Elizabeth Pepper da Costa

 
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Elizabeth remembered...

Readers sometimes inquire about our colleague and mentor, the late Elizabeth Pepper, who still seems to hover over our enterprise. Elizabeth was the publisher, executive editor and graphics designer of The Witches' Almanac as well as a number of related books. She had a formidable knowledge of the occult, both as an avid reader and longtime practitioner, and was highly regarded by the Craft community.

A longtime Newport, Rhode Island resident, Elizabeth was born in Providence and was a graduate of Pembroke College, Brown University, and the Rhode Island School of Design. After college she moved to New York, studied advanced type design, and became the Art Director of Gourmet magazine for seven years during the fifties. At that time Elizabeth married Martin Da Costa of Philadelphia. The marriage was a particularly felicitous union, loving and mutually respectful According to Elizabeth’s wish, their ashes have been merged and cast into the sea from an excellent boat at a small private ceremony.

The couple were animal lovers, and dogs and cats in varying numbers were regular residents of their Manhattan home. Martin was an excellent sculptor and painter. His subjects were animals, sculpted and gilded or perceived in meticulously drawn detail much in the style of the medieval artists Elizabeth venerated and featured in the Almanac. She was one of the few remaining artists working with etchings, and her classic press has been donated to the Newport His­torical Society.

In 1971 John Wilcock, an English journalist friend, aided her in publishing The Witches’ Almanac. John was one of the co-founders of The Village Voice, and for some years ran a lively column within its pages. Now a California resident, he has been a close friend and contributor down the years. John Wilcock changed her life, Elizabeth often said – the Almanac was doubtless her true calling, and she worked zealously every day, year in and year out, on the annual and the related book publications.

Elizabeth’s impact on friends was notable. She was an incomparable source of wisdom dispensed in an unassuming manner, and we relied on her sweetness of character, affection and humor to enrich our lives. Staff and regular contributors, close friends all, tended to remain constant through the years. A visit with Elizabeth was a pleasure, tea and charm at the ready.

Elizabeth wished for the work to continue, and she has passed along The Witches’ Almanac, Ltd., to her longtime friend and managing editor, Theitic. He is committed to maintaining the quality of the Almanac and other publications, and brings to the table his own talents and affinity for the company. All members of the staff and regular contri­butors are still on board, dedicated to keeping alive the unique spirit of the company.