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Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond

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The New Thought Bulletin

Published by the International New Thought Alliance

General Headquarters, 1713 K Street, N. W.


Vol. 27 No. 1        Washington, D. C.        January, 1944

"The History of New Thought"

The purely spiritual message of Jesus Christ began to be clouded over as the years passed and those who had known him personally disappeared. Early in the 4th century Christianity was made an established and subsidized church by Constantine, and after that the Spiritual Idea rapidly faded out. As the centuries passed, the Spiritual Idea would emerge from time to time here or there among small groups of people (of which the 17th century Quakers are probably the most notable) but it was not until modern New Thought appeared a hundred years ago in New England that the Spiritual Idea became fairly wide-spread in the world. This is really the Second Coming of the Christ prophesied by Jesus himself.

Like all significant movements it came into the race mind through several different channels at about the same time. No one person can be said to have "originated" it. Emerson may be regarded as the prophet of the movement. Phineas Parkhurst Quimby did practical healing in Portland, Maine, and taught several students who afterwards went out and spread the teaching in different ways. The New England Transcendentalist Movement was really part of the same current of thought, and included in addition to Emerson himself, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Thoreau, Theodore Parker and others.

New Thought as such has always been a practical movement and has stood for healing, and in this respect gradually separated itself from those who were primarily concerned with philosophical speculation.

Doubtless, it was, in part, a reaction to the terrible Calvinism which had gripped New England for so long.

What we call New Thought is, of course, only the primitive New Testament teaching restated in modern form. It is essentially a Back-to-Jesus movement.

In the 1880's there were several independent leaders teaching New Thought. One of these, Mrs. Emma Curtis Hopkins, had a genius for inspiring teachers. She might be called the teacher's teacher. About 1886 she held a class of 15 or 20 people in Chicago and most of these students went out and started a movement of some kind for spreading the Truth. Several of today's well known organizations spring from that class.

New Thought or Christian metaphysics was taken to England in the late 80's by two or three people who had studied with Mrs. Hopkins, or independently. The best known was Frances Lord who wrote a text book that had considerable vogue in its day. Since that time there have always been several metaphysical centers in London. The best known has been the old Higher Thought Center which began in the late 90's in Kensington and is still continuing under the name of New Thought at 6 Henrietta Place, Cavendish Square. Miss Alice Callow, the original secretary, still lives in London and continues her interest in the movement. Judge Troward joined this center on his return from India, and delivered some of his lectures there.

The New Thought movement does not seem to have been influenced in any way by the other churches. Its approach to God is radically different. On the other hand, all the orthodox churches have been influenced to a greater or lesser extent by New Thought. New Thought ideas have been appearing more and more in sermons and religious books during the last forty years. Gradually, and almost unconsciously it has helped to wear down the old theology in its various forms, and today we find New Thought ideas (although not so designated) in religious writings of every kind. They also turn up regularly in newspaper editorials and political speeches. New Thought books are actually used in the pulpits of a number of orthodox churches today with credit being honorably given.

This kind of infiltration is the way in which the New Thought movement has chiefly influenced the world. The number of people calling themselves New Thoughters has always been comparatively small, but their indirect influence has been correspondingly large.

New Thought Centers have been most successful when the teachings has been kept strictly on the Christ lines, extraneous subjects being excluded, and where, in consequence, good healing work has been done. One good healing in a Center brings more converts then a hundred sermons.


Dr. Fox is the Pastor of the Church of the Healing Christ, New York City, which holds its Sunday and Wednesday services in the Manhattan Opera House. Dr. Fox is also a member of the Executive Board of the I.N.T.A.



Ella Pomeroy, Brooklyn, Chairman
Eleanor Mel, Boston
Ida Jane Ayres, Washington, D. C.
Elmer Gifford, Milwaukee
Emma J. Henderson, Texas
Daisy May Beckett, California


Fletcher Harding, St. Louis, Chairman
Emma M. Smiley, Victoria, B. C.
Erma W. Wells, Spokane
Ervin Seale, New York City
Lavinia Wyatt Garns, Minneapolis
Gladys Leight, Rochester, N.Y.
Maebel V. Carrell, Louisville
Florence E. Frisbie, Washington


Thomas Brindley, Boston, Chairman
Elizabeth Carrick-Cook, San Francisco
Florence E. Frisbie, Washington


Elizabeth Carrick-Cook, San Francisco
Harry Granison Hill, Cincinnati
Eleanor Mel, Boston
Ruth E. Chew, Calgary, Canada
Maebel V. Carrell, Louisville
Ervin Seale, New York City


Paul LaPrade, Providence, Chairman
Maude Allison Lathem, Los Angeles
James Dodds, Portland, Ore.
Amelia Randall, Minneapolis
Nona Brooks, Denver
Virginia Neuhausel, Washington, D. C.


Rev. Ruth Chew, Calgary, Canada,
Nona Brooks, Denver
Eleanor Mel, Boston
Paul LaPrade, Providence
Emma Smiley, Victoria, B.C.
Virginia Neuhausel, Washington, D.C.


Dr. John Seaman Garns, Chairman
Florence E. Frisbie, Washington, D.C.
Ruth Chew, Calgary, Canada
Louie White, Tulsa


Dr. James E. Dodds, Chairman
Florrie Beal Clark, Oklahoma City
Maude Allison Latham, Los Angeles
Maebel V. Carrell, Louisville


Ernest Holmes, Chairman
Brown Landone, Winter Park, Fla.
Elmer Gifford, Milwaukee
Irwin Gregg, Denver
Ervin Seale, New York City
Erma Wells, Spokane
Ruth Chew, Calgary, Canada
Lavinia Wyatt Garns, Minneapolis

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