William Walker Atkinson

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William Walker Atkinson

William Walker Atkinson (1862-1935) is best known for authorship of The Kybalion and numerous works on Yoga Philosophy, New Thought, mental powers, and Theosophical topics.

Occasionally he is confused with William J. Atkinson, a doctor from Missouri who wrote for occult periodicals. At times the name Elias Gewurz was thought to be one of Atkinson's pseudonyms, but in reality Gewurz was a Polish immigrant who published books about Kabbalah through Atkinson's Yogi Publishing Society in Chicago.

Personal life

Atkinson was born in Baltimore on December 5, 1862 to William C. Atkinson and his wife Emma Lyal Mittnacht Atkinson, who later had a daughter Elma.[1][2] His father and grandfather were successful merchants, owning grocery stores; they were engaged in civic activities such as the school board, fire department, and Whig political party. As a teenager William Jr. worked as a clerk in the grocery.[3]

In October 1889 he married Margaret Foster Black (1871-1950) of Beverly, New Jersey. Their first son, Joseph, was born in 1891 and died within a few months. A second son, William Courtney Atkinson, was born in 1894 and lived until 1984.

Atkinson studied law in Pennsylvania and passed the bar exam in 1894.

He died on November 22, 1932 in Pasadena, California at age 69.

Involvement with Theosophical Society

As early as 1885, Atkinson corresponded with early Society leaders Thomas Moore Johnson and Elliott B. Page.[4] He became a member of the American Theosophical Society on January 28, 1903, while living in Chicago, according the records of the international Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India.[5] References to Atkinson or any of his known pseudonyms are infrequent in the magazines of the Society, but it is clear that he maintained relationships with individual Theosophists.

New Thought Movement

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Writings

Atkinson was an extremely prolific author, and editor of several magazines, including Suggestion, a New Thought Journal (1900-1901) and New Thought (1901-1905). As the editor of Advanced Thought magazine (1906-1916), he wrote articles under several names. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists an article by Swami Ramacharaka.

Atkinson did not always exhibit originality in his writing; in fact, Marc Demarest has pointed out that in The Art of Expression Atkinson did not only cobble together concepts from 50-year-old texts on the subject of rhetoric, but put together his book "by lifting material, wholesale, from an earlier and more authoritative text: Adams Sherman Hill's The Principles of Rhetoric (1891, 1895)."[6]

Atkinson is believed to have written over 100 books, and several scholars have compiled bibliographies:

The following list is incomplete. but includes the most significant works. He used many pseudonyms in his writings. Titles are listed alphabetically for each author name, unless otherwise noted.

As William Walker Atkinson

  • The Arcane Formulas or Mental Alchemy. Chicago: The Arcane Book Concern, 1909. Available at Hathitrust. "A supplementary volume to The Arcane Teaching."
  • The Art of Expression; Or, The Principles of Discourse. Chicago: The Progress Co., 1910.
  • The Art of Logical Thinking; Or, The Laws of Reasoning. Chicago: The Progress Co, 1909. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.
  • The Crucible of Modern Thought. Chicago: The Progress Company, 1910. Available at Hathitrust. A survey of philosophy, ranging from transcendentalism, Stoicism, and Neo-Platonism to Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions.
  • Dynamic Thought; Or, The Law of Vibrant Energy. Los Angeles: The Segnogram Publishing Company, 1906. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.
  • How to Read Human Nature: Its Inner States and Outer Forms. Holyoke, Mass: Elizabeth Towne Co., 1913, 1916. Available at Project Gutenberg and [Hathitrust.
  • Memory: How to Develop, Train, and Use It. Holyoke, Mass: Elizabeth Towne Co., 1912, 1913, 1919. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.
  • Human Nature: Its Inner States and Outer Forms. Chicago: The Progress Company, 1910. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Inner Consciousness. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1908. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Mind and Body; or, Mental States and Physical Conditions. Chicago: The Progress Company, 1910. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Nuggets of the New Thought: Several Things That Have Helped People. Chicago: Psychic Research Company, 1902. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Practical Mind-Reading. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1908. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.
  • Practical Psychomancy and Crystal Gazing. Chicago: Yoga Publication Society, 1908. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • The Psychology of Salesmanship. Holyoke, Mass: Elizabeth Towne Co., 1916. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Reincarnation and the Law of Karma. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1908. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.
  • The Secret of Success. Chicago Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1908. Available at Hathitrust.
  • A Series of Lessons in Personal Magnetism, psychic influence, thought-force, concentration, will-power and practical mental science. Chicago: University of Psychic Science, 1901. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Telepathy, Its Theory, Facts and Proof. Chicago: New Thought Publishing, 1910. Available at Hathitrust.
Title page from A Course of Advanced Lessons in Clairvoyance and Occult Powers
  • Thought-Culture; Or, Practical Mental Training. Chicago: The Progress Company, 1909. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Thought-Force in Business and Everyday Life; being a series of lessons in personal magnetism, psychic influence, thought-force, concentration, will power, and practical mental science. New York: Sydney Flower, [1903]. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Thought Vibration; or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. Chicago: The New Thought Publishing Co., 1909. Available at Hathitrust. A 1982 edition was annotated by J. T. Thayer.
  • The Will: Its Nature, Power and Development. Chicago: Progress Company, 1909. Available at Hathitrust.
  • Your Mind and How to Use It. Holyoke, Mass.: Elizabeth Towne Co., 1911. Available at Hathitrust.

