photograph from de Laurence entry on Wikipedia
De Laurence (1868-1936) was born in Ohio and moved to Chicago as a hypnotist around 1900. He began publishing books, mainly pirated versions of existing books on magic and "Hindu mysticism." He did write a few books of his own, namely The Master Key which is available online in its entirety at this location on archive.org.
De Laurence founded two orders: The Order of the White Willow (which apparently consisted entirely of women, whose initiation involved being weighed in the nude ) and the Order of the Black Rose. A disgruntled worker filed a claim against him, leading to the mail fraud charges that I previously posted about.
According to Carolyn Morrow Long's book Spiritual Merchants: Religion, Magic and Commerce, the beating was a result of Williams's being lecherous toward female employees. Long states that much of what we know regarding Laurence today is due to his testimony in this case.
The Chicago Examiner, November 27, 1915
"Why, all book dealers sell books on magic."