John Storer Cobb

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Dr. John Storer Cobb was present at the founding of the Theosophical Society on September 7, 1875. He served as the first Recording Secretary from October 30, 1875 to 1877, and then Treasurer from 1877-1879.[1]

As historian Josephine Ransom described him:

English barrister and Doctor of Laws. Ex-editor of the New Era Magazine, the organ of the Reformed Jews. Was a leader in the Cremation Movement. He was sent as Presidential Agent, by the Council in New York, to assist in the foundation of the British Theosophical Society of the Arya Samaj of Aryavarta, 1878. He lost interest and disappeared.[2]

Calling Dr. Cobb an English barrister was inaccurate; while he was born in Great Britain, he studied law in the United States. He was Honorary Chairman of the the Cremation Society.

Writings and editorial work

Dr. Cobb was the editor of New Era, a publication for Reformed Jews,[3] and also of a socialist journal, The Nationalist. He also wrote articles for periodicals, and wrote or translated several books:

  • A Quartercentury of Cremation in North America: Being a Report of Progress in the United States and Canada for the Last Quarter of the Nineteenth Century; to which Have Been Added, as an Afterthought, a Few Words about the Advance in Europe During the Same Period. Boston: Knight and Millet, 1901. 189 pages. Available from Google Books and Hathitrust.
  • Anna Steiniger, a Biographical Sketch: In Which Is Contained a Suggestion of the Clark-Steiniger System of Pianoforte Playing. 1886. Available at Hathitrust.


Cobb translated several works from the German language.

  • The Nibelungenlied. Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1906. Mary Cobb, editor. Available from Internet Archive.
  • Reynard the Fox: An Early Apologue of Renown. Boston: Damrell & Upman, 1899. This is a translation from the German by Cobb of a work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Additional resources

  • Herndon, Richard. Men of progress, one thousand biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Boston: New England Magazine, 1896. 1027 pages. Includes an article about John Storer Cobb.
  • Transactions of the New England Cremation Society. Boston: T.W.P. Ripley, 1893. Available at Google Books.
  • "The Nationalist (United States)" at Wikipedia.


  1. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society," The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India:Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 173.
  2. Josephine Ransom, A Short History of The Theosophical Society (Adyar, Madras, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 111.
  3. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society," The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India:Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 173.