Ethan A. Hitchcock (General)

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Ethan A. Hitchcock

Ethan Allen Hitchcock (born May 18, 1798 in Vergennes , Vermont , † August 5, 1870 Sparta , New York ) was a general in the US Army. After his retirement he devoted himself to collecting alchemical books and wrote the first psychological consideration of the research area. In this he was a forerunner of Herbert Silberer , who prompted Carl Gustav Jung to write his works on alchemy .

Contributions to alchemy and forerunners of Jungian psychology

Ethan Allen Hitchcock, known as the "Pen of the Army," was known to his contemporaries as a scholar and avid reader of philosophical books.

By his death, Hitchcock had collected an extensive private library of philosophical texts, including more than 250 volumes on alchemy. This collection has been widely regarded as one of the finest private holdings of rare alchemical works. It is now in the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St.Louis . In his works on alchemy and the alchemists, as well as in other writings, Hitchcock argued that the alchemists were religious philosophers who expressed their views in symbolic form. Hitchcock was a Rosicrucian and, along with Lincoln, a member of a lodge in Washington, DC

Music collection

The major general also played the flute and put together an extensive collection of music with works for the flute. It was not until the 1960s, almost a hundred years after his death, that the “Sparta Collection” was discovered. The collection of 73 bound volumes and approximately 200 loose manuscripts is currently in the Warren D. Allen Music Library of Florida State University .


  • Remarks upon Alchemy and Alchemists 1857
  • Christ the Spirit 1861
  • The Story of the Red Book of Appin 1863
  • Spenser's Poem 1865
  • Remarks on the Sonnets of Shakespeare 1867
  • Fifty Years in Camp and Field posthumous, 1909
  • A Traveler in Indian Territory : The Journal of Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Late Major-General in the United States Army 1930


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