The Library

Welcome to the Library.  Here you will find a collection of old excerpts from articles, folklore journals, books, and other writing about the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition of the American South.  The works are all in the public domain, and all relate to the folklore, superstitions, and traditions of the American South.  The subjects will be a far ranging as the superstitions of the slave populations of Georgia to accounts of the the lives of notable conjure doctors to popular fortune telling.  All the sources are from the late 19th to early 20th century, contemporary with the heyday of hoodoo.  There was an interest at the time in preserving the folklore of the rural Black population before urbanisation destroyed many of the popular superstitions.  There was also an upsurge in the number of publication about hoodoo and about magical subjects marketed to the Black population due to the rise of the hoodoo mail order companies in the early 20th century.   We hope you enjoy this small collection, which will give you some insights into the traditions we carry on today.



Advertisement for Van Van Oil

Famous Products Co., Chicago, Illinois
Published early 1940s

A WWII era catalogue or newspaper advertisement for Van Van Oil, with transcribed text and commentary by Kiwi Mojo.


The Last of the Voudoos

Hearn, Lafcadio
Published in Harper’s Weekly, November 7th, 1885

A short biography of the life of Jean Montanet, a prominent conjure man in 19th Century New Orleans


Mr Nathaniel Lewis on Conjure: An Extract from Drums and Shadows

Granger, Mary: heading the Georgia Writers Project
Published 1940, University of Georgia Press

An interview with Mr Nathaniel Lewis of Tin City, Georgia.  Some early 20th Century photographs of Tin City added by Kiwi Mojo for illustration an context.


New Orleans Superstitions

Hearn, Lafcadio
Publlished in Harper’s Weekly, December 25th, 1886

A small collection of ‘Voudoo’ superstitions and practices: in reality a mixture of folklore snippets, folk magic, and information about frizzy chickens.


Ole Sis Goose: An Extract from Brazos Bottom Philosophy

Eddins, A. W.
Published 1923 in Coffee in the Gourd: a journal of the Texas Folklore Society

An old ‘Preacher Tale’ collected from the Brazos Bottom area: the area between the Brazos and Little Brazos rivers in Texas.  A metaphor for the justice system.


Playing Card Fortune Telling: An Excerpt from Kentucky Superstitions

Thomas, Daniel Lindsey Ph.D. and Thomas, Lucy Blayney M.A.
Published 1920, Princeton University Press

The meanings of playing cards in fortune telling, as recorded in late 19th Century Kentucky.



Adding to the Collection

If you have any copies of old folklore pertaining to the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition, old advertising copy, old articles, booklets, biographies, etc: we would love to archive them if they are in the public domain.  Please email if you have something you’d like to contribute to the collection.