Gerald Massey (May 29, 1828 - October 29, 1907) was an English Egyptologist and poet. A practicing druid, Massey was elected Chosen Chief of the Most Ancient Order of Druids from 1880 through 1906. He authored The Book of the Beginnings, The Natural Genesis, and Ancient Egypt: The Light of the World, for which he is best known.
Gerald Massey, a man of many talents, distinguished himself as a social reformer, a poet and an Egyptologist. His fame rested mainly on the six monumental volumes in which he dealt at length on the mythology and religion of Ancient Egypt, and on his poetry. Although he was a capable lecturer, the lectures were not widely circulated, and were privately printed in an obscure volume. It is timely that this valuable collection is once again presented to Massey's increasing public.
Relatively little is known of Massey's career. His humble birth at Gamble Wharf, Hertfordshire, England in 1829 held scant promise for the future. His parents were illiterate--his father was a poorly paid canal boatman. His own early education was meager. Only occasionally was the young Massey able to attend the neighboring school, for which he paid one penny a week. From the age of eight he labored twelve hours a day. At first he found employment in a silk mill. When it was destroyed by fire, he worked as a straw-plaiter. Doubtless there were many such jobs until at fifteen he went to London as an errand boy. Later he was fortunate enough to become a haberdasher's clerk. It is evident that Massey improved his life at every opportunity. Not only did his positions become more responsible, but in his spare time he read literature, and was inspired to write poetry. He even composed a popular song, which was so well-received that it was exhibited in a London shop window. In passing the Editor of "The Athenaeum", London's most distinguished periodical, noticed and bought a copy. The song, "The People's Advent," caught the Editor's fancy to the extent that the composer's name - Gerald Massey - remained in his memory.