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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Pryse, James Morgan

(1859-1942). Theosophical worker and accomplished printer. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 14, 1859, he was the son of Rev. James Morgan Pryse, a Welsh immigrant. Morgan accepted a living in a Welsh settlement in Makato, Minnesota, and the young Pryse was regaled with stories about fairies, ghosts, elves and all the psychic phenomena beloved by the Welsh. Pryse studied Greek and Latin with his father. With periods as a photographer, teacher, and publisher of a weekly paper he eventually joined a co-operative colony at Hammonton, New Jersey. Mrs. Ver Plank (afterwards Mrs. Archibald Keightley) introduced him to theosophy and William Q. Judge.

Pryse left Hammonton in 1886, moving to Los Angeles where he joined the local branch of the Theosophical Society (TS). He then took up the study of Sanskrit and met his brother John who had also become a theosophist. In 1889, persuaded by Judge, the brothers went to New York where they started the Aryan Press. Probably in 1889 Helena P. Blavatsky cabled Pryse, asking him to come to London to set up a printing facility there (HPB Press) which he did and the E.S. Instructions were printed by it.

In 1889, when Judge seceded from the Theosophical Society, Pryse also left and continued his theosophical work under Judge in what was eventually to become the Theosophical Society, Point Loma.

After the death of Blavatsky, Pryse went to Dublin, Ireland, where he had charge of the printing of The Irish Theosophist. While in Dublin he wrote his first book, The Sermon on the Mount under the pseudonym of Aretas. After a year in Dublin, Pryse was called to New York by Judge who needed help to publish The Path, a theosophical magazine.

In America Pryse continued to work for theosophy and wrote numerous books. He married Jessie Mayer on December 21, 1901. He died on April 22, 1942, in New York.

P.S.H.

© Copyright by the Theosophical Publishing House, Manila

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