Channel Islands on 6 May 1896. The Durands had married in the same place three years before. The artists’ colony doesn’t figure much in Wendt’s work: pp38-39 footnote 32 is all it gets, based on Dauthendey’s autobiographical Gedankengut aus meinem Wanderjarhren, published in 1913. An English translation can be read at Project Gutenberg’s website, as Thoughts From My Wandering Years.
The Manifesto appeared in The Arena volume XVII pp642-51; and in La Plume volume IX pp10-15.
The magazine The Arena was founded by Benjamin Orange Flower and was published between 1889 and 1909 by the The Arena Publishing Company of Boston. All its issues can be reached via its wikipedia page so you can read the full Appeal for yourself - an interesting document though some members of the colony were clearly going to be more equal than others and it all seems rather impractical to me!
A sceptical assessment of the colony’s chances, from 1897: via www.newspapers.com to The Courier of Lincoln Nebraska; Saturday 24 April 1897 p5. The report states that the Appeal had appeared in The Arena’s issue of March 1897.
A modern mention of the Durands and the colony, probably in connection with Dauthendey though I couldn’t see the context from the snippet:
The Image of Mexico in Germanic Imaginative Literature by Karl W Obrath. PhD Thesis, University of Cincinatti 1975 p178, seen online.
Brooke Farm and The Brotherhood of the Inner Life
At oasis.lib.harvard.edu/oasis/deliver/~sch00050 is a list of the Blackwell collection in the Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute. My information on Anna Blackwell and the Brooke Farm Community is from the introduction to the papers.
See wikipedia for more on Allan Kardec, the professional name of Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail (1804-69) founder of spiritism, that branch of spiritualism that believes it can encompass reincarnation. Spiritism has always been more popular in Europe than in the UK, despite Anna’s translations of Kardec’s major works into English.
For more on Anna see my biography on our web pages: www.wrightanddavis.co.uk.
Edward William Berridge is one GD member I’m not going to do a biography of.
For Berridge’s seniority in the Isis-Urania temple: Gilbert p32 in the list of senior officers during the 1890s. When Isis-Urania’s Imperator, Samuel Mathers, moved to Paris in 1892 he appointed Berridge as his deputy. Berridge remained in that post until 1896.
On how controversial Thomas Lake Harris’ teachings were in the GD. Members of the GD do seem to have been rather conservative in their sexual morals. However, in doing magic – attempting to control natural and supernatural forces and bend them to your will – they had other, more specific, worries about the sex act as part of magical ritual. When Aleister Crowley was refused initiation into the GD’s 2nd order, his friend, GD member Alice Simpson, told him that the decision had been taken because he was advocating “sex intemperance on Lake Harris lines in order to gain magical power”.
Source for that: Crowley’s Abra-Melin Diary, quoted in Ellic Howe (see general Sources below) p223.
Berridge and Charles Pearce:
The Brotherhood of the New Life; an Epitome of the Works and Teachings of Thomas Lake Harris. It’s an overall title for a series of works by Berridge writing as Respiro, designed to be commentaries on Harris’s writings; very few of which he actually finished. But it’s also the actual title of Volume 1 of that series. The British Library has an edition from 1897 which is apparently the 2nd edition; I’ve not seen a first edition anywhere. London: E W Allen of 4 Ave Maria Lane EC. Inside the front cover is a page of advertisements including one for C W Pearce and Co as importers of California wines produced at the Fountaingrove Vineyards, Santa Rosa.
AFTER THE COLONY
The Durands aren’t visible in the usual historical sources for the United States or the UK between mid-1897 and the first World War 1. During the 1920s, Theodosia Durand made remarks to various newspaper reporters about where she had lived during her life. If she gave them any dates, the newspapers didn’t publish them, but she mentioned having lived in Paris (again); near Pompeii; and in Egypt. The list included three years spent in México; perhaps they were the years 1897 to 1900, spent in diminishing hope of setting up the artists’ colony now that the Dauthendeys had abandoned the idea.
For more Theodosia’s life as an artist and cultural commentator, see the separate files on her.
JAMES MADISON DURAND
He is a very elusive character! Ted Harwood and I are quite confident that he was a member of the Durand family of Newark New Jersey, descendants of French Huguenots. Tracking down the right man was difficult, though, because the two forenames ‘james madison’ were used quite often in the family; and if we’ve identified the right person, he seems to have been known as James and then as Madison at different times in his life.
