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Posts Tagged ‘Theron Q. Dumont’

Contributed by Emily Gainer.

It’s the time of year for resolutions, new beginnings, a clean slate, and…self-help books. When choosing a self-help book, how do you know that the author is who he says he is and is an expert on the chosen topic?

January’s book of the month is a bit of a cautionary tale. When I picked up these two books to catalog, I trusted that Theron Q. Dumont was an “Instructor in the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, Paris, France” as written on the title pages. As part of the cataloging process, I checked the Library of Congress name authority records and discovered that Theron Q. Dumont is a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson (1862-1932).

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) are both written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) was written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism (1913) and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) are both written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism (1914) was written by Theron Q. Dumont, a pseudonym for William Walker Atkinson.

Atkinson has an interesting, if somewhat mysterious, history; he wrote under a number of other pseudonyms, including Yogi Ramacharaka, Magus Incognito, and Swami Panchadasi. Under these various names, he wrote about New Thought, Hinduism, mental fascination, self-healing, and yoga.

However, it doesn’t appear that Atkinson (even when acting as Dumont) was ever an instructor in Paris. He was a lawyer before leaving the profession to become an editor and writer.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Adkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Atkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Adkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

The last few pages of each book contain advertisements for Atkinson’s publications, a further clue into the authorship of these books.

Today, we can quickly use the internet to Google a person’s name for more information. In 1913, how would a reader know that someone isn’t who he says he is? I wonder who turned to these two books to improve their “personal magnetism” and what did they think of Dumont’s advice.

The Art and Science of Personal Magnetism and The Advanced Course in Personal Magnetism are part of the Ludy T. Benjamin, Jr. Library and are available to view in the CCHP reading room.

The front covers of each book are similar in style and design.

The front covers of each book are similar in style and design.

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