Louis William Rogers, commonly known as L.W. Rogers, was an influential figure in American history. He authored numerous books on reincarnation, life after death, karma, and philosophical idealism.
L.W. Rogers was born in Iowa. He led a diverse and impactful life as a teacher, railway brakeman, trade union functionary, socialist political activist, and newspaper editor. His contributions spanned multiple fields, leaving a lasting legacy.
Rogers began his career as a teacher in the late 1870s, teaching for five years in Iowa and Kansas. His path took a turn when he transitioned to become a brakeman on various railways, including the Kansas City, Springfield & Memphis, Wabash & Western, Santa Fe, and Chicago, Burlington & Quincy.
His involvement in the labor movement deepened during the Burlington railroad strike of 1888 when he supported striking locomotive engineers, ultimately resulting in his dismissal from Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. Undeterred, Rogers embarked on a mission to support the strikers, delivering public speeches along the Burlington route, advocating for their cause.
Transitioning from his role as a railway worker, Rogers ventured into journalism and established the Railroad Patriot, a newspaper in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1889. Although short-lived, this foray into newspaper publishing marked the beginning of his engagement with labor-related media.
Rogers then moved to Colorado in 1889 and played an active role in the Brotherhood of Railroad Brakemen (BRB), editing newspapers such as the Denver Patriot and the Vona Herald. In 1893, he helped establish the Wisconsin State Federation of Labor.
Rogers's significance in history is primarily associated with his involvement in the American Railway Union (ARU) and the Pullman Strike of 1894. As a veteran trade unionist, Rogers joined the ARU and served on its Executive Board, assuming the role of editor for the organization's newspaper, Railway Times.
Following the failed Pullman Strike, Rogers and other ARU officials were charged with contempt of court. Their decision to forego bail demonstrated their commitment to the labor movement and willingness to fight the perceived injustice.
Subsequently, Rogers experienced a shift in focus, transitioning into mysticism. In 1903, he joined the Theosophical Society in America (TSA), becoming deeply engrossed in the Theosophical movement. His dedication led him to ascend through the ranks, serving as Vice President of the TSA from 1918 to 1920 before assuming the presidency in 1931.
Additionally, he served as the editor of TSA's periodicals, Ancient Wisdom and The Voice, in later years.
Louis William Rogers passed away on April 18, 1953, in Santa Barbara, California.