Henry J. Billing

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Henry J. Billing (1842-1885; sometimes designated as Harry or Billings) an English surgeon and an early member of the Theosophical Society. He was the husband of Mrs. Mary Hollis Billing or Hollis-Billing).

Personal life

Henry James Billing was born on April 24, 1842 in London to Henry and Martha Billing.[1][2] Billing was a surgeon trained at the Guy's Hospital, London. He took a course at the Central University in Louisville, Kentucky during 1874-75, and that may be where he met his future wife, then Mrs. Mary Hollis.[3] They seem to have married around 1877, but no records are available for a divorce and marriage.

Apart from some time spent in France, he seems to spent most of his adult life in London. He was a Freemason in the United Grand Lodge of England from 1863-1887. On Oct 19, 1878 he was initiated into the Lewis Lodge of Wood Green.[4] According to the London Gazette, he and a merchant named George Cruikshank Pulford may have been awarded a patent for "improvements in means of signalling on board ship."[5]

He died October 28, 1885 in London.[6] Mary then moved back to New York to live with her daughter Helene Goldsmith.

Theosophical Society involvement

Henry Billing was an early member of the Theosophical Society. When Baron de Palm passed away in 1876, Billing took his place in the Council of the Society.

Dr. Billing was the husband of Mrs. Mary Hollis Billing, the famous American medium. Both were involved in organizing the London Lodge in 1879.

When H. P. Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott stopped in England en route to India in 1879, they stayed at the Billing home. Dr. Billing was elected vice president of the London Lodge on January 5, 1879.


  1. James Henry Billing in the England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.
  2. Henry J. Billing in the 1881 England Census.
  3. 1875 U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935.
  4. England, United Grand Lodge of England Freemason Membership Registers, 1751-1921.
  5. The London Gazette (November 8, 1878), 5950.
  6. Henry James Billing in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995.