William Quan Judge





William Q. Judge was born on 13. April in year of 1851 in Dublin, Ireland to parents Frederic H. Judgu and Alice Mary Quan. His mother died during the birth of their seventh child, causing his father with the other kids to decide to go to New York. Judge fell ill and during recovery began to read books with mystical content. Later, he studied law, and at 21 he became an American citizen. He married Ella M. Smith, a teacher, with which they lived up to 1893 in Brooklyn and then moved to New York City.
The interest in mysticism and spiritualism, led Judge in 1874 to the screening of Olcott articles, to which he later wrote and asked him to be presented to H.P. Blavatsky. Madame Blavatsky has accepted invitation and so the Judge became a co-founder of the Theosophical community.
He worked as a consultant and wrote articles for various theosophical magazine as well as an introduction to the labor Ocean of Theosophy. When Olcott and Blavatsky in 1878 went to India, the Judge stayed in America, where he has pursued social activities, while working as a lawyer. He didn’t go with two mentioned because of family commitments.
For him to study mysticism and theosophy and at the same time support family with money, he participated in structuring mines in Venezuela and Mexico. These plans have failed, Judge has fallen into debts. In addition, he suffered from the so-called American tripanosomy, which affected his health for several years, and his practice of law has collapsed.
In 1883 he again bought into the theosophical work. A year later he went on a long desired trip to India. Only some time remained in Adyar and yet it is not known how he supported his family, because he still had shaken financial situation. In that year he traveled also to England, where he visited Sinnetts, Arundales, and other members in  London, who joined H. P. Blavatsky and Olcott in Paris. In the meantime, the thrill was caused by pair in Adyar, who were spreading lies about Blavatsky. Because of false accusations without basis, the Judge gave legal solutions, such as the legal representative and he helped to resolve disputes arising.
With the belief that America needed a thorough reorganization of the theosophical work, he returned to New York. He proposed the establishment of the American Section and in 1886 this materialized. He was elected as a permanent General Secretary. In April, 1886 the Arthur Gebhard and Judge set up The Path Magazine.
Judge worked as an editor, while Gebhard has operated as a business manager. This later became the backbone and the official body of American Section of the Theosophical community. Under Judge’s leadership the Society appeared more unified and functioning of the brotherhood began to spread across America. Sam had a lot lectures and, moreover, has employed three lecturers, who traveled around and spread the knowledge of Theosophy, in order to support and consolidate the centers of the Theosophical community.
Magazine Path was as a specialized, small newspaper regularly distributed among the members, so that they remained in contact with each other and with the heads of the leading center in New York. Local speakers were this way encouraged to set up new centers and surrounding groups or communities. By the year 1896, it were thus established over a hundred groups, with some variations in the year of 1886.


