Chaney’s Primer of Astrology and American Urania; Old Rules Simplified, New Rules Added, with Improved Nomenclature and Numerous Tables Never Before Published by W H Chaney (1890)

First Edition. Rare textbook of astrology written by Jack London’s biological father. In June of 1875, six months before Jack was born, “Professor” Chaney had abandoned his pregnant wife in San Francisco when she refused to submit to an abortion. As a result, Jack’s mother, Flora Wellman Chaney, twice attempted suicide, which events were reported in the San Francisco Chronicle. When in 1897, at the age of 21, Jack’s mother was not forthcoming with answers to his questions about his natural father, Jack began to research his parentage. He stumbled upon the Chronicle stories concerning his mother and her abandonment by William Chaney. Jack subsequently traced Chaney to Chicago and wrote to him. In reply, Chaney vehemently denied Jack’s paternity, in fact he claimed that he had never been legally married to Flora Wellman and that during the time he lived with her he had been impotent. Nevertheless, history, as did Jack himself, accepts William H. Chaney as Jack London’s biological father. Chaney was a nationally-known and respected figure in astrological circles with a career that spanned decades. Chaney’s “Primer” is in itself an important work in the fields of astrology and the occult, being one of the first coherent attempts to popularize astrology in the United States. He authored several other works on astrology.

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