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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke—Father of the New Age

This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig on February 01, 2011
posted under Father of the New Age

The New Age has been defined as the "Name for a movement covering a wide variety of practices that were alternative to traditional Western practices, although many have become normative. Included concepts are holistic thinking, mysticism, environmental issues, non-traditional spiritual systems." If that's what it is, how did it manifest? 

There are several people who have written books that have been called a trigger for starting this New Age. Years ago I described Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, current Chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, as the "Father of the New Age" even though, at the time, he hadn't written a book. I think that title is still valid and I want to explain why.

First, however, I have to set the stage. World War II had ended. The result was an amazing number of new births, the so-called Baby Boom. The middle class in the US had expanded and an increasing number of people were receiving higher education. As the "Boomers" became adults, they were looking for new directions and new purpose in their lives. They were ready for something new. They wanted a new age for the world. The 1960s began and John F. Kennedy was elected president. We had the Peace Corps. We were going to go to the Moon. Sure, there were problems, but nothing was impossible for the new generation.

At the beginning of this decade a gentleman from Minnesota, Carl Weschcke, purchased a small publishing company known as Llewellyn. At the time, the "publishing company" only had a few titles and was basically a print shop in Culver City, California (just a few miles from where I was raised). I still remember seeing the neon sign, "Read the Moon Sign Book," that advertised its one popular title. (Today that sign is rusting in the back yard of the Bodhi Tree Bookstore in West Hollywood, California.) Weschcke brought all the titles and rights back to his Minnesota home.

So what did Weschcke do to earn his title?

In short, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke has been responsible for making so many topics that were once considered "occult" part of the mainstream. The books he has published have been part of virtually every development of what has come to be called the New Age. Some authors from other publishers may have achieved more notoriety than Llewellyn authors, but without the interest created by Llewellyn, under the guidance of Carl Weschcke, it is likely that they would have never been published.

It is for all these reasons, and more, that I believe Carl Llewellyn Wesckcke is the Father of the New Age.


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