Lewis, H(arvey) Spencer (1883–1939)
Founder of the Ancient and Mystic Order Rosae Crucis
(AMORC), a modern revival Rosicrucian order headquartered
at San Jose, California. Lewis was born in Frenchtown, New Jersey,
November 25, 1883, of Welsh ancestry. He was educated
in New York state and raised as a Methodist. He became a journalist
and sat on a committee investigating Spiritualism in New
York. He was closely associated with Elbert Hubbard and Ella
Wheeler Wilcox. In 1903 he was president of the Publishers’
Syndicate in New York and edited several scientific and research
magazines.
In 1904 Lewis founded and served as president of the New
York Institute for Psychical Research. The institute specialized
in occult studies with emphasis on Rosicrucian teachings. A
meeting with a British Rosicrucian resulted in Lewis traveling
to Europe, and in 1909 he was initiated into the Rosicrucian
order in France and given authority to organize in the United
States. The AMORC was organized in several stages over the
next years, and by 1917 held its first national convention in
Pittsburgh, at which Lewis established his plan to develop correspondence
courses.
‘‘Leviticon’’ Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
918
In 1918 Lewis moved his headquarters to San Francisco,
and in 1921 the order received an additional charter from the
Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) in Germany. In 1925 the
AMORC relocated to Florida, but soon afterward the organization
moved to its present location in San Jose, California. Lewis
applied his special talents in advertising to form a worldwide
fraternal organization. AMORC taught philosophical and mystical
practices in order to develop the latent faculties of man,
and it sold literature by mail order. Lewis himself authored the
basic set of correspondence lessons and a number of the books
published by AMORC.
The large headquarters includes an Egyptological museum,
a temple, an auditorium and modern computerized offices.
Lewis, whose immediate family controlled the board of the organization,
held the title imperator, or chief executive. After
Lewis died August 2, 1939, his son Ralph Maxwell Lewis succeeded
him as imperator.
Sources
Lewis, H. Spencer. Mansions of the Soul. San Jose, Calif. Rosicrucian
Press, 1930.
———. Rosicrucian Principles for the Home and Business. San
Jose, Calif. Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1929.
———. Rosicrucian Questions and Answers with Complete History.
San Jose, Calif. Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1929.
———. Self Mastery and Fate with the Cycles of Life. San Jose,
Calif. Supreme Grand Lodge of AMORC, 1929.
The Rosicrucian Manual. San Jose, Calif. Rosicrucian Press,
1952.

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