The American Theosophist (periodical)

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Two periodicals have published under the name The American Theosophist by the Theosophical Society in America (or its predecessor the American Theosophical Society, and one independently with the similar name American Theosophist.

American Theosophist - 1908-1909

Cover of 1908 version showing L. W. Rogers..

American Theosophist was published in Albany, New York, by L. W. Rogers from April, 1908 to October, 1909, when it ceased publication. It was intended as a tool for teaching elementary Theosophy, but was discontinued after International President Annie Besant asked Mr. Rogers to refocus his editorial attention on The Theosophic Messenger.

All issues, except Volume I, Number 10, have been scanned and are available free at:

No index has been published for this periodical. Issues are rare, but some have been microfilmed by American Theological Library Association in Chicago. The microfilm is likely to be digitized and made available through EBSCO.

The American Theosophist - 1913-1914

Cover of 1914 version showing Father Time

From 1913-1914, The American Theosophist was published at Krotona colony in Hollywood, California by A. P. Warrington for the American Theosophical Society.

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals[1] provides a searchable index to this periodical online, listing article titles and authors in chronological sequence.

The American Theosophist - 1933-1996

From 1933-1996 , The American Theosophist was published in Wheaton, Illinois by the Theosophical Society in America. It served as the successor to The Theosophical Messenger, and was succeeded by The Quest. During the 1980s, special issues came out quarterly to focus on specific topics. After August 1988, The American Theosophist Special Issues were replaced by the quarterly magazine The Quest designed for sale to the general public, and The American Theosophist continued as a bimonthly members-only journal.

The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals[2] provides a searchable index to this periodical online, listing article titles and authors in chronological sequence.

Contents and departments

Articles on Theosophy and related topics filled about half of each issue. Most were written by members, but reprints and some original articles by nonmembers also appeared. Plans for and reports of conventions and seminars were featured prominently. One issue each year was devoted to the annual report of the Theosophical Society in America, with financial statements.

Departments varied over the years, but generally included such titles as:

  • Viewpoint (president's column)
  • Future Events
  • News and Notes
  • Branch Activities
  • Ideas from Branches
  • Book Reviews
  • Letters to the Editor


Color was used only in the covers of the magazine, which featured photos or art linked to the season or to a theme in the issue. Photos, diagrams and art were scattered throughout the pages. For many years the back cover had statements on "Universal Brotherhood" and "Freedom of Thought," but beginning in August/September 1982, they were replaced with "The Theosophical World-View".