Jerome A. Anderson

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Dr. Jerome A. Anderson

Dr. Jerome A. Anderson (1847-1903) was a prominent American member of the original Theosophical Society, and later of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society. He was the editor of The New Californian from 1891-1894 and The Pacific Theosophist from November 1891-1898.

According to historian W. Michael Ashcraft:

He was a member of the Pacific Coast Committee and perhaps the most important name among California Theosophists in the 1890s. Anderson grew up in Kansas and served in the Civil War. A schoolteacher, he moved to California and earned a medical degree. His spiritual journey was just as varied. his family was Presbyterian, but he left that church and became a Universalist, then an agnostic, and while investigating Spiritualistic phenomena heard about Theosophy through Judge and The Path. Anderson later opposed Tingley's Point Loma community, accusing early Point Loma residents of scandalous activities and fearing the centralization of efforts in one locale depleted resources elsewhere. But he left an indelible mark on California Theosophists, helping to lay the groundwork for what became the Point Loma enterprise.[1]

Personal life

Jerome August (or Augustus) Anderson was born on July 26, 1847 in Indiana, but grew up in Kansas. He may have worked as a school teacher in Neosho Falls, Kansas in 1870.[2]

According to an 1896 biographical sketch:

Dr. Anderson was a remarkable child. He could read at the age of four, and enlisted in the United States cavalry at the age of sixteen. Though self-educated, he passed without preparation an examination, including a course of twenty-seven studies, of the California public school system, and got a percentage of 96. He was graduated from the Medical College in Ohio, and completed his education in the Medical department of the University of California. He is president of the alumni association of his department of the university, and is a fellow of the San Francisco Gynecological Society and many other medical associations.[3]

In 1873 he was graduated as an allopathic physician from the Toland Medical College in San Francisco [now University of California School of Medicine].[4] He stayed in San Francisco, setting up a practice as physician and surgeon.

Dr. Anderson married around 1882; His wife Levina [Watkins or Vrice] immigrated from England in 1880. The had three daughters.[5]

He died in San Francisco on December 25, 1903 at the age of 56.[6]

Theosophical Society activities

Anderson became a member of the Theosophical Society on April 10, 1887, giving an address in San Francisco as 4 Odd Fellows Building.[7] Newer membership records in Adyar indicate that he joined the Theosophical Society on March 19, 1902, but that date reflects changes in recordkeeping following the 1895 split in the American Section.

He joined William Quan Judge, Annie Besant, Jirah Dewey Buck, Claude Falls Wright, and other prominent Theosophists as a speaker at the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago, 1893. He was president of the San Francisco TS, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Theosophical Society in America under William Quan Judge.


  • Septenary Man, or the Microcosm of the Macrocosm. San Francisco: Lotus Publishing Co., 1895. Available at Blavatsky Archives website.
  • Reincarnation.

Additional resources

  • Dr. Anderson's drawings of fetal development are in the pamphlet section of the Boris de Zirkoff Papers, Records Series 25, Theosophical Society in America Archives.


  1. W. Michael Ashcraft, The Dawn of the New Cycle: Point Loma Theosophists and American Culture (Knoxville:University of Tennessee Press, 2002), 54.
  2. US Census, 1870.
  3. "Led By an 'Adept'." New York Herald (April 19, 1896), 6.
  4. Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929.
  5. US Census, 1900.
  6. San Francisco Area, California, Funeral Home Records, 1850-1931.
  7. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 4161 (website file: 1B/34).