James F. Morton
This article uses material from the James F. Morton article on the Lovecraft wiki at Fandom and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.
Created: February 2017
| Updated: February 2017
James Ferdinand Morton, Jr. (October 18, 1870 – October 7, 1941) was an anarchist writer and political activist of the 1900s through the 1920s especially on the topics of the single tax system, racism, and advocacy for women. After about 1920 he was more known as a Bahá'í, a notable museum curator, an esperantist and a close friend of H.P. Lovecraft.
Beginning in 1907 Morton also published a series of articles under "Fragments of a Mental Autobiography" in a journal named Libra which outlines his religious background beginning with Baptist family heritage, goes through Unitarian relatives, and Theosophy exploration, (he was president of the Boston Theosophical Society in 1895) and placing Jesus and the Buddha among those on the highest level of his admiration even if he found fault with all scripture and organized religion. In this period Morton was an avid "evangelist" atheist and often spoke out against religion but he had already encountered the Bahá'í Faith which: He became a convert to the religion in later life. Morton is visibly in Bahá'í circles from 1915 on the program of presenters at Green Acre, a Bahá'í center of lectures and conferences from about 1912, and got into some debates with a critic of the religion circa 1916. He also served as a alternate delegate from New York to a national convention of the religion in 1918. He received two letters (aka "Tablets") from `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, in 1919 which were later published in the Bahá'í journal Star of the West. Morton increasingly gave public talks related to the religion from the late 1910s through the 20s and into the 30s and during the same period addressed the topic of Esperanto sometimes as a Bahá'í specifically. He was vice-president of the Esperanto League for North America, and was the lead teacher of that language at the Ferrer Center (a long-running anarchist school) in New York City.