Joseph H. Fussell

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Dr. Joseph Hall Fussell was an English Theosophist who served as a secretary to William Quan Judge and his successor, Katherine Tingley. Fussell lived for many years in the Point Loma community.

Early years

Fussell was born September 16, 1863 in Basford, Nottinghamshire, England. On August 19, 1890 he arrived in the United States, and on August, 6, 1904 became a naturalized citizen.[1] In 1893 his older brother Alexander, an language teacher, followed him to the United States. By 1910 his 91-year-old father, an artist also named Joseph, had joined his younger son in Point Loma. According to a New York Times obituary, Dr. Fussell "taught for a year in a private school at Savannah, Ga. From 1891 to 1892 he was a private tutor in New Jersey and New York city."[2]

Theosophical Society involvement

While still in New York, Fussell served as private secretary to William Quan Judge, from 1893 until WQJ's death. Afterward he became secretary to Katherine Tingley, and continued in that role until 1929, the year she died. In 1929 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Theosophy at the Theosophical University in Point Loma.[3]


Fussell was a freemason, and wrote a book More Light - A Study of Theosophy and Freemasonry. He wrote:

My own interest in Freemasonry dates back to 1890 and my interest in Theosophy to the same year. Within two or three weeks after landing at New York from England, I metWilliam Q. Judge, Co-founder with Madame Blavatsky of The Theosophical Society and her Successor as Leader and Teacher in the same.

Very soon afterwards, I went to Savannah, Georgia, receiving form Mr. Judge an introduction to Dr. R. J. Nunn, a Fellow of The Theosophical Society, and, as I soon learned, also a great student of Freemasonry. He was, in fact, Sovereign Grand Inspector-General 33° for Georgia. He and I very soon became very close friends, although I was a young man of about twenty-seven and he over seventy. During the eight months or so that I was in Savannah, I had the great privilege of meeting with him every Saturday evening and of discussing with him Theosophy and Freemasonry. He was a personal friend of Albert Pike and he told me many interesting things about him.[4]

Later years

Mr. Fussell died on May 7, 1942 in San Diego.[5]



Fussell wrote articles for The Path, The Theosophical Form, and other journals. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 43 articles under the name Joseph H Fussell and 20 under the name JH Fussell. These are mostly in The Theosophical Forum and The Path.

Several articles give Fussell's viewpoint on Mrs. Tingley's claim that William Quan Judge appointed her as his successor in his diary:

Other articles available online:

  • "The Significance of Easter", Sunrise (April/May 1999). Available at

Books and pamphlets

  • Incidents in the History of the Theosophical Movement. Aryan Theosophical Press, 1915. 24 pages. It is available at Internet Archive and Hathitrust. Translated into several languages.
  • Mrs. Besant's Policy. "San Diego News" Press, 1914. 22 pages.
  • Mrs. Annie Besant and the Moral Code: a Protest. Point Loma, San Diego, California: 1909. 15 pages. Introduction by Kenneth Morris. Available at Hathitrust, Internet Archive,
  • The School of Antiquity: Its Meaning, Purpose, and Scope. Point Loma, San Diego, California: Aryan Philosophical Press, 1917.
  • Some Reasons Why the Members of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society Do Not Endorse Mrs. Besant nor the Society of Which She Is President. San Diego: San Diego News Press, 1914. 19 pages.
  • Unofficial. No student of Theosophy, Knowing the Pure Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky ... But Will Be Pained Beyond Expression .... Point Loma, San Diego, California: 1909. 11 pages.
  • Theosophy and Occultism.
  • More Light - A Study of Theosophy and Freemasonry.

Additional resources

  • Ashcraft, W. Michael. The Dawn of the New Cycle: Point Loma Theosophists and American Culture. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2002.
  • Greenwalt, Emmett A. California Utopia: Point Loma: 1897-1942 2nd revised edition San Diego, CA: Point Loma Publications, 1978.
  • Fussell, Joseph Hall in Theosophy World.


  1. U.S. Naturalization papers. August 6, 1904. Superior Court of California in San Diego.
  2. "Dr. Joseph H. Fussell," New York Times obituary, 1942. The Associate Press item was attributed to San Diego, California on May 8.
  3. "Dr. Joseph H. Fussell," New York Times obituary, 1942.
  4. Joseph E. Fussell letter to Mr. R. Ruckstell. April 24, 1930. Boris de Zirkoff Papers. Records Series 22. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
  5. California Death Index, 1940-1997.