Broughton, Luke Dennis (1828-1898)

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Broughton, Luke Dennis (1828-1898)

Luke Dennis Broughton, the leading astrologer in the United States during the last decades of the nineteenth century, was born April 20, 1828, in Leeds, England, and grew up in an astrologically-oriented family. His grandfather had become a devotee of the stars after reading the Complete Herbal, a medical astrology text by Nicolas Culpepper and one of the few astrological texts to have survived the combined attack of Protestantism and the Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The elder Broughton inspired interest in astrology in his physician son and through him to Luke Broughton and his brothers. Luke Broughton's older brother Mark became the leader of an astrological society in England and then moved to the United States to begin Broughton's Monthly Horoscope in 1849.

Luke Broughton began studying astrology during his teen years, and he moved to the United States in the early 1840s to study natural medicine at the Eclectic Medical College in Philadelphia. He began a public career in 1860 when he revived his brother's periodical as Broughton's Monthly Planet Reader and Astrological Journal (1860-69). After anti-astrology laws were passed in Philadelphia, he moved his medical office to New York City in 1863, his home for the rest of his life. He emphasized astrological medicine and in 1866 began to teach astrology. His initial teaching efforts became the foundation upon which the nation's major astrological center would be built. He developed a distributorship of astrological literature, the great majority of which came from England.

As astrology grew and became the center of renewed controversy, Broughton assumed the dual role of astrology's defender from its enemies and protector from incompetent astrologers. He wrote and at times appeared as a witness in court on astrology's behalf. He also attacked people such as Hiram Butler, Eleanor Kirk, and C. W. Roback, astrologers who, he felt, had insufficient training for their work. At the time of his death in 1898, he left his practice to his daughter, who carried on his work and saw to the publication of his most substantive book, The Elements of Astrology (1898).


Broughton, Luke D. The Elements of Astrology. New York: The Author, 1898.

. Planetary Influence. New York: The Author, 1893.