Special Collections and Archives Finding Aids
Just before his death in 1918, Jeremiah MacDonald wrote: I was born (May 22, 1859 at 2 p.m.) in (sic) Fiftieth Street, between Third and Lexington Avenues, New York City. The old homestead has been torn down long ago (sic) and rows of tenements now occupy the site. The `old number' of the house was 129, the number of the house which now stands on the spot where I first seen (sic) the light, is Number 151.
My mother (Rebecca Ann Howland), grandmother, and greatgrandmothers for seven generations were also born in New York City. My father (also Jeremiah MacDonald), grandfather, and greatgrandfathers for six generations were all born at old Bull's Ferry on the Hudson River about opposite Seventieth Street, New York. My father's people were of Scotch descent. My mother's people originally came from France, but married in (sic) the old Dutch families of New York.
autobiography in: Jeremiah, MacDonald. Secrets of Astrology Revealed. Binghamton, N.Y.: Atlas Printing Co., 1923.
Jeremiah was educated in the city schools, public and private...He began life as a real estate agent in New York City, and continued for several years with offices at 171 Broadway, At last...he entered the Chicago Medical College where he was graduated M.D. in 1893.
ibid. biographical sketch of the MacDonald family.
At the time of his death, Jeremiah had accumulated a number of degrees, some of which he had conferred upon himself for advertising puposes.
1966 taped interview with Mrs. Marion Rury, Jeremiah's granddaughter.
After graduation, Jeremiah practiced medicine first in Detroit, Michigan, then in Middletown, N.Y., and finally in Binghamton, N.Y., where he moved in 1895. At some point, probably while in Detroit, he was affiliated with Saint Lukes Hospital of Niles, Michigan (see document E-4).
In 1897, Jeremiah started selling his Atlas Compound which he made in a small back kitchen
William F. Seward. Binghamton and Broome County, New York: A History. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc., 1923. p.40.
of his Washington Street home. During that same year he started the Atlas Printing Company, which printed and sold his MacDonald's Farmers Almanac.
As the business grew, the building was expanded until in 1923, it occupied 10, 000 square feet at 9-15 Susquehanna Street and 53-55 Washington Street. As of that year, plans were being made to raze the old building and erect a new 25, 000 square foot building on the same site.
(I do not know if the plans were ever carried out.)
Upon Jeremiah's death on June 19, 1918, ownership of the business passed to his wife, Alida Mary MacDonald, and his two sons, Arthur C. and Reuben H. MacDonald. Arthur bought out his mother and brother, and became sole owner of the business in January 1919. Reuben went into the trucking business.
see note 3
Arthur Cleveland MacDonald was born on August 28, 1884, in Fairview, New Jersey. He received his early education in the public schools of Middletown, New York and in the Binghamton graded and high schools, and when his formal school training was completed, found employment in a cigar manufactory in the shipping department, where he remained for about four years. At the end of that time, he became associated with the advertising and shipping department of his father's business, and remained there about five years, then went to Syracuse, New York.
op. cit. (see note 2)
He married Fannie M. Noyes on Sept. 12, 1906. Arthur and his wife lived in Syracuse, where he worked as a waiter at The Kirk Dining Room.
article in the Syracuse, N.Y. Post-Standard (newspaper), Feb. 19, 1919 - `Mac, ' Waiter At Kirk, Falls Heir To $50, 000 Page 7.
Upon his father's death in 1918, Arthur came to Binghamton, and assumed control of the business in January 1919. Soon after, he had a house built at 31-33 Riverside Drive, where he resided for many years.
op. cit. (see note 4)
Under his leadership, the business continued to grow. Although medicine sales decreased in volume, sales of the almanac and other books increased to more than offset the decline. The business peaked around the time of World War Two.
see note 3
Soon after this, the medicines were discontinued. The healing powder was retired in 1954, and all medicine sales were ended by about 1958.
Telephone conversation with Mr. Franklin Rury (current owner of Atlas) on May 8, 1978.
Upon Arthur C. MacDonald's death in late November, 1951, his wife Fannie, and daughter Marion, assumed control of the business. In 1966, Marion and her husband Franklin Rury became the sole owners of the business, which by then was only the Atlas Printing Company.
ibid. (see note 11)
The Atlas Printing Company was started by Dr. Jeremiah MacDonald in 1897, when he published his first almanac. He subsequently wrote and published Secrets of Astrology Revealed and Dr. MacDonald's Dream Book. These three publications were the only things both printed and sold by Atlas.
In addition to the three books he wrote, MacDonald, through Atlas, sold a variety of publications of other companies on different topics in the occult sciences. This practice of retailing other firms' publications continues to this day (1978).
As of May, 1978, the business is still called the Atlas Printing Company, and is located at 327 Water Street, in Binghamton. They currently sell only two of the original three MacDonald publications (the almanac and the Dream Book), and still retail a line of publications of other firms on the occult. (see Miscellaneous Books and Booklets and Appendix 2)