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Ralph Waldo Trine

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Ralph Waldo Trine
Trine, c. 1897
Born(1866-10-26)October 26, 1866
Mount Morris, Illinois
DiedNovember 8, 1958(1958-11-08) (aged 92)
Claremont, California
OccupationAuthor, lecturer, salesman
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin, Knox College, Johns Hopkins University
Genrenon-fiction, self-help
Subjectpersonal development, how-to, motivational
Literary movementSelf-help, law of attraction, New Thought

Ralph Waldo Trine (October 26, 1866 – November 8, 1958) was an American philosopher, author, and teacher. He wrote many books on the New Thought movement. Trine was a close friend of Henry Ford and had several conversations with him about success in life.

Trine attended several different colleges and universities. His studies were on writing, journalism, history, and social science. He took up work as a journalist and eventually became an author of many books in philosophy.

Early life

Born September 9, 1866,[1] in Mount Morris, Illinois,[2] Trine was the son of Samuel G. Trine and Ellen E. Newcomer.[3] He attended public school, and after graduating from high school at the age of 16 he began work as a farmer and lumberjack.[4] Later he worked as a bank teller for a time before going to college.[5]

Education and career

Trine attended the University of Wisconsin in his early twenties and shows in the 1891 yearbook that covered 1889/90 and their alumni magazine of 1900.[6] In his mid twenties he attended Knox College in Illinois and graduated receiving a Master of Arts degree in 1891.[4] He then attended Johns Hopkins University studying history, social science, and political science where he concurrently worked as a journalist for the Boston Daily Evening Transcript.[3][7] Trine earned a large cash prize for an essay he wrote in the late 1800s on how education lowered crime.[8] He became involved in social problems related to animals and became director of the American Humane Society and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[8] Trine was a vegetarian.[9]

Trine was both a student and teacher of rhetoric at Emerson College in 1892 where he had an influence on E. W. Kenyon, who went on to become the father of the Word of Faith Movement, an Evangelical Christian philosophy.[10] He then moved to Mount Airy, New York area where he built a cabin when he was 30 years old in 1896. Situated near a grove of pine trees, the property provided an ideal environment for his writing talents. At this time he met his future wife Grace Hyde an author of poetry and plays. Living in the area for many years, while raising their only child, Robert, they became involved in metaphysical seminars that were held at Lake Oscawana. Later they moved to California and continued writing. He liked raising fruit trees as a hobby, which became a labor of love.[3][7]

Trine was influenced by writings of Emmet Fox, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Drummond.[3][7] Trine's book What All the World's A-Seeking amplified on ideas and concepts Drummond brought up originally in his book, The Greatest Thing in the World and Other Addresses. Trine's primary work, In Tune with the Infinite was published in 1897.[11] It has been translated into some twenty languages and millions of copies have been sold.[3][12] It was a favorite of Queen Victoria and Janet Gaynor. Henry Ford attributed his automobile business and financial success to ideas he picked up from Trine's book.[13][14] He gave away copies of Trine's book to executive industrialists he knew.[15][16] Ford considered Trine an old friend and had several intimate conversations with him about life and success.[3][17][18] He attributed many aspects of his success in life directly to these talks with Trine.[19][20][21]

A blood-stained copy of In Tune with the Infinite was found in the pocket of German war poet August Stramm after he was killed in action on the Eastern Front during World War I.[22]

Trine was a philosopher and teacher besides being the author of many books related to the New Thought movement.[3] He was introduced to the movement in the late nineteenth-century and was an advocate in the early twentieth-century of the related ideas.[3] He was one of the first of its representatives to write books on it.[3] His writings had an influence on other religious people including Ernest Holmes, a pioneer of Religious Science.[23] Trine's books of the early twentieth-century on New Thought ideas have promoted and sold more than any other of this genre. The basic principles that Trine wrote about were later published by other self-help authors like Napoleon Hill, David Schwartz and Brian Tracy.[24]

Grace Steele Hyde, Who's who among the women of California
Grace Steele Hyde, Who's who among the women of California

Personal life

Trine married Grace Steele Hyde in Mohawk, New York, in 1898.[3][25][26] She was a graduate of Curry College in 1897 and wrote poetry and plays.[25][27] They had one child, Robert, born 1906.[28]