The James Madison Durand who was a member of the GD in the mid-1890s was a grandson of the James Madison Durand 1813-95 who was a partner in Newark’s silversmithing firm Baldwin and Durand from 1845-52; the founder (in 1838) of jewellery-makers Durand and Co; and a business partner in the firm of Tiffany and Co of New York. Official documents from later in the GD member’s life state that he was born on 22 March 1870 in Newark New Jersey. He appears on the US Censuses in 1870 and 1880, in Newark, living with his parents Henry, who worked as a jewellery designer, and Charlotte; and an older sister, Lottie.
James Durand born 1870 was still living in Newark in 1885. It’s likely that there was a job for the asking for him, in one of the Durand family’s jewellery and watch-making businesses, but the future GD member had other, grander, plans. He left the United States in search of art and spiritual enlightenment, either in 1890 (the year he later remembered) or 1891 (for which there is ‘passenger list’ evidence). The ‘passenger list’ evidence shows James and Theodosia Durand sailed from New York to Liverpool in July 1891. They travelled as a married couple; though they did not go through an official ceremony until 1893.
Max Dauthendey remembered the James Madison Durand he knew in the 1890s as a grandson of the founder of Tiffany’s; who was hoping – perhaps expecting – to inherit something from him. But it was James Madison Durand, founder of Durand and Co, that his grandson the GD member was hoping to inherit from. James Madison Durand founder of Durand and Co died in August 1895. Probate on his Will was granted without any problems a few weeks later. The Will left everything to his wife Hattie Virginia for her lifetime; on her death the estate was to be divided between their three surviving children. At the beginning of 1896 a grandson, also called James Madison Durand, started a legal challenge to the granting of probate. A newspaper report on the case described the challenger as an artist who was then living in Paris; he must be the GD member, with Dauthendey getting his American jewellers mixed-up, looking back at the 1890s from just before the first World War.
The GD’s James Madison Durand was not so absolutely sure he would win the legal case he eventually brought: which is why, in September and October 1895, he was doing horoscopes and asking other GD members to predict the future for him. Gardner’s reading of a horary chart Durand sent him didn’t give a firm indication as to whether his case would be successful. Mina Mathers’ tarot reading suggested Durand would win the case but not gain anything much from his victory. Refusing to be put off, James Durand instructed his lawyers; but no more was heard of the challenge in the papers, after it was mentioned in March 1896. I presume it failed, and that James Durand the GD member had to continue to live on the rents of three houses in New York, that Dauthendey remembered were his main income when he knew him (and made him more comfortably off than Dauthendey himself).
Günther Schmigalle, the author of the article on The Trembling Veil, investigated whether the James Madison Durand who was a GD member ever became an artist or sculptor. He couldn’t find any evidence of it. I checked online in August 2020 in case some confirming information had emerged since Schmigalle’s article was published. There was still nothing; but as the great paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I’ve found evidence even in my own research projects of men and women working as artists completely beneath the radar of the usual art historical sources.
His wife Theodosia and friend Max Dauthendey both said he was a sculptor; in 1914 he himself told officials at the US Embassy he was a professional artist. So why is James Madison Durand the artist or sculptor so difficult to find?
Firstly: the ‘usual art historical sources’ are – with exceptions – not online. The English ones, for example, are kept at the libraries you would expect to find them in – the V&A and the British Library - and you have to go there to use them. I have done this, for the GD members who are artists. I didn’t find the Durands in any of the sources for the major English, Scottish or Irish galleries, for the second reason:
Secondly: the Durands worked as artists in France. They will have exhibited there because that was where their potential buyers were. The sources for French exhibitions are, for the most part, in France; even if I knew which galleries the Durands regularly used, several weeks in France checking their lists of exhibitors is beyond my means. I might not find anything in any case. Some of the catalogues of the most famous French exhibition space – the Paris Salon – have now made it to the web; but I couldn’t find either of the Durands in the ones that can be seen online.
If they exhibited regularly, it must have been at other galleries; less well-known with less prestige attached to being chosen.
