John W. Lovell

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John Wurtele Lovell (1851-1932) was an early Theosophist among the Founders of the Theosophical Society in New York City. He wrote:

It was in September, 1875, that I first heard of the proposal to start the Theosophical Society. I was living at that time at Rouses Point in the Northern part of New York State, where I had a large printing office and book manufactory, doing work for publishers in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Amongst these was the firm of J. Sabin & Sons, who published a small magazine I printed for them. This was edited by Mr. Charles Sotheran, and necessarily I was brought in close relations with him. I must have told him I had become interested in psychic phenomena for, on calling on him on the 23rd day of September, 1875, in connection with the work I was doing for his firm, he told me that he and some of his friends were getting up a Society for the investigation of psychic phenomena to be called the Theosophical Society, and invited me to become a member.

I told him I would be very glad to do so though, living so far away, it was doubtful if I could be present at many of its meetings. On asking about dues, he said that an initiation fee of $5.00 was all that had been decided on. I handed him this for which he gave me the receipt, a facsimile of which appears on page 39 of "The Golden Book of the Theosophical Society" and he said he would have me elected a member at the next meeting, October 8th. At that meeting, I think it was, Col. Olcott had a resolution passed that all those who became members previous to final organization should, with the sixteen who attended the first meeting on September 8th, be considered Founders of the Society. So, in this way, I because one of the Founders, though in later years the name was only used to apply to Col. Olcott, Madam Blavatsky and William Judge." [1]


  1. "John W. Lovell, "Reminiscences of Early Days of the Theosophical Society" The Canadian Theosophist (March to August 1929).