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Long, James A. (1898-1971)

Long, James A. (1898-1971)

James Long, for two decades the leader of the American Theosophical Society, was born on August 27, 1898, in York, Pennsylvania. He became a successful businessman and during World War II (1939-45) served in Washington, D.C., as a management consultant for the office of the Quartermaster General, which had the task of gathering the supplies necessary to outfit the army. Following the war he worked at the State Department to assist in the transition back to a peacetime economy. He attended the Second Session of the United Nations as an advisor to the U.S. delegation in 1946.

Long had joined the Theosophical Society in 1935 and four years later put his business acumen to service for the society by becoming its national business manager in 1939. He became an associate of Arthur L. Conger, who became president of the society's American section that same year, and worked closely with him through the 1940s. Conger became the leader of the society in 1945. In 1950 he asked Long to locate suitable buildings in Pasadena, California, for the relocation of the headquarters, then in Covina. At the end of the year, Long toured the society's lodges around the world.

Conger passed away in 1951, and Long was chosen to succeed him. He completed the move of the group's headquarters to its present location in Altadena (immediately north of Pasadena). He also placed great emphasis on the role of Theosophy in daily living and its dialogue with culture. He founded Sunrise, the society's present magazine, and set its policy of including articles in every issue on the theosophical perspective on modern trends in science, philosophy, and religion.

Long died on July 19, 1971.


Donant, Alan E. "Colonel Arthur L. Conger." Theosophical History 7, no.1 (January 1998): 35-56.

The Theosophical Movement, 1875-1950. Los Angeles: Cunningham Press, 1951.

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