Mabel Collins

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Mabel Collins is the name under which Mrs. Keningale Cook published her many writings. She was an English Theosophist, and author of at least 46 books, including Light on the Path, a perennial favorite among Theosophists.

Early life and education

Minna Mabel Collins on September 9, 1851 at St Peters Port, Guernsey. Her parents were Edward James Mortimer Collins, a self-taught poet and journalist, and Susanna Hubbard, a merchant's daughter. When they married, Mortimer was nineteen years younger than his wife, who already had six children. The family moved frequently, as Mortimer repeatedly overspent and landed in debtors' prisons. "By the time she was twelve years old Minna had begun to write romances and verse herself. She had never attended school – what education she had was from her father. Poetry and philosophy formed the main content of her lessons."[1]


Young Minna began a new life when she married Keningale Robert Cook on August 3, 1971 at St. Peters Church in Knowl Hill. He was six years older than she, and was well educated at Rugby and Trinity College in Dublin. He earned several degrees culminating in a Doctorate in Laws in 1875. During the years at Trinity College he was employed by the Post Office dealing with money orders, but by 1875 he had become a stockbroker in London. He published a book of poetry and numerous articles for the magazine Woman. This same magazine began to publish Minna's writings as well. "Almost every issue contained Minna’s or Robert’s writings. They covered a range of subjects but were primarily concerned with education, the role of women and the arts."[2]

HPB and

worked together editing Lucifer

Coues based his charges against HPB on an unsigned and undated note from Mabel Collins which he claimed she sent him in 1885, in response to his inquiry to her concerning the authorship of Light on the Path. See The Theosophical movement, 1875-1950

HPB on Mabel Collins in Light: A Journal of Psychical, Occult, and Mystical Research, Volume 9 - SEE [4]

Writings in periodicals

  • "In the New Forest." The English Illustrated Magazine (June, 1885). Illustrated.
  • "Thoreau: Hermit and Thinker." The Dublin University Magazine (November, 1877).
  • "In a Corner of Bohemia." Tinsley's Magazine, Volume 24-26. Book published serially.
  • "Love Is More Than Life." Home Chimes (1885). Book published serially.


Mabel Collins wrote at least 46 books. These are the English-language titles according to the OCLC Worldcat library union catalog[3], listed here by publication date:

