EMMA PEALE

Cosmic Medicinarian and
Founder, Society for Nebulous Knowledge

In 1893, a young Emma Peale had just earned her chemist's license when she accidentally
discovered that the potions, intoxicants and remedies she created could be made more or less powerful by their amalgamation with the cycles...

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Cosmic Mediciniarian and Founder Emma Peale

In 1893, a young Emma Peale had just earned her chemist’s license when she accidentally discovered that the potions, intoxicants and remedies she created could be made more or less powerful by their amalgamation with the cycles of the moon and trajectories of the planets. Intrigued by her discovery, she conducted nightly experiments, working tirelessly to perfect each potion in her Cosmic Medicinary.

While some questioned her methods, she healed thousands. She also managed to amass considerable wealth from her cosmic concoctions and, with these reserves, began gathering work that was similarly influenced by astronomical and metaphysical concerns.

She consulted her great uncle, the famous Charles Wilson Peale, founder of America’s first natural history museum, about her collection. At first encouraging her interest in the natural world, his response was less than sympathetic when Emma announced that she intended to collect works “influenced by the cosmos yet unencumbered by scientific purpose.”

Undaunted, she continued her collection of chronicles and works born of celestial influences and today, it is known as the Permanent Collection of the Society for Nebulous Knowledge. The Society continues to seek out and document chronicles that offer the more open interpretation of the natural world that Miss Emma Peale envisioned.

  • Emma Peale: Cosmic Medicinarian and Founder of the Society for Nebulous Knowledge,
    display from the Historical Archives, includes Tincture of the Moon, her signature spiritual tonic.

  • Eclipsing Tonic (To Be Taken On One's Birthday, Erases the Previous Year's Unwanted Memories)
    One of Peale's best-selling potions. Impossible to replicate, the formula is kept at the Archives.

  • A selection of the few remaining artifacts from Emma Peale's estate
    was displayed at the Littman Gallery in Portland, Oregon in 2004.

  • The Artist In His Museum, a self-portrait by Charles Wilson Peale, (American, 1741-1827),
    founder of America's first natural history museum and Miss Emma Peale's great uncle.

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