In 1887 he was asked by members if their esoteric operation could became slightly more formal, which makes him wrote H. P. Blavatsky. Later that year, or maybe a year later, H. P. Blavatsky had a conversation with one of their masters (Master KH – Eastern master) about the overall condition of theosophical community. Master mentioned her that even though Theosophical community, which was founded by H. S. Olcott at Adyar runs smoothly, has no soul; it is merely soulless body. The Theosophical community has reached a point at which the master intervene in society is no longer possible, which makes it’s support abandoned.
Answer of H. P. Blavatsky to this was the creation of the Esoteric Section, which was based on source lines that were raised by the masters. When Olcott got to know her intentions, he immediately traveled to London, where they together formed the Esoteric Section. Olcott then traveled back to Adyar. H. P. Blavatsky invited Judge to London, so that they formed a preparatory memorandum and rules of the Esoteric Section. Judge as secretary of H. P. Blavatsky handed over knowing of the Esoteric Section in America. At that time in the letters, written by  H. P. Blavatsky, that were sent to Judge, it was observed that she noted him as ‘heart and soul’ of the Theosophical community in America, since for him the community even existed. In the same year he was appointed for Vice-President of the Theosophical Society by Olcott; a year later he was officially elected to this position.
In year of 1889, members of Aryan’s branch of the Theosophical community printed numerous pamphlets, magazines such as Patanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms ( 1889 ), Judge’s Echoes from the Orient ( 1890 ), Judge’s Review Bhagavad-Gita with an introduction and annotations ( 1890 ), Letters That Have Helped me ( 1891 ) and The Ocean of Theosophy ( 1893). In 1895, the Judge assessed that it was printed in the printing house Aryan around half a million leaflets. After death of H. P. Blavatsky in 1891, the William Q. Judge and Annie Besant jointly led Esoteric section. As the American Secretary General and later as vice president of the Theosophical community, he continued to work in America. He spoke in Parliament of Religions at the Chicago World Sehm in 1893 and a year later in the religious parliament in mid winter fair in San Francisco.
Following the convention in December 1891, at Adyar, the Colonel Olcott’s health became so weak that he did not want to perform his functions of President of the Theosophical community on 21 January 1892. Judge informed the Section and the rest of the general secretaries. Therefore, they met for the election of a new president. Although Judge was elected for president, the Olcott was asked to think about his resignation. G. R. S. Mead, European general secretary, claimed that the European members jointly agree for presidency pf Judge, while the American members claimed to Olcott to think again about his resignation. Olcott stated on 25. May, that he agrees with the fact that Judge becomes president. However, the Secretary-General in India, Bertram Keightley, sent a letter in which he stated harmonious and enthusiastic conduct of American members, according to which Olcott should once again reconsider his resignation. For this reason, she proposed in a letter to European members that they confirm, if they agree with American members. Olcott was deeply moved by the fervor of the members to remain as president, he accepted this request on 17. August 1892, and withdrew the resignation. The President remained until his death in 1907th.
Judge, sensitive to the functioning of the masters, he claimed to have received their message. Olcott, Besant and many other members, sentenced him in 1894 that messages are fraudulent. Due to abuse of Mahatma’s name, the Olcott asked him to retire. However, the Judge argued that their convictions are wrong. Therefore, they gathered in London and Besant has forgiven him of all charges. When Walter R. Old reopened, the so-called Judge’s example, where he wrote that he did not trust Olcott, attacks on Judge began again. Defamation was received at the annual convention at Adyar, where Besant condemned him again.
In order to protect the Judge from recoating defamation, the delegates in 1895, at the Annual Convention of the American Section recognized full autonomy and elected as Judge as President of the Theosophical community in America. Olcott  then canceled all membership and abandoned all documents that would support the Judge. Judge continued his theosophical work. However, the disease and defamation conducted their own, because of that he died quite yoing, at his 45 years. His last words were on March 21 , 1896 as follows: There should be calmness. Hold on tight. Go slowly. An organization that was managed by Judge is today known as the Theosophical Society, but often with the specification “international headquarters, Pasadena, California.”

His works and online resources “A Salute to William Quan Judge” by Grace F. Knoche

William Quan Judge: A Biographical Sketch” by Kirby Van Mater

Judge’s Life: A Personal Viewpoint” by Patrick Powell

‘With Malice toward none, with charity for all’” by Sarah Belle Dougherty (rev. of The Judge Case by Ernest E. Pelletier)

My First Meeting with W. Q. Judge” by Katherine Tingley

Duty, the Royal Talisman” by Dara Eklund

William Q. Judge on Karma” by W. T. S. Thackara

Letters That Have Helped Me: A Personal View” by Douglas A. Russell

Books and articles online:

The Ocean of Theosophy

Letters That Have Helped Me

Echoes from the Orient

The Bhagavad-Gita combined with Essays on the Gita

The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali

Articles and Speeches of W. Q. Judge (links to over 250 items)

Judge’s Answers to Questions: from

The Path

The Vahan

The Theosophical Forum:
First Series: Questions 2 – 99
First Series: Questions 102 – 219
First Series: Questions 220 – 273
First Series: Questions 276 – 345
New Series (May 1895 – Feb 1896)

Photos of William Q. Judge

WQJ (sitting)

WQJ (full face)

WQJ (3/4 face)