He received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree in 1938.[29] American artist Kathryn Woodman Leighton painted a portrait of Trine in the early 1930s.[30] This painting was given to Knox College by his widow in 1960.[30] A 50th anniversary edition of In Tune With The Infinite – Fullness of Peace, Power and Plenty was published in 1947.[3] Bobbs-Merrill published a commemorative book The Best of Ralph Waldo Trine in 1957.[3]

Trine and his wife retired to a retirement community for religious professionals in 1955.[31] He died in 1958 in Claremont, California, at the age of 92.[2][7]

Published works

He wrote more than a dozen books, writing into his 70s.[2][7]

What All the World's A-Seeking
The Greatest Thing Ever Known
Character-Building Thought Power
This Mystical Life of Ours
Thoughts From the Highway
In the Hollow of His Hand
The Higher Powers of Mind & Spirit
The Wayfarer on the Open Road
World's Balance Wheel
Land of Living Men
Character Building Thought Power
The New Alignment of Life
In the Fire of the Heart
Power That Wins (with Henry Ford)
Thoughts From Trine: An Anthology
My Philosophy and My Religion
Through the Sunlit Year
Winning of the Best
The Man Who Knew
In Tune With The Infinite: Fullness of Peace, Power and Plenty


  1. ^ "Today's Birthdays". Kokomo Tribune. Kokomo, Indiana. September 9, 1930 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  2. ^ a b c "Online Collection of New Thought Works by Ralph Waldo Trine". 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Melton 1999, p. 1178.
  4. ^ a b Leonard 1906, p. 1805.
  5. ^ "Answers". Kansas City Times. Kansas City, Missouri. March 2, 1910 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  6. ^ The Wisconsin alumni magazine, Volume 1 Number 5 (February 1900, p. 228)
  7. ^ a b c d e Wilson, Fox & Allen 2013, p. 801.
  8. ^ a b Colledge 1907, p. 608.
  9. ^ Iacobbo 2004, p. 114.
  10. ^ McConnell 1995, p. 38.
  11. ^ Newsweek 1947, p. 84.
  12. ^ Jones & Woodbridge 2011, p. 32.
  13. ^ "Said Henry Ford to Ralph Waldo Trine". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 7, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  14. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 16, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  15. ^ "Ralph Waldo Trine online Library Collection". New Thought Library. 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  16. ^ "Is there a Law of Life Higher than Man?". News-Review. Roseburg, Oregon. September 12, 1936 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  17. ^ "What Shall We Do To Succeed?". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 6, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  18. ^ "Henry Ford talks Sense to an Old Friend". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 8, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  19. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / "Most ailments come from eating too much" says Henry Ford". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. April 20, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  20. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / "Prevention is the thing" says Henry Ford, discussing health problems". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. April 27, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  21. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / "I don't believe in age limits" says Henry Ford". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. May 4, 1929 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  22. ^ Patrick Bridgwater (1985), The German Poets of the First World War, Croom Helm Ltd. Page 38.
  23. ^ Melton 2003, p. 759.
  24. ^ Trine & Martin 2002, p. 7.
  25. ^ a b Lyons 1922, p. 605.
  26. ^ Knox College questionnaire filled out by Trine in 1936. It is on file at the college library in Alumni file No. 818.
  27. ^ "Mrs. Ralph Waldo Trine Talented Also". San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino, California. August 4, 1938 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  28. ^ In Knox University library file for Ralph Waldo Trine – The Centennial Directory of Knox People (Dec 28, 1936)
  29. ^ News Release from Knox College dated June 7, 1938 received from their library they have in Alumni file #818 (Trine, Ralph Waldo).
  30. ^ a b "Two Paintings Presented to Knox College". Galesburg Register-Mail. Galesburg, Illinois. March 21, 1960 – via Newspapers.com open access.
  31. ^ "Ralph Waldo Trine". New Thought Wisdom. 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2016.


  • Newsweek (April 1947). Newsweek. Newsweek, Incorporated (Volume 29). Fifty years ago Ralph Waldo Trine, who obviously derived his name from the Sage of Concord, wrote his most popular work. The book was translated into twenty languages, including Esperanto, and more than a million and a quarter copies have been sold since 1897.
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Ralph Waldo Trine
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