James Allen (1864 – 1912)
An intro to James Allen
James Allen was a theologian, anthropologist, theodicist, philosophical writer and poet. He wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the ability of explaining these subjects in a way that is easy to understand. His writings are often considered part of the New Thought Movement and can be classified as self-help, inspirational, religious, spiritual, and motivational. He speaks often of cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief.
He was born on November 28th, 1864 in Leicester, England. At the age of 15, Allen’s father moved to America where, shortly after moving, his fathered died. Some reports say that his father was killed, other reports claim that his father fell ill. After his father’s death, Allen went to work to help support his family.
He was greatly influenced by ‘The Light of Asia’ by Sir Edwin Arnold and began putting his own thoughts on paper after reading it. He later moved to Broad Park Avenue, Ilfracombe, England.
Allen married his wife, Lily Louisa Oram on May 22nd, 1895. He was 29, she was 25. Lily was born on December 30th, 1867. She was also a writer and later took over publishing Allen’s works. They had one daughter, Nora Lily, born on September 10th in 1896. They were both devoted vegetarians.
In 1902, Allen founded a magazine called The Light of Reason. This was later changed to The Epoch. The magazine included articles from Allen himself and other inspiration writings from similar authors of the time. Allen also had groups in various towns that would meet and discuss topics that he often wrote about.
Writings from members of the ‘Light or Reason Readers’ groups often appeared in the magazine. The magazine was also used to communicate the goings on between the widespread groups. At the end of each edition of the magazine was a short piece about the meetings of each group.
Some of Allen’s favorite writings, and those he quoted often, include the works of Shakespeare, Milton, Emerson, the Bible, Buddha, Whitman, Trine, and Lao-Tzu.
James Allen died on January 24th, 1912 survived by his wife and daughter.