Photo of Mr Wallace D Wattles

Mr Wallace D Wattles

Mr Wallace Delois Wattles (1860–1911) was an American author.

Mr Wallace D Wattles remains a rather mysterious man. Whilst his works remain widely distributed, quoted and ever popular in the subject of Self Help Mr Wallace Delois Wattles remains indeed quite an enigma and a rather mysterious man.

Mr Wattles was born as Walter Walters, in 1860 in Illinois. He received no formal education. In the 1880 United States Federal Census Mr Walters was living on on a farm in Nunda Township, McHenry County, Illinois. He was recorded on the Census as working as a farm labourer. On that same Census, we observe that his father was listed as a gardener and his mother kept house. His parents were born in New York.

In the 1910 census, we see evidence that Mr Walters had changed the spelling of his name from Walters to Wattles. He had married Abbie Walters, 47. Their three children were Florence Walters, 22, Russell H Walters, 27, and Agnes Walters, 16. Mr Wattles mother Mary A Walters, 79, was also living with his family.

Mr Wattles experienced a life filled with many failures. It was only in the latter part of his life, after experiencing so much failure and after much study and experimentation that he formulated and put into practice the principles laid out in The Science of Getting Rich.

Mr Wattles writings were influenced by the The New Thought movement; a spiritual movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century, following the teachings of Phineas Quimby. It was through this movement he connected with Elizabeth Towne, who eventually became his publisher.

Elizabeth Towne

Elizabeth Towne - International New Thought Alliance President 1924 and Publisher

Elizabeth Towne – International New Thought Alliance President 1924 and Publisher

Elizabeth Towne was his book publisher. Elizabeth and her husband William were instrumental in the development of the International New Thought Alliance know as INTA. Both of them served on the board and she became president in 1924.

Elizabeth Towne was the founder and publisher of Nautilus Magazine. This was a ground breaking journal of its time. In it she published many articles that promoted the ideals and beliefs of the New Thought Movement. Mr Wattles wrote and contributed many articles to Nautilus. Nautilus Magazine of New ThoughtNautilus Magazine ran from 1898 through 1953, at that time aged 88 she felt it was the right time to bring it to an end.

She also ran her own publishing company Elizabeth Towne Company. Through this publishing company, she published many New Thought, self-help, metaphysical and self-improvement books. These books were written often by herself but she also published the works of writers in addition to Mr Walter D Wattles, such as Kate Atkinson Boehme, William Walker Atkinson, Orison Swett Marden, Paul Ellsworth, Clara Chamberlain McLean, Edwin Markham, William Towne and Helen Rhodes-Wallace.

In 1896 Mr Wattles attended a convention of reformers in Chicago, Illinois. It was here he met with some of the leading New Thought leaders, including Emma Curtis Hopkins, William Walker Atkinson and George Davis Herron; a Professor of Applied Christianity at Grinnell College and a Congregational Church minister. At that time Mr Herron who was attracting wide scale and nationwide attention preaching a form of Christian Socialism. It was after Mr Wattles meeting George Herron that he began to talk about what his daughter Florence described as the wonderful social message of Jesus Christ.

Mr Wattles had apparently once had a position within the Methodist Church but was thrown out on the charge of heresy. This was after the publication of two of his books; A New Christ and Jesus – The Man and His Work. These books looked at Christianity from the perspective of a Socialist.

Mr Wattles later recommended that his readers who wished to understand what he termed as “the monistic theory of the cosmos” to read the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

He felt that he had discovered the truth of the New Thought Principles through his personal study and experimentation within his own life.

He endorsed health theories that were popular at the time from Horace Fletcher who was known as The Great Masticator and Edward Hooker Deway who was a pioneer of therapeutic fasting cure and the advocate of the “No Breakfast Plan.” Mr Wattles as well as incorporating these theories in his own life he wrote books outlining the main principles and practices. Health Through New Thought and Fasting and The Science of Being Great were two such publications. Florence was quoted saying that he lived every single page of his books.

Mr Wattles always encouraged and invited his readership to test out his theories on themselves. He did not want them just to take him and his writings at his word. He always claimed to test all his theories and methods on himself and others before publishing.

He ran for two elections; firstly in 1908 as the American Candidate in the Eight Congregational District for the Socialist Party. Then again in 1910 for the office of Prosecuting Attorney for the Madison County, Indiana 50th court district again as the Socialist candidate.

He practised extensively the technique of creative visualisation. Florence recalled he formed a clear mental picture or visual image, and then worked towards the manifestation of this vision.

He died on 7th February 1911 in Ruskin, Tennessee, aged just 51. He was taken back home to be buried in Elwood, Indiana. On the afternoon of the funeral, she reports, that all the shops and businesses closed for two hours as a sign of respect. Here is a quote on his book The Science of Getting Rich.

Quote from Science of Getting Rich


We give a little perspective of where he came from and some of the main places in his life.

Notable Places in the life of Wallace Wattles

After his death, Florence wrote to Elizabeth Towne his publisher. Elizabeth then edited extracts from it and published it in an issue of Nautilus.

His daughter said that this was most unfortunate as in the year previous to his death he had published two book and also run for public office. His two published books were The Science of Being Well and The Science of Getting Rich. After his death Florence remained a Socialist and was a delegate to the Socialist Party National Committee in 1912 and 1915.

In 2006 Rhonda Byrne attributed her success in creating the film and book The Secret down to her daughter Hayley introducing her to Mr Wattles The Science of Getting Rich. In the film itself reference is also made to another New Thought author, William Walker Atkinson titled Thought Vibration – Law of Attraction in the Thought World.

The Constructive Use of Foods (pamphlet)
Hellfire Harrison (his only novel)
Jesus: The Man and His Work, a long speech made into a pamphlet, and the base of “A New Christ” (1902)
A New Christ (1903)
Letters to a Woman’s Husband (pamphlet)
How to Get What you Want (1907)
Making of the Man Who Can, republished later as *How to Promote Yourself (Elizabeth Towne, May 5, 1914)
New Science of Living and Healing, republished as *Health Through New Thought and Fasting (Elizabeth Towne, 1924)
“Perpetual Youth” (1909, in The Cavalier), an early science fiction story.[18]
Scientific Marriage
What Is Truth? (serialized in The Nautilus Magazine, Elizabeth Towne, 1909)

“The Science of” trilogy:
The Science of Getting Rich (Elizabeth Towne, 1910), republished posthumously in 1915, as *Financial Success Through Creative Thought
The Science of Being Great (Elizabeth Towne, 1910)
The Science of Being Well (Elizabeth Towne, 1910)

Read The Science of Getting Rich
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