Wallace Wattles

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Wallace D. Wattles

Wallace Delois Wattles (1860 – 1911) was an American author. A New Thought writer, he remains personally somewhat obscure,[1] but his writing has been widely quoted and remains in print in the New Thought and self-help movements.

Wattles' best known work is a 1910 book called The Science of Getting Rich in which he explained how to become wealthy.


[edit] Life and career

Wattles' daughter, Florence A. Wattles, described her father's life in a "Letter" that was published shortly after his death in the New Thought magazine Nautilus, edited by Elizabeth Towne. The Nautilus had previously carried articles by Wattles in almost every issue, and Towne was also Wattles's book publisher. Florence Wattles wrote that her father was born in the United States in 1860, received little formal education, and found himself excluded from the world of commerce and wealth.[2]

According to the 1880 US Federal Census[3] Wallace was living with his parents on a farm in Nunda Township of McHenry County, Illinois and working as a farm labourer. His father is listed as a gardener with his mother 'keeping house'. Wallace is listed as being born in Illinois while his parents are listed as born in New York. No other siblings are recorded as living with the family.[4]

Florence wrote that "he made lots of money, and had good health, except for his extreme frailty" in the three years before he died,[2] in 1911. His death at age 51 was called "untimely" by his daughter; [2] during the previous year he had not only published two books (The Science of Being Well and The Science of Getting Rich), but he had also run for public office.[5]

Ora Ellen Cox, writing on "The Socialist Party in Indiana" in 1916, stated that Wattles lived in or near Kokomo, Indiana near the end of his life. [6] His daughter Florence identified the town they lived in as Elwood, Indiana. [2]

[edit] Christian Socialism

In 1896 in Chicago, Illinois, Wattles attended "a convention of reformers" and met George Davis Herron,[2] a Congregational Church minister and professor of Applied Christianity at Grinnell College [7] who was then attracting nationwide attention by preaching a form of Christian Socialism.[8]

After meeting Herron, Wattles became a social visionary and began to expound upon what Florence called "the wonderful, social message of Jesus."[2] According to Florence, he at one time had held a position in the Methodist Church, but was ejected for his "heresy".[2] Two of his books (A New Christ and Jesus: The Man and His Work) dealt with Christianity from a Socialist perspective.

In the 1908 election, he ran as a Socialist Party of America candidate in the Eighth Congressional District,[9]; in 1910 he again ran as a Socialist candidate, for the office of Prosecuting Attorney for the Madison County, Indiana 50th court district.[5] He did not win either election. Florence Wattles remained a Socialist after his death, and was a delegate to the Socialist Party National Committee in 1912 and 1915. [10]

[edit] New Thought

As a Midwesterner, Wattles travelled to Chicago, where several leading New Thought leaders were located, among them Emma Curtis Hopkins and William Walker Atkinson, and he gave "Sunday night lectures" in Indiana;[2] however, his primary publisher was Massachusetts-based Elizabeth Towne. [11]

He studied the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Ralph Waldo Emerson.[12] and recommended the study of their books to his readers who wished to understand what he characterized as "the monistic theory of the cosmos."[13] [12]

Through his personal study and experimentation Wattles claimed to have discovered the truth of New Thought principles and put them into practice in his own life. He also advocated the then-popular health theories of "The Great Masticator" Horace Fletcher as well as the "No-Breakfast Plan" of Edward Hooker Dewey,[13] which he claimed to have applied to his own life. He wrote books outlining these principles and practices, giving them titles that described their content, such as Health Through New Thought and Fasting and The Science of Being Great. His daughter Florence recalled that "he lived every page" of his books.

A practical author, Wattles encouraged his readers to test his theories on themselves rather than take his word as an authority, and he claimed to have tested his methods on himself and others before publishing them. [13]

Wattles practised the technique of creative visualization. In his daughter Florence's words, he "formed a mental picture" or visual image, and then "worked toward the realization of this vision": [2]

He wrote almost constantly. It was then that he formed his mental picture. He saw himself as a successful writer, a personality of power, an advancing man, and he began to work toward the realization of this vision. He lived every page ... His life was truly the powerful life.

