James Dillet Freeman

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James Dillet Freeman (March 20, 1912 – April 9, 2003) was a poet and a minister of the Unity Church, a New Thought denomination. Freeman was born Abraham Freedman [1] according to his Delaware Birth Certificate in Wilmington, Delaware but began using the name James very early. His father was Jacob Freedman, who was Jewish and emigrated from Eastern Europe in 1896. James' mother was Sarah Esther Elberson, who was born in New Jersey, 1890. In the mid 1920s Sarah, James and his sister Rose moved to Kansas City, MO, where James eventually went to work at the Unity School as a clerk. It was sometime after 1958 that James began using the pen name, James Dillet Freeman.

Freeman was sometimes referred to as the "poet laureate to the moon" because his poems were twice brought to the moon, "a distinction he shares with no other author." His 1941 "Prayer for Protection" was taken aboard Apollo 11 in July 1969 by Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin, and a microfilm of Freeman's 1947 "I Am There" was left on the moon by James B. Irwin on Apollo 15. Freeman received the inspiration to write 'I Am There' during the death of his first wife Katherine.

Freeman's poems include "Blessings for a Marriage" and "The Traveller."[2] The latter poem was written after one of Freeman's friends had died.

Freeman wrote a history of Unity School of Christianity, "The Story of Unity,"[3] which includes biographies of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. The fourth edition was published in 2000. The flaps of the jacket for this book provides a portrait of the author and further insights about his life and work for Unity. "His affiliation with Unity School of Christianity began in 1929, at the invitation of Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore. Rev. Freeman served as director of Unity's ministerial program for twenty years. He also served as director of Silent Unity, ..., was a member of the Board Trustees and first vice president of Unity School." He retired in 1984.

While James Dillet Freeman worked for Silent Unity and was a writer for the Unity magazine called Daily Word for most of his adult life, he proudly proclaimed on many occasions that he had never joined Unity, revelling in his independent nature and personifying a spirit present throughout Unity and the New Thought Movement. Freeman became a millionaire from his prolific writings. Many of his poems and affirmations were sold to major card companies such as Hallmark.[citation needed]

Freeman's second wife was Vallie May Rey Rhea. They married in 1951, and she suffered from Alzheimer's disease for ten years before passing on in 1993. James Dillet Freeman wrote many moving articles about Vallie's battle with the illness. He and Vallie had no children. James died April 9, 2003. He was 91 years old.


  1. ^ Delaware birth records, 1912 page 72, line 60680
  2. ^ The Traveler Archived March 15, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Freeman, James Dillett, "The Story of Unity," Unity Village, MO: Unity Press, 4th ed., 2000.