In America, scholarly and popular interest in “oriental religions” resulted in a Daoist representative attending the World’s Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893. American interpreters also carried forth the theme of the universalist aspect of Daoism as illustrated in Samuel Johnson’s 1878 work on “oriental religions” in which a limited philosophical Daoism is shown to be a manifestation of a transcendental “universal religion” independent of any creed or dogma or rituals and united with the celebration of nature as found in the New England Transcendentalists.  By way of contrast, as early as 1853 the first Chinese temple was built in San Francisco and by 1900 there were over 400 such temples stretched along the American west coast, mixing popular Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. This living presence of Daoism was largely ignored by American scholars and mostly engaged by Chinese immigrants.  In 1912, C. H. Bjerregaard gave a series of lectures on The Inner Life and the Tao-Teh-King, discussing the mystical aspects of philosophical Daoism, at the American Theosophical Society; the lectures were then published by the Theosophical Society. Bjerregaard was a newly initiated member of Hazrat Inayat Khan's Sufi Order (Khan was a murshid of the Indian Chishti Order); this tentative relationship between Daoism and Islamic esotericism would be later developed in Europe and America (see below). This publication also marks the beginning of American interests in esoteric Daoism.
Via A Rosemont Journey