[edit] Influence

Rhonda Byrne told a Newsweek interviewer that her inspiration for creating the 2006 hit film The Secret and the subsequent book by the same name, was her exposure to Wattles's The Science of Getting Rich[14]. Byrne's daughter, Hayley, had given her mother a copy of the Wattles book to help her recover from her breakdown.[15] The film itself also references, by re-popularizing the term The Law of Attraction, [14] a 1908 book by another New Thought author, William Walker Atkinson, titled Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World.

[edit] Bibliography

  • The Constructive Use of Foods (pamphlet)
  • Health Through New Thought and Fasting
  • Hellfire Harrison (his only novel)
  • Jesus: The Man and His Work
  • Letters to a Woman's Husband (pamphlet)
  • Making of the Man Who Can
  • A New Christ
  • New Science of Living and Healing
  • The Science of Being Great
  • "Perpetual Youth" (1909, in The Cavalier), an early science fiction story.[16]
  • The Science of Being Well (Elizabeth Towne, 1910)
  • The Science of Getting Rich (Elizabeth Towne, 1910)
  • Scientific Marriage
  • What Is Truth? (serialized in The Nautilus Magazine, Elizabeth Towne, 1909)
  • Financial Success Through Creative Thought (published posthumously in 1915)

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Butler-Brown, Tom (2004) 50 Success Classics, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, ISBN 978-1857883336, p. 287.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Biographical note in Wattles, Wallace (September 1996). How to Be a Genius: Or the Science of Being Great. Health Research. pp. 99–100. ISBN 0787309370. , including "excerpts from a letter to Elizabeth Towne" by Florance Wattles, originally published in Nautilus magazine, 1911
  3. ^ 1880 U.S. Census - McHenry County, Illinois Genealogical Society
  4. ^ Household record, 1880 United States Census
  5. ^ a b Indiana Secretary of State (1910) Annual Report, p. 251.
  6. ^ Cox, Ora Ellen (1916) "The Socialist Party in Indiana", in Indiana Magazine of History, June 1916, Indiana University, Dept. of History, p. 127.
  7. ^ "George D. Herron Collection, 1891 - 1973 (bulk 1891-1903)". Grinnell College Libraries. http://www.lib.grin.edu/Collections/specialcollections/Manuscripts/findingaids/HerronMss.html. ""George Davis Herron (1862-1925) was a Congregational Church minister and professor of Applied Christianity at Grinnell College from 1893-1899 where he attracted nationwide attention for his radical statements. After his resignation in 1899 and his scandalous divorce, he joined the Socialist Party and married Carrie Rand. They moved to Italy where he worked for peace as an emissary of President Woodrow Wilson."" 
  8. ^ "White and Herron To Parley With Reds; Kansas Editor and Socialist Professor Selected as American Delegates to Prinkipo.". The New York Times. February 8 1919. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9804EED61039E13ABC4053DFB4668382609EDE. Retrieved on 2008-08-19. 
  9. ^ Indiana Secretary of State (1910) Annual Report, p. 337.
  10. ^ Karen Kelly (1st edition, July 24, 2007). The Secret of the Secret: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Runaway Bestseller. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 83. ISBN 9780312377908. ""[T]he name Florence Wattles appears on lists of delegates to the Socialist Party National Committee in 1912 and 1915."" 
  11. ^ Karen Kelly (1st edition, July 24, 2007). The Secret of the Secret: Unlocking the Mysteries of the Runaway Bestseller. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 89. ISBN 9780312377908. ""She [Towne] ran pieces by Wallace Wattles in almost every issue [of The Nautilus] during the early 1900s."" 
  12. ^ a b Sullivan, Dr. Gary (2007) A Christian Study of Wallace D. Wattle's Science of Getting Rich, Gold Stag Communications, ISBN 978-0615142043, p. 31.
  13. ^ a b c Wallace D. Wattles. The Science of Being Well. http://books.google.com/books?id=mUgPAAAAIAAJ&dq=wattles&jtp=86. 
  14. ^ a b Jerry Adler (2007-08-21). "Decoding The Secret". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/id/36603/output/print. Retrieved on 2008-08-19. 
  15. ^ "The Secret life of Rhonda". Herald Sun. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21062184-5006022,00.html. 
  16. ^ Bleiler, Everett Franklin and Richard Bleiler, Science-fiction, the Early Years, Kent State University Press, p. 792.

[edit] External links

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