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William Walker Atkinson (December 5 1862 – November 22 1932) was born in Baltimore, Maryland to William and Emma Atkinson. He began his working life as a grocer at 15 years old, probably helping his father. He married Margret Foster Black of Beverly, New Jersey, in October 1889, and they had two children. The first probably died young. The second later married and had two daughters. He was an attorney, merchant, publisher, and author, as well as an occultist and an American pioneer of the New Thought movement. He is also known to have been the author of the pseudonymous works attributed to Theron Q. Dumont, Swami Panchadasi and Yogi Ramacharaka and others. He pursued a business career from 1882 onwards and in 1894 he was admitted as an attorney to the Bar of Pennsylvania. While he gained much material success in his profession as a lawyer, the stress and over-strain eventually took its toll, and during this time he experienced a complete physical and mental breakdown, and financial disaster. He looked for healing and in the late 1880s he found it with New Thought, later attributing the restoration of his health, mental vigor and material prosperity to the application of the principles of New Thought. In the 1890s, he had become interested in Hinduism and after 1900 he devoted a great deal of effort to the diffusion of yoga and Oriental occultism in the West. It is unclear at this late date whether he actually ever converted to any form of Hindu religion, or merely wished to write on the subject. If he did convert, he left no record of the event. Atkinson died November 22, 1932 in Los Angeles, California at the age of 69, after 50 years of simultaneously successful careers in business, writing, occultism, and the law. Many mysteries still surround Atkinson's life, including the fact that a certificate of copyright issued three years after his death is said to have been signed by the author himself.
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