IntroAmerican writer, artist and book illustrator
A.K.A.

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Flossie Scovel, Flossie Scovel Shinn
WasArtistWriterIllustrator
FromUnited States of America
TypeArtsCreativityLiterature
Genderfemale
Birth24 September 1871, Camden, Camden County, New Jersey, USA
Death17 October 1940(aged 69 years)
Star signLibra
FamilySpouse:Everett Shinn
Profiles

Florence Scovel Shinn (September 24, 1871 in Camden, New Jersey – October 17, 1940) was an American artist and book illustrator who became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years.

In New Thought circles, Shinn is best known for her first book, The Game of Life and How to Play It (1925). She expressed her philosophy as:

"The invisible forces are ever working for man who is always ‘pulling the strings’ himself, though he does not know it. Owing to the vibratory power of words, whatever man voices, he begins to attract."--The Game of Life, Florence Scovel Shinn

Early life

Florence Scovel was born in New Jersey, the daughter of Alden Cortlandt Scovel and Emily Hopkinson Scovel. She was educated in Philadelphia where she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and there met her future husband, the artist Everett Shinn (1876–1953). After marriage they moved into a studio apartment at 112 Waverly Place, near Washington Square, New York. Everett built a theatre next door, and wrote three plays in which Florence played a leading role. Florence and Everett divorced in 1912.

Work in Illustration

Florence worked as an illustrator in the early 1900s. She illustrated fiction in Harper's and other magazines, as well as popular novels such as Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1901). The Society of Illustrators elected her to an Associate Membership in 1903, even though it did not admit women to full membership in the organization until 1922.

Writings and New Thought

Her metaphysical works began with her self-published The Game of Life and How to Play it in 1925. Your Word is Your Wand was published in 1928 and The Secret Door to Success in 1940. After her death another two works were published, The Power Of The Spoken Word in 1945 by Shinn Press and The Magic Path Of Intuition. This last book was published by Louise Hay in 2013 who received from a rare-books dealer a small, typewritten unpublished manuscript of the last writings of Florence Scovel Shinn, accompanied by a cover letter which said in part:

"Several Months ago we came across a unique item from that collection that we think you may have an interest in. The item is an original typewritten manuscript by Florence Scovel Shinn, The Magic Path of Intuition. We're contacting you to see if you or Hay House have an interest in purchasing this rare original manuscript positioned to share its content with the world."

The Game of Life and How to Play it includes quotes from the Bible and anecdotal explanations of the author's understanding of God and man. Her philosophy centers on the power of positive thought and usually includes instructions for verbal or physical affirmation.


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"The Unitarians have such nice children's parties", a drawing published in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 1904.
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Childhood's Happy Hour, from Harper's Monthly magazine, August 1903.

One example typical of Scovel Shinn advice was:

"It is safe to say that all sickness and unhappiness come from the violation of the law of love. A new commandment I give unto you, 'Love one another,' and in the Game of Life, love or good-will takes every trick."

Her advice is usually accompanied by a "real life" anecdote, as for the above "Love one another" advice:

A woman I know, had, for years an appearance of a terrible skin disease. The doctors told her it was incurable, and she was in despair. She was on the stage, and she feared she would soon have to give up her profession, and she had no other means of support. She, however, procured a good engagement, and on the opening night, made a great "hit." She received flattering notices from the critics, and was joyful and elated. The next day she received a notice of dismissal. A man in the cast had been jealous of her success and had caused her to be sent away. She felt hatred and resentment taking complete possession of her, and she cried out, "Oh God don't let me hate that man." That night she worked for hours "in the silence."

She said, "I soon came into a very deep silence. I seemed to be at peace with myself, with the man, and with the whole world. I continued this for two following nights, and on the third day I found I was healed completely of the skin disease!" In asking for love, or good will, she had fulfilled the law, ("for love is the fulfilling of the law") and the disease (which came from subconscious resentment) was wiped out.."

Her books Your Word Is Your Wand and The Game of Life and How To Play It were released as audiobooks in 2014 and 2015, respectively, with narration by actress Hillary Hawkins.

Shinn is considered part of the New Thought movement, as her writings follow in the tradition of Phineas Quimby (1802–1866), Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849–1925), and both Charles Fillmore (1854–1948) and Myrtle Fillmore (1845–1931), co-founders of the Unity Church.

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Motivational author Louise Hay acknowledges her as an early influence.

Works

Published work during her life

YearTitle
1925The Game of Life and How to Play it
1928Your Word is Your Wand
1940The Secret Door to Success

Published work after her death

YearTitle
1945The Power of the Spoken Word
1989Collected works: F.S. Shinn, The Wisdom of Florence Scovel Shinn: Four complete books
2013The Magic Path of Intuition