Elizabeth Pepper DaCosta (1923-2005) was a prominent figure in the world of publishing, best known as the editor and publisher of The Witches’ Almanac, which she established in 1971. The company, based in Newport, Rhode Island, specialized in producing an annual almanac and a range of related books. Pepper was also an accomplished graphic designer.

Born on November 7, 1923, in Providence, Pepper pursued her education at Pembroke College (Brown University) and the Rhode Island School of Design. Post-graduation, she moved to New York City, where she furthered her studies in type design under notable mentors like Arnold Bank, Howard Trafton, and Freeman Craw. She lived in Greenwich Village, a hub for artists in the 1950s, and spent summers in Provincetown and Fire Island. In the mid-1960s, Elizabeth and her husband Martin Da Costa settled in Walker Valley, New York, before returning to Newport, Rhode Island, in the mid-1970s.

Professionally, Pepper made her mark as the first female art director of Gourmet Magazine, serving from 1956 to 1963. She worked in the Plaza Hotel’s penthouse, an environment rich in creativity and style. However, she is most renowned for her work with The Witches’ Almanac, a unique publication blending occult, astrology, folklore, and more, reflecting her lifelong interest in these areas. In her personal life, Elizabeth was deeply influenced by her mother and an aunt, both tarot readers, who fostered her fascination with the occult. She was married to Martin Da Costa, a sculptor and World War II veteran. Her home was always filled with pets, and she was surrounded by close friends during her last year. Elizabeth Pepper DaCosta’s legacy in the fields of publishing and the occult remains influential.

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