William Judge (1851-1896)
William Chouan Judge was born in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1851. After his mother’s death, the family migrated to New Yorkin 1864. William Judge studied law and in May 1872, when 21 years old, he became an American citizen. In May 1874, he got married to Ella Smith, teacher, and they lived in Brooklyn till 1893 when they moved to New York.
William Judge is one of the protagonists of the early Theosophical Movement. When 24, in 1875, together with H. P. Blavatsky and Henry S. Olcott, he co-founded the Theosophical Society. He was an ardent supporter and worker in the Movement till his death, in 1896. Being in charge of the Theosophical Movement in America from 1886 to 1896, his Department was the most prevalent and numerous one in the Society. He worked unwearingly for the promotion of the vision of the Movement which has always been the re-examination of man’s perception and its turn towards more spiritual purposes.
In April 1886, he began editing the “Path” magazine for which he used to work mainly at nights, writing articles signed with various names, in an effort to fill in all of its pages. In the New York Department there was a lending library, publications of small-sized books and pamphlets and there gathered the members regularly. His magazine made him known to all the other Theosophical departments in America. On his initiative, coordination was conducted for bringing together all the members who were dispersed throughout the United States. As a leading lecturer, he formed a group of three touring speakers who would come in direct contact with the dispersed and newly organized Theosophical groups, helped them organize and understand the principal positions of Theosophy. The magazine, together with little informative booklets, was in continuous circulation among the members who, thus, maintained contact with the New York Central Department. New departments were set up and, as a consequence, while in 1886 there were only about twelve departments, in 1896 there were more than one hundred of them.