Archive for January 31st, 2007

My Historiography paper topic was greeted with rapturous applause by my teacher.  He actually has been doing research on censorship and such in the early days of film in Atlanta, and this is an area he has yet to dig into.  So he’s quite excited that I’m going to be doing some work in the area.

The endless looking through old newspapers that I’ve been doing the last couple days has been fun.

This evening I ran across another online database for 19th century papers, so I did a quick check for Edgerly material.  Apparently 1896 was quite a watershed year for Ralstonism as a thing.  That was the year in which Edgerly began trying to set up a community at Ralston Heights.  (Which is something that I already knew.)  That same year, there was a quite vicious fight in the Denver Post over the merits of the movement.  (Remember, Edgerly is publishing in Washington at this point, so articles in Denver and Chicago indicate pretty far reaching influence.)  In March, a two page tirade against Edgerly was published as the first article on the front page of the Denver Post.  Three days later a large defense of Ralstonism was published on page five (which contains the unintentionally hilarious claim that Everett Ralson started the club, not Edgerly – the author is clearly unaware of [or concealing] the fact that Ralston and Edgerly are the same person).

It makes sense that the movement would have hit critical mass around this point.  Looking at publication dates on the books, I see nothing published prior to 1888.  And it wasn’t until 1891 that the philosophical book really started to dominate.  Most of his early books are centered on the oratory and expression courses he was teaching.  It makes sense, then, that Personal Magnetism, as far as Edgerly was concerned, began as a public speaking theory.  It then began to take on the health conscious attitudes as he developed a wider theory of the body.

That’s all hypothetical of course, but that’s how things are starting to look.  (This stands somewhat in conflict with Janet Six’s claim that he started the Ralston Health Club of America in 1876, the same year that he graduated with a law degree.  But I have found no corroborating evidence for her claim.)

Interesting that his progression towards ‘holy man’ coincides very closely with his job as a teacher, his second marriage, his rapid failure as a playwright, and the death of his sisters husband (and, presumably, Edgerly’s close friend)…

Too bad the semester is taking over my research time right now.  I really feel like I’m on the cusp of a good solid understanding of the man.


More new information. Huge moments come unexpectedly when reading old newspapers…



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Mental powers were more developed in 1922, I guess.

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