The Book of Halloween by Ruth Edna Kelley


The Book of Halloween

The Book of Halloween (1919) gives the reader an account of the origin and history of Halloween and how it absorbed customs belonging to other days in the year, such as May Day, Midsummer, and Christmas.

Author Ruth Edna Kelly intensely researched the subject blending history, folklore and mythology. The origins of Halloween are traced back to sun worship, Celtic religion, the Pomona festival and the Christian All Saints Day. Links are given with Teutonic witchcraft and Walpurgis Night. Special Halloween omens are discussed as well as the different ways this holiday was celebrated in Ireland, England and Man, Brittany and France, Scotland and the Hebrides, Wales and America.

The time in which she produced this book was a special one in history, as it was in the early twentieth century and the classic picture of the witch as an old ugly hag, underwent a transformation in the midst of the rise of feminism.


About the author

Ruth Edna Kelley (8 April 1893 – 4 March 1982) was an American librarian and author. Kelley was born in Massachusetts, the only child of Charles F. Kelley, a carpenter, and his wife Mary. She grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts, and received a master of arts degree. The Book of Hallowe’en was Kelly’s first book. Her second book, A Life of Their Own (1947), dealt with immortality and spirituality. She died in Marblehead, Massachusetts at the age of 88.

Read more about Ruth Edna Kelley in the Post Scriptum of The Book of Halloween.