The Truth Seeker Magazine …
… is currently being revitalized by Mr. Roderick Bradford who became it’s editor in 2014. Mr. Bradford is a well known and highly regarded contemporary freethought leader who has steadily promoted freethought ideals through his many writings and video productions. Mr. Bradford is the author of D.M Bennett: The Truth Seeker, the definitive biography of the founder of The Truth Seeker and one of the great leaders of the freethought movement in the nineteenth century. Current editions of The Truth Seeker contain many thought provoking articles and historical material.
Please visit thetruthseeker.net to access recent issues, historical materials, videos, and links to related websites.
A Brief History of The Truth Seeker
The Truth Seeker began as a tabloid newspaper on September 1, 1873 and was founded by D.M. Bennett and his wife Mary. The publication was, in their own words:
“Devoted to: science, morals, free thought, free discussions, liberalism, sexual equality, labor reform, progression,
free education and whatever tends to elevate and emancipate the human race.”
“Opposed to: priestcraft, ecclesiasticism, dogmas, creeds, false theology, superstition, bigotry, ignorance,
monopolies, aristocracies, privileged classes, tyranny, oppression, and everything that degrades or burdens mankind
mentally or physically.”
The Bennetts wished to promote reason over superstition. They wanted people to believe in themselves, to be free from the concept of a vengeful god who threatens punishment in a burning hell, to throw off the yoke of the clergy who view themselves as the moral rulers of mankind, and to be free to question superstition and religious dogma. It was considered the most influential freethought publication during the period following the Civil War into the first decades of the 20th Century, known as the Golden Age of Freethought. Though there were other influential freethought periodicals, The Truth Seeker was the only one with a national circulation.
The freethought movement of the late nineteenth century alarmed many religious leaders who thought that the movement’s gaining popularity would eventually spell the end to organized religion. The Truth Seeker was supported by many American leaders including Thomas Edison, Clarence Darrow, Mark Twain, Robert G. Ingersoll, Marshall Gauvin, Joseph McCabe, H.L. Mencken, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Margaret Sanger to name a few.
The Bennetts continued to edit the magazine until 1883 when Eugene MacDonald (editor 1883 – 1909) and his brother George E. Macdonald (editor 1909 – 1937) took over. Charles Lee Smith, along with his associate editors Woolsey Teller and later Robert E. Kuttner, edited the magazine starting in 1937 and created the Truth Seeker Company in 1940 which held ownership of the publication.
James Hervey Johnson’s involvement with The Truth Seeker began in the 1930’s, initially as a contributor to the magazine. Subsequently, Johnson became friends with Charles Smith, acquired ownership of the Truth Seeker Company in 1963, and encouraged Mr. Smith to move himself and the magazine to San Diego, California in 1964. Johnson then became editor within a few months following the death of Smith and remained as editor until his own death in 1988. Subsequent editors have included Bonnie Lange (1988 – 2013) and most recently Roderick Bradford (2014 to present) as described above.
Under Mr. Bradford’s leadership, The Truth Seeker continues its long history of promoting common sense, reason, and a rational approach to life, free from the inherent restrictions of superstition, religious dogma, and the far reaching powers of religious organizations. As the world’s oldest freethought publication, The Truth Seeker continues to promote intellectual liberation and civil liberty.
@2019 - The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust