John A. Weisse

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Dr. John Adam Weisse was a French-American physician and philologist, who served as Vice President of the Theosophical Society in 1877-1880 along with Alexander Wilder under Abner Doubleday.

Personal life and education

John Adam Weisse was born December 3, 1810, in Ropperville, Lorraine, France. "He was graduated in classics and natural sciences at the college in Bitsche, and in chemistry and philosophy at the seminary in Metz, and subsequently became professor of French in the Imperial School in Vienna."[1] In 1840 he emigrated to the United States, and for eight years resided in Boston, publishing his Key to the French Language. He married Jane L. Hunt in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1841, and they had at least three children during the Boston years.[2] Then he spent 1949-1850 in Brussels, earning his medical degree before returning to settle in New York.

Dr. Weisse died on January 12, 1888 in New York City.[3]


Dr. Weisse moved to New York around 1850, where he practiced medicine. In 1852 he became a naturalized citizen.[4] After retiring, he pursued his interests in philology and archaeology, serving as president of the New York Philological Society. He was interested in freemasonry and ancient Egypt, and was responsible for bringing some Egyptian antiquities to the New York Historical Society.[5]

Theosophical Society involvement

Dr. Weisse frequented Madame Blavatsky's salon in the early days. He was admitted as a member of the Theosophical Society in 1877.[6]

He served as a Vice President of the Society from 1877-1880, along with Alexander Wilder. When Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott left for India, as Abner Doubleday wrote:

It was arranged that for the time being meetings of the society would be dispensed with and all business would be managed by a council, consisting of Doubleday, Wilder, Weisse & Curtis (The newspaper reporter) Judge was corresponding secrt. and Maynard Treas.[7]


Dr. Weisse contributed articles to The Spiritual Telegraph and probably to other early spiritualist periodicals.

  • Key to the French Language. Boston, 1848.
  • Origin, Progress, and Destiny of the English Language and Literature. New York, 1873.
  • The Obelisk and Freemasonry According to the Discoveries of Belzoni and Commander Gorringe, (New York: J. W. Bouton, 1880), 174. Available at Internet Archive..


  1. Weisse, John Adam" Appleton's Cyclopedia Volume VI, 423.
  2. Massachusetts Town & Vital Records, 1620-1888.
  3. "John Adam Weisse," Encyclopedia of American Biography, 1800-1902. Page 990.
  4. U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992. August 9, 1852.
  5. John Adam Weisse, The Obelisk and Freemasonry According to the Discoveries of Belzoni and Commander Gorringe, (New York: J. W> Bouton, 1880), 174. Available at Internet Archive.
  6. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at See book 1, entry 132 (website file: 1A/13).
  7. [Kirby van Mater, "Historical Perspective" on website. Quoting report sent to Elliott Coues by Abner Doubleday (undated, but probably written in 1885).