  • An Innocent Sinner; a Psychological Romance. London: Tinsley Bros., 1877. Available online at Google Books.[5]
  • Our Bohemia. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1879.
  • In This World: a Novel. London: Chapman and Hall, 1879. Available online at Google Books.[6]
  • Too Red a Dawn. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1881.
  • Cobwebs. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1882. Also printed with subtitle "Tales."
  • In the Flower of Her Youth. A Novel.. London: F. V. White & Co., 1883. Available online at Google Books.[7]
  • Viola Fanshawe. A novel. London: F. V. White & Co., 1884.
  • The Story of Helena Modjeska, (Madame Chlapowska). London: W. H. Allen, 1883. Second edition, 1885. Available online at Internet Archive in two versions [8][9] and at Google Books.[10]
  • Light on the Path. Subtitle "a treatise written for the personal use of those who are ignorant of the eastern wisdom, and who desire to enter within its influence." (1885). Published in numerous editions and languages.
  • The Prettiest Woman in Warsaw. London: Ward and Downey, 1885. New York: G. Munro, 1886 (and 1887 5th edition). Available online at Google Books.[11]
  • Lord Vanecourt's Daughter. A Novel. London: Ward & Downe, 1885. New York: Harper & Bros., 1886. Cleveland: Arthur Westbrook Co., 1890, 1985.
  • Through the Gates of Gold. London: Ward and Downey, 1887 and Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1887 and numerous other editions. One prominent edition paired it with Dreams by South African feminist Olive Schreiner.
  • The Blossom and the Fruit Subtitle: "a true story of a black magician." London, 1887. Sydney, Australia, 1887. Reprinted New York, J.W. Lovell Co., 1889. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1910. Advertised as "a tale of mystery and adventure." Available online at Internet Archive [12] and Google Books. [13]
  • Ida: an Adventure in Morocco. London: Ward & Downey, 1890. New York : J.W. Lovell, 1890.
  • The Confessions of a Woman. New York: J.W. Lovell, 1890.
  • A debt of honour. New York: Lovell, 1891. London; Sydney, N.S.W.: Eden, Remington & Co., Publishers, 1892.
  • Morial the Mahatma. New York: United States Book Co., 1891. New York, Lovell, Gestefeld & Co. 1892.
  • Suggestion. New York: Lovell, Gestefeld & Co., 1892.
  • Juliet’s Lovers. London: Ward & Downey, 1893. Available online at Internet Archive in three parts.[15][16][17]
  • The Story of the Year. Subtitle: "a record of feasts and ceremonies." London: George Redway, 1895.
  • Green Leaves. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ld., 1895.
  • The Star Sapphire. London, 1896. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1896. London: Anthony Treherne & Co., Ld., 1902.
  • Pleasure and Pain. Subtitle: "an Essay in Practical Occultism Addressed to Readers of 'Light on the Path'". London: Isis Publishing Co., 1896.
  • The Illumined Way. Subtitle: "a Guide to Neophytes, Being a Sequel to 'Light on the Path'". Chicago, Ill.: The Yogi Publication Society, 1800s.
  • When Love Is True, or, The Story of an Heiress. New York: Street & Smith, 1902.
  • The Scroll of the Disembodied Man. London: John M. Watkins, 1904. Written with Helen Bourchier. Available online at Google Books.[18]
  • Fragments of Thought and Life. Subtitle: "being seven essays, and seven fables in illustration of the essays." London: Thesophical Publishing Society, 1908.
  • Outlawed. Subtitle: "A Novel on the Woman Suffrage Question." London: Henry J. Drame, 1908.
  • The Story of Sensa. Subtitle: "An Interpretation of the Idyll of the White Lotus." London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1911. New York: J.W. Lovelle, 1913 and Los Angeles: Theosophical Publishing House, 1913, 1920. Available online at Internet Archive in two versions[20][21] and at Google Books.[22]
  • The Transparent Jewel. London: W. Rider & Son, 1912. On the Aphorisms of Yoga compiled by Patañjali. With the text of Sutras in English, partly in the translation by Manilala Nabhubhai Dvivedi, partly in that by Tukarama Tatya.
  • The Crucible. London: Theosophical Publishing Society, 1914. In September-October 1914, MC wrote her prediction that World War I, which had commenced the previous month, would turn into a crucible for humanity. She wrote of her experiences visiting wounded soldiers, and of talking with members of "Kitchener's Army."
  • Our Glorious Future Subtitle: the Interpretation of "Light on the Path". Edinburgh: Theosophical Book Shop, 1917 (2nd edition).
  • Designers and manufacturers of artistic garden pots, sundials, birds' baths, birds' feeding tables, etc. etc. in red and grey terra cotta. Subtitle: "a treatise written for the personal use of those who are ignorant of the Eastern wisdom and who desire to enterwithin its influence, and An essay on Karma." Compton: Potters' Arts Guild, 1921. With an introduction by C.W.Leadbeater.

Impact of her writings

Light on the Path, Through the Gates of Gold, and Idyll of the White Lotus have been widely read by Theosophists worldwide and translated into numerous languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Slovenian, French, Croatian, Danish, Sanskrit, Swedish, Czech, Norwegian, Finnish, Sindhi, Russian, Polish, Tamil, Italian, Portuguese, Amharic, Japanese, Telegu, and Esperanto.

Idyll of the White Lotus was adapted into a play by Maud Hoffman Sensa, a Mystery Play in Three Acts.[4]


  1. Kim Farnell, "The Many Lives of Mabel Collins," Theosophical History Conference 2003, available at [1].
  2. Kim Farnell, "The Many Lives of Mabel Collins," Theosophical History Conference 2003, available at [2]
  3. OCLC Worldcat online database.[3]
  4. Published in 1950 by Theosophical University Press in Covina, California.

Additional resources