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Henry Wood (born 1834) was one of the very first New Thought authors and was best known for his book The New Thought Simplified. His books were widely read both in New Thought circles and far beyond them. Horatio Dresser, another very influential figure in the early development of the movement, writes of him as the first to seek to spread the new ideas through publicity.
He began his writing career in 1887 with a book entitled Natural Law in the Business World, which brought him into prominence. The following year, at the age of fifty-four, he was in a mental and physical condition where life seemed a burden to him and an overwhelming depression prevailed, having suffered a long period of chronic neurasthenia, insomnia and dyspepsia, to which he felt there was no promise of recovery or even of partial relief. Medicine and the usual methods brought no relief, so a plunge was made from a supposedly correct moral and ethical life into the practice and philosophy of the “higher thought” with its new ideals. This brought him into a state of healing and also launched a new direction for his writing.
He began to write in the field of religion, interpreting the New Thought that had led to his healing. His books included: God’s Image in Man, Studies in the New Thought World, The New Old Healing, New Thought Simplified: How to Gain Harmony and Health, and Ideal Suggestion Through Mental Photography. A pamphlet, Has Mental Healing a Valid Scientific and Religious Basis? had sold more than thirty thousand copies prior to 1902. His books appeared in many editions, some reaching seventh, eighth, twelfth, and one going into fourteen editions.
In addition, Wood was the first New Thought writer to undertake to express his ideas through the medium of fiction, writing two novels, Edward Burton and Victor Serenus. The latter was made into a drama — probably the first New Thought drama — and was performed in a Boston theater, although it was not a dramatic success.
Wood died in 1908.
Other Biographical Information
Books & Audiobooks
All of Wood’s books can be found in the public domain. There are many people who have “republished” his works that you can purchase, most at nominal costs. Many can be found as e-books and audiobooks, as well. Search Amazon or other booksellers to find books for purchase. The following books linked here are for FREE books only.
The New Thought Simplified (read text online)
The New Thought Simplified (download various e-book versions)
Edward Burton (“New Thought Fiction”)
CRITICISMS OF THE NEW THOUGHT by Henry Wood (Wood’s letter to the editor of the Boston Transcript, July 27, 1901, answering a critic of the New Thought)