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Works of Florence Scovel Shinn

Portrait of Florence Scovel Shinn [1899] (Public domain)

Florence Scovel Shinn (b. Sept. 24, 1871, d. Oct. 17, 1940) was a New Thought teacher and writer. She resided in New York City most of her life, teaching at the New York Unity Society. She came from a blue-blood family, with a line going back to the Mayflower Biddles. However they were not wealthy. From 1889 to 1897, she was an art student in Phildelphia. There she met her future husband, Everett Shinn (1876-1953), a prominent American artist who was part of a group called “The Eight”, which later became the ‘Ashcan School’ of urban realists. The couple moved to New York City, and both pursued artistic careers, with Florence becoming an illustrator. They divorced in 1912, and Florence apparently turned to New Thought shortly thereafter. In the early 1920s, she wrote and self-published her first book, The Game of Life.

Florence Scovel Shinn’s approach to New Thought is practical, filled with references to popular culture (she made an elaborate parable out of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). Shinn was attempting to bring metaphysical ideas down to earth for everyday people, and she succeeds for the most part. Affirmations are at the center of Shinn’s method. She wrote a huge number of pithy affirmations which are still circulating in the New Thought literature and society at large today. Her books continue to appeal to readers who want guidance in difficult times.

 The Game of Life and How to Play It [1925]

 Your Word Is Your Wand [1928]

 The Secret Door To Success [1941]