Frederick James Gould

19 December 1855 - 6 April 1938

F. J. Gould

Frederick James Gould was born in Brighton but brought up in London. He became a chorister at Windsor, and a religious teacher, but left this comfortable position to teach in the East End of London where he tried to reform religious teaching.

He became involved with Charles Watts in the Rationalist and Ethical movements, and was appointed Secretary to Leicester Secular Society in 1899 where he stayed until 1908, during which time he was also elected as a Labour Councillor.

He was particularly interested in moral lessons without theology for children, and was invited to give a series of model lessons in America (1911 and 1913-14) and in India, under Government auspices, in 1913.

After leaving Leicester Secular Society he joined the Positivist Church, first in Leicester, later in London, based on the teachings of Auguste Comte. But shortly after, in 1909, he was one of the first to adopt the term "Humanist" in its modern sense. He wrote The Life-Story of a Humanist, published by Watts & Co, London 1923. He also wrote a History of Leicester Secular Society and a biography of Auguste Comte.

[The photo is from the frontispiece of his autobiography in Leicester Secular Society library.]

Sources and Links

Life Story of a Humanist Extracts
The Childrens Plutarch
David Nash on Gould
Obituary in Nature