Long, James A. (1898–1971)
James Long, for two decades the leader of the American
Theosophical Society, was born on August 27, 1898, in York,
Pennsylvania. He became a successful businessman and during
World War II (1939–45) served in Washington, D.C., as a management
consultant for the office of the Quartermaster General,
which had the task of gathering the supplies necessary to
outfit the army. Following the war he worked at the State Department
to assist in the transition back to a peacetime economy.
He attended the Second Session of the United Nations as
an advisor to the U.S. delegation in 1946.
Long had joined the Theosophical Society in 1935 and four
years later put his business acumen to service for the society by
becoming its national business manager in 1939. He became an
associate of Arthur L. Conger, who became president of the society’s
American section that same year, and worked closely
with him through the 1940s. Conger became the leader of the
society in 1945. In 1950 he asked Long to locate suitable buildings
in Pasadena, California, for the relocation of the headquarters,
then in Covina. At the end of the year, Long toured
the society’s lodges around the world.
Conger passed away in 1951, and Long was chosen to succeed
him. He completed the move of the group’s headquarters
to its present location in Altadena (immediately north of Pasadena).
He also placed great emphasis on the role of Theosophy
in daily living and its dialogue with culture. He founded Sunrise,
the society’s present magazine, and set its policy of including
articles in every issue on the theosophical perspective on
modern trends in science, philosophy, and religion.
Long died on July 19, 1971.
Sources
Donant, Alan E. ‘‘Colonel Arthur L. Conger.’’ Theosophical
History 7, no.1 (January 1998) 35–56.
The Theosophical Movement, 1875–1950. Los Angeles Cunningham
Press, 1951.