As Swami Panchadasi

  • A Course of Advanced Lessons in Clairvoyance and Occult Powers. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1916. Available at Hathitrust, Hathitrust, and Hathitrust. 319 pages. Lessons in clairvoyance, distant vision, second sight, astral projection, psychic healing, and similar subjects.
  • The Human Aura: Astral Colors and Thought Forms. Chicago: Yoga Publication Society, 1912. Available at Project Gutenberg.

As Yogi Ramacharaka

  • The Bhagavad Gita or the Message of the Master. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1907. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Hindu-Yogi Science Of Breath. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • Mystic Christianity; Or, The Inner Teachings of the Master. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1908. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga: The Yoga of Wisdom. Available at Project Gutenberg.
  • A Series of Lessons in Mystic Christianity. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1907. Available at Hathitrust.
  • A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga. Chicago: Yogi Publication Society, 1906. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.

As Swami Bhakta Vishita

  • The development of seership : the science of knowing the future : Hindoo and oriental methods : coming events cast their shadows before. Available at Hathitrust. 384 pages.
  • Genuine Mediumship; or, The Invisible Powers. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1919. Available at Project Gutenberg and Hathitrust.

As Theron Q. Dumont

  • Culture of Personality: Art and Science of Personal Magnetism. Volume 1. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1913. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Master Mind; or the key to mental power, development and efficiency. Chicago: Advanced Thought Publishing Co., 1918. Available at Hathitrust.
  • The Power of Concentration. London: L.N. Fowler, [1916]. Available at Hathitrust; 1918 edition.

As Theodore Sheldon

  • Vim Culture. Holyoke : Elizabeth Towne, 1913. On New Thought.

Written with Edward E. Beals

Listed in numerical sequence as published in a series of twelve titles.

  • Personal Power or Your Master Self. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Creative Power or Your Constructive Forces. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Desire Power or Your Energizing Forces. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Faith Power or Your Inspirational Forces. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Will Power or Your Dynamic Forces. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Subconscious Power or Your Secret Forces. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Spiritual Power or the Infinite Fount. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Thought Power or Radio-Mentalism. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Perceptive Power or The Art of Observation. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Reasoning Power or Practical Logic. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Character Power or Positive Individuality. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Regenerative Power or Vital Rejuvenation. Ramsey, NJ: Robert Collier Book Corp., 1922. Available at Internet Archive.

Collections of his works

  • The Wisdom of William Walker Atkinson. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Additional resources

Notes

  1. United States Federal Census, 1870.
  2. Los Angeles County death certificate.
  3. United States Federal Census, 1880.
  4. Elliott B. Page letter to Thomas Moore Johnson, dated November 6, 1886. Quoted in Patrick D. Bowen and K. Paul Johnson, editors, eds. Letters to the Sage: Selected Correspondence of Thomas Moore Johnson Volume One: The Esotericists (Forest Grove, OR: The Typhon Press, 2016), 336.
  5. Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 2, entry 22933 (website file: 2B/79).
  6. "The Mage's Voice: William Walker Atkinson, 1910" in Chasing Down Emma website. October 23, 2012 blog posting.