“Here, then, is a host of material of the greatest interest and fascination waiting to be discovered. But the probability is that most of it has vanished beyond recall. However, perhaps there is some slight hope.” (Fr. Brocard Sewell, “The Manuscripts of Montague Summers” [pdf](1970))
There is more than hope, there is certainty. I have been exploring and cataloguing the archives of Montague Summers, thought to be lost in the 1950s. Father Sewell wrote an interesting article (pdf) in 1970 in The Antigonish Review about the loss of the collection and what might be contained within it. Having rediscovered its location, scholar Gerard O’Sullivan wrote a new artical in the Antigonish, The Manuscripts of Montague Summers, Revisited. He and I had been following each other on Twitter for some time and one thing led to another and the archive is now with me.
He was a colorful figure, writing on witchcraft, vampires, and werewolves, in which he claimed to believe. From an occult standpoint, he is probably best known for publishing the first translation of the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), the 15th century treatise on witch-hunting. He has seen a surge of popular support in recent years for his Vampire, His Kith and Kin. This last because Stephenie Meyer appears to be fond of him and quotes him, now and again, in her Twilight books. He also wrote on black magic, the Dark Mass, and such. Though a member of the clergy (RC), his writings (and some alleged personal activities)…and his long friendship with Aleister Crowley-cast a shadow over aspects of his life.
He also wrote extensively on the histories of Restoration dramas, studies of the gothic novel, fiction, and a variety of essays (including a gem on Poe). The archive includes handwritten and typed manuscripts of both published and unpublished works and dozens and dozens of letters.