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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.

Ralph Waldo Trine
Ralph Waldo Trine, ca. 1897
Ralph Waldo Trine, ca. 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



Early lifeEdit

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]

Mid lifeEdit

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][8] Trine earned a large cash prize for an essay he wrote in the late 1800s on how education lowered crime.[9] 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.[9]

In 1892, Trine was both a student and teacher of rhetoric at Emerson College where he had an influence on E. W. Kenyon, who went on to become the father of the Word of Faith Movement.[10]

Trine moved to Mount Airy, New York area where he built a cabin when he was 30 years old. 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.[7]

Trine was influenced by writings of Emmet Fox, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Drummond.[3][8] 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.[7][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.[3][19][20][21][22][23][24]

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.[25] Trine's books of the early twentieth-century on New Thought ideas have promoted and sold more than any other of this genre.[7] The basic principles that Trine wrote about were later published by other self-help authors like Napoleon Hill, David Schwartz and Brian Tracy.[26]

Later lifeEdit

Trine received an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree in 1938.[27] He and his wife retired to a retirement community for religious professionals in 1955.[28]


Grace Steele Hyde, Mrs Ralph Waldo Trine, Who's who among the women of California

Trine married Grace Steele Hyde in Mohawk, New York, in 1898.[3][29][30] She was a graduate of Curry College in 1897 and wrote poetry and plays.[29][31] They had one child, Robert, born 1906.[32]


Trine died in 1958 in Claremont, California, at the age of 92.[2][8]


American artist Kathryn Woodman Leighton painted a portrait of Trine in the early 1930s.[33] This painting was given to Knox College by his widow in 1960.[33] 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]

Published worksEdit

He wrote more than a dozen books, writing into his 70s.[8][34]

  • What All the World's A-Seeking, 1896[2]
  • In Tune With The Infinite: Fullness of Peace, Power and Plenty, 1897[2]
  • The Greatest Thing Ever Known, 1898.[2]
  • Character-Building Thought Power, 1899.[2]
  • Every Living Creature: Heart Training Through The Animal World, 1899
  • Charakterbildung durch Gedankenkräfte (in German). 1906.
  • This Mystical Life of Ours, 1907[2]
  • Thoughts From the Highway,1912 (2011)[2]
  • In the Hollow of His Hand, 1915
  • The Higher Powers of Mind & Spirit, 1917
  • The Wayfarer on the Open Road, 1919
  • World's Balance Wheel, 1920
  • 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), 1929[3][35]
  • Thoughts From Trine: An Anthology
  • My Philosophy and My Religion
  • Through the Sunlit Year
  • Winning of the Best
  • The Man Who Knew[34]


  1. ^ "Today's Birthdays". Kokomo Tribune. Kokomo, Indiana. September 9, 1930 – via  .
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "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 m Melton 1999, p. 1178.
  4. ^ a b Leonard 1906, p. 1805.
  5. ^ "Answers". Kansas City Times. Kansas City, Missouri. March 2, 1910 – via  .
  6. ^ The Wisconsin alumni magazine, Volume 1 Number 5 (February 1900, p. 228)
  7. ^ a b c d "Ralph Waldo Trine (1866–1958) / One of the most widely-read of all New Thought writers". 2016 – via  .
  8. ^ a b c d Wilson, Fox & Allen 2013, p. 801.
  9. ^ a b Colledge 1907, p. 608.
  10. ^ A Different Gospel, D.R. McConnell, Hendrickson Publishers, 1988,1995, pages 38-42.
  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  .
  14. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 16, 1929 – via  .
  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  .
  17. ^ "What Shall We Do To Succeed?". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 6, 1929 – via  .
  18. ^ "Henry Ford talks Sense to an Old Friend". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 8, 1929 – via  .
  19. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / A Series of Intimate Conversations between Henry Ford and Ralph Waldo Trine". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 9, 1929 – via  .
  20. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / "When people talk about discouragement I don't know what they mean – I have never had it," says Henry Ford". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. March 23, 1929 – via  .
  21. ^ "Henry Ford on Success in Life / "The progress of the world in our times to a great extent through machinery," says Henry Ford". The Evening News. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. April 6, 1929 – via  .
  22. ^ "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  .
  23. ^ "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  .
  24. ^ "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  .
  25. ^ Melton 2003, p. 759.
  26. ^ Trine & Martin 2002, p. 7.
  27. ^ News Release from Knox College dated June 7, 1938 received from their library they have in Alumni file #818 (Trine, Ralph Waldo).
  28. ^ "Ralph Waldo Trine". New Thought Wisdom. 2015. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  29. ^ a b Lyons 1922, p. 605.
  30. ^ Knox College questionnaire filled out by Trine in 1936. It is on file at the college library in Alumni file No. 818.
  31. ^ "Mrs. Ralph Waldo Trine Talented Also". San Bernardino County Sun. San Bernardino, California. August 4, 1938 – via  .
  32. ^ In Knox University library file for Ralph Waldo Trine – The Centennial Directory of Knox People (Dec 28, 1936)
  33. ^ a b "Two Paintings Presented to Knox College". Galesburg Register-Mail. Galesburg, Illinois. March 21, 1960 – via  .
  34. ^ a b "Ralph Waldo Trine (1866–1958): One of the most widely-read of all New Thought writers". Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  35. ^ "New Books in Public Library". Santa Ana Register. Santa Ana, California. August 2, 1929 – via  .


External linksEdit