Thirdly, and back to the evidence from my own research: if James Madison Durand designed and made small figurines, perhaps for a particular factory or shop, he might not exhibit them but he would make some kind of living from them and be entitled to call himself an artist or sculptor. Another possibility is that he painted pieces of china that had already been fired. Such work was usually done at home, rather than at the china factory. It was often not credited to the artist at all; or credited via a monogram only, making it difficult to research. GD member Kate Broomhead’s husband William Rowe was employed for that purpose by the Royal Doulton factory. And – from my other great research project – Helen Charlotte Louis worked as a painter of porcelain until she married John Edward Norris, brother of Henry George Norris.
I have to say that I’ve found no evidence for how James Madison Durand made a living as an artist and/or sculptor; unfortunately. Perhaps the most important thing is that he and his wife and his friend consistently described him as doing so, at least until the first World War. After that – if Ted Harwood has identified the right person – it seems that James Madison Durand’s interests went in a different direction. I couldn’t find much evidence of that either, except of the most elliptical kind, based on the passport application I mention below.
The Durands disappear from view in México in 1897. Although I’ve speculated that they might have spent 1897 to 1900 in México, they don’t reappear in any sources I could find until 1905, when they were back in Paris and Theodosia’s mother, Annie Mastin Moore, came to visit them. Theodosia mentioned that she at least had spent time living in Italy and Egypt; she didn’t give any dates for those periods but I think they will have been after 1900. However, in March 1914 the Durands were living in Paris again, and had probably been there for some years. Theodosia mentioned having had a studio at 65 boulevard Arago, Paris, for six years; though she didn’t say which six years. And by 1914 James Madison had let his passport lapse.
In March 1914 James Madison Durand went to the US Consulate to apply for some paperwork to prove he was an American citizen. This may have been part of a process of needing to move on from the past: the following month, Theodosia returned to the United States, on her own; and in 1915, she began divorce proceedings against James in the courts in San Francisco, citing ‘wilful neglect’. James didn’t appear to answer a court Summons – possibly didn’t even know it had been issued – but Theodosia got her divorce anyway, in 1918.
On 30 July 1914, with the first World War breaking out on every side, James Madison Durand went to the US Embassy in Paris to apply for an emergency passport so that he could travel to Turkey. Maybe he was thinking of studying Islamic tile-work there. How and where he spent the war is a mystery, but by 1920 he may have been back in the US. A man called Madison Durand – not James Madison Durand or even James Durand – died in New York on 26 December 1920 and was buried in Rosedale Cemetery. He was aged 50 and the son of Henry Durand and Charlotte née Bragno. He had been living at 318 Hicks Street in Brooklyn; and was described on the death registration as white; divorced; and a retired orientalist. Despite being not quite happy about the name on the dead man’s death registration, I agree with Ted Harwood that he was probably the GD member.
I couldn’t help noticing that James Madison Durand had a strange after-life in his ex-wife’s interviews with newspapers. In the 1920s and 1930s Theodosia often spoke to the Press about her art and other activities. She never mentioned that she was divorced, she always told the Press and (for example) officials collecting census details that she was a widow. And at various different times in the 1920s and 1930s, Theodosia told friendly reporters: that she had not returned to live in the United States until after her husband had died; that he had died in Paris; that he was French; and that he had been a member of a “fine family” - by which I think she was hoping to imply he was haute bourgeoisie if not aristocratic. All of which was quite untrue! She also mentioned him once as “dear departed”; which I presume she meant ironically.
Sources for the Durand family of New Jersey and New York:
American Spoons, Souvenir and Historical by Dorothy T Rainwater and Donna H Felger: p386 says the Durand family in US are descended from a Dr Jean Durand, a Huguenot who was born in La Rochelle in 1667. They also give a date for the founding of the firm Durand and Co: 1838.
There’s an exhaustive book of Durand genealogy (583 pages!) by Dr Alvy Ray Smith, founder of Pixar Animation Studies, who’s a descendant of one of them, John Durand of Derby Connecticut. See //alvyray.com/Durand/Final_Fall_Newsletter_Durand_Hedden.pdf which is the issue November/December 2003 volume 22 number 1 of the Durand-Hedden House and Garden Association. This book, based on family papers, establishes that the artist Asher Brown Durand, member of the Hudson River school, was also a member of the family.
At www.durandhedden.org there is information on the Durand House in Maplewood New Jersey; posted June 2020. It was lived in by Henry and Electa Durand, parents of the James Madison Durand of Durand and Co, and then by that James Madison Durand himself. Henry Durand had the skills that were typical of the family: he made jewellery, silverware and watch crystals, and was a good musician.
An article on Cyrus Durand, seen at archive.org in The Illustrated Magazine of Art volume 3 issue of 1 January 1854: pp267-270 indicates another expertise the Durands had: he was an engraver, specialising in bank-notes.
For information on the place of the Durand family businesses in the wider history of jewellery making in Newark, see Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society volume 62 1944. At eragem.com there is information on an exhibition of Newark’s jewellery, with reference to Tiffany and Co setting up a branch of their silver department in Newark in 1896.
Sources for the GD member who at least in the 1890s was calling himself James Madison Durand:
Date and place of birth: see below, the official documents from 1914.
Via Familysearch to the NARA US census entries 1870 and 1880 for ward 9, Essex, in Newark New Jersey. New Jersey census records 1885.
Passenger list July 1891 seen by Ted Harwood.
Death of the man who was probably the GD member’s grandfather:
Via Familysearch to the New York City Muncipal Deaths; Ref ID cn28030 GS film number 1322899: James Madison Durand died in the Westminster Hotel 16th Street New York City on 9 August 1895; aged 82. Born in the United States, father named Henry. Male. White. Married. Jewellery manufacturer. Findagrave index says he was buried 12 August 1895 at Newark New Jersey.
The challenge to the Will: New York Tribune 25 March 1896 p16: clipping seen at www.newspapers.com and sent by Ted Harwood 26 August 2020.
Essays in Honour of Eamonn Cantwell. Yeats Annual number 20, editor Warwick Gould. Open Book Publications 2016 and you can read it all at google though without page numbers. Article is pp293-335: The Trembling of the Veil Book 4: The Tragic Generation Chapter XX by Günther Schmigalle.
Painters of porcelain: see our web pages at www.wrightanddavis.co.uk and follow the links:
- to my biography of GD member Kate Broomhead Rowe;
- in my work on Henry George Norris, go down to the section ‘Henry Norris as an Employer’ and take the sub-heading Football: Finances. John Norris worked for Henry George Norris at Arsenal Football Club.
Two official records from 1914, found online by Ted Harwood:
1) Certificate of Registration of American Citizen, issued by the American Consulate-General in Paris to James Madison Durand born 22 March 1870 Newark New Jersey. Issued 3 March 1914 and would expire on 4 March 1915. The next of kin on the form was not Theodosia but a cousin, Wallace Durand, who worked for Durand and Co.
2) Emergency Passport number 389 issued to James Madison Durand on 30 July 1914 by the US Embassy in Paris. Applicant had left the United States in 1890 and was “temporarily sojourning” in Paris. Document confirms the DOB of 22 March 1870.
Passenger list 8 April 1914 for the Olympia, sailing from Southampton to New York. Married woman Theodosia Durand, travelling alone, was on the list, giving as her contact address Durand and Co, 49-51 Franklin Street Newark New Jersey. Seen by Ted Harwood.
Theodosia’s divorce petition: two snippets from San Francisco newspapers seen at www.newspapers.com by Ted Harwood: Summons issued to James Madison Durand, 18 November 1915; notice of divorce published 28 June 1918. Theodosia’s cousin, San Francisco attorney Randolph V Whiting, was acting for her.
Death probably of the man who was born in 1870: details sent by Ted Harwood. Seen via Familysearch at New York City Municipal Deaths 1795-1949. Certificate number cn33223, the death registration of Madison (no James) Durand of 318 Hicks Street Brooklyn.
James Madison Durand’s after-life:
Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper cutting sent by Ted Harwood September 2020; undated but probably 1930.
Seen at //cdnc.ucr.edu the California Digital Newspaper Collection: [Santa Rosa] Oak Leaf volume 8 number 11 issued 8 December 1933 p1.
Newspaper cutting headed “Madam Durand Back in Paris”. Sent in an email by Ted Harwood September 2020 though without the title of the newspaper. It’s not dated either but other evidence indicates it was published in 1930.
BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.
Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.
For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.
Family history: freebmd; ancestry.co.uk (census and probate); findmypast.co.uk; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families; thepeerage.com; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.
Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.
Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.
Catalogues: British Library; Freemasons’ Library.
Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.
Copyright SALLY DAVIS
6 December 2020
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