L. W. de Laurence (full name Lauron William de Laurence) was an American author and publisher on occult and spiritual topics. He was born in 1868 and died on 11 September 1936 in Chicago, Illinois, USA at the age of 68. His publishing company (De Laurence, Scott & Co.) and spiritual supply mail order house was located in Chicago, Illinois.
Although he is mocked and reviled among modern occultists for his plagiarism (or, more properly, book-pirating) of the Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite, he also wrote his own works, including The Master Key, and The Great Book of Hindu Magic. In addition, he is believed to have co-written some books with his fellow Chicago resident, the prolificNew Thought and yoga author William Walker Atkinson.
De Laurence was a pioneer in the business of supplying magical and occult goods by mail order, and his distribution of public domain books, such as Secrets of the Psalms by Godfrey Selig and Pow Wows or the Long-Lost Friend by John George Hohman had a great and lasting effect on the African American urban hoodoo community in the southern United States as well as on the development of Obeah in Jamaica.
In early 1930 he was consecrated a bishop by the Spiritualist Arthur Edward Leighton (1890 to 1963), a bishop of the American Catholic Church (a church body founded by Joseph René Vilatte). One surprising result of de Laurence's consecration was that it helped influence the move of some black spiritualist churches towards a more traditional view of Christianity and in the year of his death, 1936, he may have consecrated the first bishops for these churches, e.g. Thomas B Watson (1898 to 1985) of New Orleans.