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James Allen

(28 November 1864 – 24 January 1912)

New Thought Author James Allen

About New Thought Author James Allen

James Allen was a British philosophical writer known for his many inspirational books and poetry. He is also well known as an early pioneer of the self-help movement. His most popular book, "As A Man Thinketh" is still in publication today and has become a source of motivation and inspiration to many people and other self-help authors.

James Allen was born in Leicester, England. He was born into a working class family and had two older brothers. His father, William, was a factory knitter; his mother was a homemaker who was unable to read nor write. Following a downturn in the textile trade of central England in 1879, Allen's father traveled alone to America to find work and to establish a new home for the family. Within two days after arriving his father was pronounced dead at a New York City hopsital, from what was believed to be a case of robbery and murder. The Allen family now faced an economic disaster. James, only 15 at the time, was forced to leave school and find work.

For a majority of the 1890's, James Allen worked as a private secretary and stationer in several British manufaturing films. In 1893, Allen moved to Londen and later to South Wales, where he took up reporting and journalism to earn a living. He soon met Lily Louisa Oram (Lily L. Allen) and the two wed in 1895.

Allen had many spiritual and social interests, and in 1898, he showcased his talents as a writer for the magazine The Herald of the Golden Age. James Allen entered a creative period in his life around this time, and published many of his first books, such as "From Poverty to Power" in 1901. In 1902, James began publishing his own spiritual magazine titled, "The Light of Reason", later retitled "The Epoch".

In 1903, Allen published his third and most famous book,"As A Man Thinketh", which was loosely based on the Biblical passage of Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." James Allen soon quit his secretarial work and began to fully pursue his writing and editing career. Towards the end of 1903, The Allen family retired to the town of Ilfracombe, where James would spend the rest of his life. He continuted the publish his magazine, The Herald of the Golden Age, and would end up producing more than one book per year up until his death, in 1912.

Following his death in 1912, his wife, Lily Allen, continued publishing the magazine retitled under its new name, "The Epoch". Lily Allen summarized her husbands literary mission in the preface of one of his posthumously published manuscripts, Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success saying:

"He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice." -Lily Allen

James Allen's book, "As A Man Thinketh" would go on to become his most popular book, eventually being read around the world, and making James Allen well known to the public and considered as one of the pioneering figures of modern inspirational thought.

Published writings by James Allen:


The James Allen Free Library

Lily L. Allen - Clues to the Treasures of Life (1933)

Quotes by James Allen

Light Of Reason - Magazine Issues  |&mbsp; Alt

The Complete Works of James Allen

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