Excerpts from

  Spirits in Rebellion:
The Rise and Development of New Thought

Charles S. Braden

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Book Contents
This 1963 book provides an invaluable glimpse into the mid-nineteenth century origins, beginning with Phineas P. Quimby, of the New Thought movement in the United States. It describes the careers of the most influential teachers and writers in the various schools and movements, with the exception of the well-known Christian Science church. Braden's text is a MUST for any serious student of metaphysics. The work delves deeply into the roots of New Thought and chronicles many key churches and movements throughout the United States and abroad. Braden writes with scholarly insight and spirit-led intuition.

Table of Contents



PART I – The Nature and Science of New Thought

What Is New Thought?

Sources of New Thought   

Phineas B. Quimby, Founder 

Warren Felt Evans, Pioneer Writer 

The Developing Movement  

The History Of INTA

PART II – New Thought Groups in America

Unity School of Christianity 

Divine Science

Religious Science 

Other New Thought Groups 

PART III – New Thought Outreach In America

New Thought Periodicals 

New Thought Leaders 

Leaders Outside the Movement

PART IV – New Thought Abroad

New Thought in Great Britain

New Thought on the Continent  

New Thought in Africa, Australia, and Japa





Writing about the rise and development of any of the minority religious groups is not an easy task. Concerning their basic ideas and practices there is not so much difficulty, but when one seeks to go back and discover their beginnings and the stages through which they have evolved, it is another story.

In general the libraries have paid little attention to them. Many libraries will not even accept their publications as gifts. And, if they do, they frequently discard them as required by the limitations of shelf-room for what they regard as more important books. This is especially true with respect to periodi­cals. One must travel far and consult many of the great libraries to find even the more outstanding sources necessary to a compre­hensive study. This is time-consuming, expensive, and at times frustrating.

Nor, in general, have the various movements themselves been history-conscious. The Mormons are a notable exception, and Unity has also developed something in the nature of a small research library, dealing chiefly with Unity itself, but to some' extent also with other related movements.

Oddly enough even theological libraries have not been inter­ested in such movements, and have only scattered items bearing on one or another of them. For years the writer has sought to interest some seminary library in specializing in this field—if not in all such movements, then in one or more selected ones. At the same time he has urged some of the minority groups to make a definite effort to preserve materials which are of historic interest, if not today, then certainly tomorrow: for the story of these groups is genuine religious Americana—most of them were born on American soil and are the expression of the American mind and spirit at some level.

Happily, Bridwell Library of Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology has now agreed to develop special collections of material on movements of this sort. Already it has received as a gift one of the finest and most nearly complete collections of Christian Science material in America. The Inter­national New Thought Alliance (INTA) voted in 1960 to deposit its older archives at Bridwell, and to provide eventually an entire file of its important magazine, as well as to encourage its leaders to furnish copies of their books as they appear. Bridwell will welcome correspondence with anyone having relevant historical materials—books, pamphlets, periodicals, manuscripts, letters—which he is willing to place in the library.

Religious Science has contributed a long, if not complete, run of its periodical Science in Mind, as well as books written by its founder and by some of its most outstanding leaders. Unity has provided copies of most of its publications. Brother Mandus of England, founder of the World Healing Crusade, has sent most of his publications; the Society for the Spread of the Knowledge of True Prayer (SSKTP), founded by Frank L. Rawson, has contributed an almost entire run of its magazine Active Service, besides some of its books; Nicol Campbell of South Africa has sent his books and some issues of his magazine. All these materials and more already in hand and surely to be contributed will be available to accredited scholars interested in the field. The Pacific School of Religion Library at Berkeley, California, has also become interested in this area.

The writer desires to express his sincere gratitude to many librarians from Boston to Berkeley, from Chicago to Dallas, who have been helpful in one way or another in his quest for material. To the leaders of the various New Thought movements who have given freely of their time and interest he is greatly indebted. Particularly is he in debt to Dr. Robert H. Bitzer, president for many years of INTA, and his staff for many hours of counsel, as well as access to both the earlier and later files of the overall organization of New Thought. To Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, who for more than ten years had urged the author to make this study, and has kept up a steady stream of correspondence and fed into the New Thought Collection at Bridwell materials new and old, especial indebtedness is gladly acknowledged. Other New Thought leaders too numerous to mention by name have been most generous in their help given through personal con­ference or correspondence.

The author is grateful to all the publishers and individual owners of copyright who have so generously given permission to quote the passage or passages from the books or articles named in each case where used. They include: Abingdon Press, New York-Nashville; Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc., Indianapolis; Dodd, Mead and Co., New York; Mrs. Harry Gaze; Harper and Row, Publishers, New York; Macalester Publishing Co., St. Paul, Minn.; Little, Brown and Co., Boston; Macmillan Co., New York; Dr. Virgil Markham, owner of certain poems of his father, Edwin Markham; the New England Quarterly, Brunswick, Maine; Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey; Dr. Robert Russell, Denver, Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.

And to authors of other books and articles, either not copy­righted, or otherwise now in the public domain, he also expresses his appreciation (many of the books in the field were privately published and never copyrighted).

And finally, to the American Council of Learned Societies which provided a grant to help defray the considerable expense of travel in the quest for materials, without which the completion of the book would have been impossible, the author expresses his thanks.

It is his sincere hope that this study of a great movement will be a welcome help to followers of one or another of the various branches of the movement in seeing themselves as a part of a movement greater than their own particular branch of it. And to those who stand outside the movement, may it serve as an aid to the understanding of a vital phase of religion that while differ­ing from the usual orthodox expressions in many ways, neverthe­less represents essential insights and practices which, once present in historic Christianity, have largely fallen into disuse.


Dallas, Texas

May 15, 1963

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