Samuel Ward

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"Uncle Sam" in Vanity Fair, January 1880.

Samuel Cutler Ward (January 27, 1814 — May 19, 1884), often referred to as "Uncle Sam," was a lobbyist, diplomat, and bon vivant who was present at many gatherings held by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky at the Lamasery.[1] He was famous in his time as the "King of the Lobby" who established a social style of political lobbying over elegant meals.

Theosophical Society involvement

According to Henry Steel Olcott in Old Diary Leaves, Sam Ward sent him a copy of his nephew Francis Marion Crawford's novel Mr. Isaacs,[2] which was mentioned in Mahatma Letter No. 102 and 104.

The Theosophist remarks

The Theosophist published an obituary in July, 1884:

Comparatively late in life, when his mind was attracted by spiritual matters, he threw himself into the subject with that energy and singleness of purpose, which secured his success in other departments of his career, His disinterested endeavours in the cause of Theosophy were of great value. He brought the subject into prominence among the refined and cultivated classes of society, in which he moved; and created a great and wide interest in our cause by a judicious and extensive distribution of Esoteric Buddhism at his own expense. The remarkably cordial greeting given to Col. Olcott in English Society and on the Continent is in some measure due to the exertions of Mr. Ward to smooth the path.[3]

Tribute by William Stainton Moses

M. A. (Oxon) in Light:—

I record, with much sorrow, the death of Sam Ward, the familiar “Uncle Sam” of a very large circle of friends. His genial face and cheery voice will be long and widely missed. The Ргеss of this country has borne testimony to his influence, and to the affectionate respect which he inspired on both sides of the Atlantic. He was cosmopolitan in his tastes and sympathies — a man of the world, in the best sense of that much abused term. But while the public journals have testified to this, they have unaccountably overlooked the fact that Mr. Ward was an old and experienced Spiritualist; and that of late years he had devoted much attention to the Claims of Theosophy, being a member of the London Lodge of the Theosophical Society. It is no secret that he — Uncle Bellingham of the book — inspired “ Mr. Isaacs,” the successful novel of Mr. Marion Crawford. He was, indeed, a diligent Student of the occult in all its phases. The very last time I conversed with him, he spoke much on these matters, and invited me to a seance which he was about to hold at his chambers in Piccadilly. He died at Pegli, after a somewhat long illness; and many friends will join in a sincere and affectionate tribute to the memory of а rare man.[4]

Additional resources

  • Butterfield, Margaret. "Samuel Ward, Alias Carlos Lopez." University of Rochester Library Bulletin 12.2 (Winter, 1957). Available at University of Rochester web page.
  • Crofts, Daniel W. A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and "The Diary of a Public Man." Baton Rouge: Louisiana State university Press, 2010.
  • Elliott, Maud Howe. Uncle Sam Ward and His Circle. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938.
  • Jacob, Kathryn Allamong. King of the Lobby. The Life and Times of Sam Ward. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. Available at Google Books.
  • Thomas, Lately (pseudonym of Robert Steele). Sam Ward "King of the Lobby". Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.
  • Ward, Samuel. Lyrical Recreations. New York: D. Appleton, Boston, 1865.
  • Ward, Samuel. Sam Ward in the Gold Rush. (edited by Carvel Collins) Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1949.


  1. "Theosophy in New York: Facts about Mme. Blavatsky, Her Powers, and Her Religion." The World (New York), Vol. XXVII, September 12, 1886, p. 13. Available at Blavatsky Archives website.
  2. Henry Steel Olcott. Old Diary Leaves, Second Series (1878-1883), p. 394. Available online at Theosophical Society in the Philippines Online Books.
  3. "Death of Mr. Samuel Ward" Supplement to The Theosophist August 1.8 (July, 1884), 115.
  4. Light article of unknown date, as quoted in "Death of Mr. Samuel Ward" Supplement to The Theosophist August 1.8 (July, 1884), 115.