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About Us - History

What is the Theosophical Society?

The Theosophical Society is an organization dedicated to the promotion of harmony among all people and the encouragement of the study of religion, philosophy and science, to the end that we may better understand ourselves and our place in the universe. The Society stands for complete freedom of individual search and belief. It is dedicated to the promotion of brotherhood and is nonsectarian, nonpolitical and non-dogmatic.

History of the Theosophical Society

The Theosophical Society is a worldwide organization established in New York City in 1875. Its three main founders were Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Colonel Henry Steel Olcott and William Quan Judge.

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a Russian woman of noble birth, was the first woman from that country to become an American citizen Colonel Henry Steel Olcott was a veteran of the American Civil War, successful special investigator for the Government into corruption in the armed service during that war, member of a commission assigned to investigate the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, internationally renowned authority on certain branches of agriculture, and a well-known practicing attorney. His was the administrative genius which built the Society into an international organization whereas Blavatsky's task was that of bringing the spiritual wisdom of the East, along with forgotten Western mysteries, to the Western world, where they were virtually unknown at that time. Associated with these two were William Quan Judge, a young New York attorney, and a number of individuals interested in the philosophy being expounded by Madame Blavatsky. In 1879, the principal founders, Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott, transferred to India and, in 1882, moved the international headquarters of the Society to Adyar, a suburb of Madras (now Chennai) where it has since remained. The Society presently has branches in over sixty countries throughout the world.