Leo, Alan (1860-1917)

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Leo, Alan (1860-1917)

Pseudonym of British astrologer William Frederick Allen, born in London August 7, 1860. His mother was a member of the conservative Plymouth Brethren, and when Allen was a child, his father abandoned him and his mother. Young Allen was apprenticed as a draper, chemist, and grocer in turn, but in each instance failed to serve out his time. At the age of 16 he was destitute in Liverpool. A few years later he was a prosperous employer, then just as suddenly was ruined by a dishonest manager. He then became a salesman for a manufacturer of sewing machines.

Eventually Allen learned about astrology from an old herbalist, who treated him for an illness. He also became friendly with the astrologer "Sepharial" (Walter Gorn Old ), a Theosophist. Allen joined the Theosophical Society in 1890 and became a successful mail-order astrologer. In 1895 he married Bessie Phillips, a professional palmist and phrenologist.

Allen became the proprietor of the periodical Modern Astrology, and under his professional name, Alan Leo, compiled a number of popular books on astrology. His Modern Astrology Publishing Co. was the first large-scale venture of its kind, and he established branches in Paris and New York.

In 1914 and 1917 Allen was prosecuted for fortune-telling. He was acquitted in the first case, but convicted and fined in the second. At that date, prosecution of Spiritualist mediums and other seers was not infrequent (see Fortune Telling Act ). He died August 30, 1917, at Cornwall, England. His wife, who published several books under the name "Bessie Leo," edited his biography, The Life and Works of Alan Leo (1919).


Leo, Alan. Astrology for All. 2 vols. London: Modern Astrology Office, 1921.

. Casting the Horoscope. London: Modern Astrology Office, 1912.

. The Horoscope and How to Read It. N.p., 1902.

. How to Judge a Nativity. 2 vols. 1904. Reprint, London: Modern Astrology Office, 1928.

. Practical Astrology. Philadelphia: David McCay, n.d.

Leo, Bessie. The Life and Works of Alan Leo. N.p., 1919.