Theosophical Society in America

Theosophical Society in America

The Theosophical Society in America is the legal name for one of two organizations that developed from the Theosophical Society.

The Theosophical Society was founded on 17 November 1875 in New York by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, William Quan Judge and Henry Steel Olcott. Blavatsky and Olcott (who served as the Theosophical Society's first president), moved to Adyar in 1878; the headquarters of the Theosophical Society were established there, where they remain to this day. In 1886, the American Section of the Theosophical Society was established in New York.

In 1895, 75 lodges resigned from the Theosophical Society and elected Judge as president. The organization formed by those 75 lodges is today referred to as Theosophical Society Pasadena.

26 lodges remained in Olcott's TS under the leadership of Alexander Fullerton. It is the organization then comprised of those 26 lodges which is today known as The Theosophical Society in America.

The Theosophical Society in America

The three main groups are the Theosophical Society Pasadena, The United Lodge of Theosophists and the Theosophical Society Adyar with its American headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois.

For the most part, the United Lodge of Theosophists and the Pasadena Group are almost exclusively dedicated to the writings of H.P. Blavatsky. The Adyar Society is not only the largest group but also the most diverse and exhibit the evolution of the theosophical leadership since its inception in 1875.

Thus, as above stated, the original Theosophical Society was now divided into two autonomous branches, two sister societies, each thenceforth to work out its own destiny. The few lodges in America which had shown sympathy with Mrs. Besant and her views formed a new section recognizing Adyar as its headquarters.

The entire Indian Section, a majority of the European, and most of the small Australian Section chose to follow Adyar. Mrs. Besant (Second International President) settled in India, where she devoted her tremendous energy to the development of the Adyar Society, temporarily depleted by the loss of support from the richer and more vigorous American Section and of so many active lodges and members in other countries.


*Joy Mills, "One Hundred Years of Theosophy"

Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society

In January 1898 Tingley founded in New York the "International Brotherhood Organisation" (IBO). In February 1898 she became president of the TS in America. Both the TS in America and the IBO were now renamed to the 'Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society" (UBTS), with Tingley as president. In February 1900 Tingley moved the headquarters from New York to Lomaland. Later, the Society was again renamed to "Theosophische Gesellschaft Point Loma" (TG-Point Loma).


*Ernest T. Hargrove and about 200 other theosophists founded the Theosophical Society in America (Hargrove).
*In 1898 "Francia A. La Due" (also called „Blue Star“) and "William H. Dower" from the UBTS-Loge in Syracuse founded the Temple of the People.
*The Theosophical Society of New York, also called the "Independent Theosophical Society"was founded in 1899 by "J.H. Salisbury", "Donald Nicholson" und "Harold W. Percival".
* Alice L. Cleather fouded in 1899 in London the Blavatsky Association.
* Robert Crosbie founded in 1909 the United Lodge of Theosophists (ULT) in Los Angeles.

TS Point Loma

After Tingley's death in 1929, Gottfried de Purucker became president. He renamed the society from UBTS to Theosophical Society or Theosophical Society Point Loma.

TS Covina

In 1942 Purucker sold Lomaland for financial reasons and moved the headquarters to Covina. The society was renamed to TS Covina. In 1945 Arthur L. Conger became president.

TS Pasadena

In 1950 and 1951 the headquarters were moved to Pasadena and Altadena, and changed its name to TS Pasadena. After Conger's death, James A. Long became president in a controversial election. In 1971, Grace F. Knoche became president of the TS Pasadena.

TS Point Loma-Covina

Because of James Long's controversial election in 1951, some theosophical lodges separated from the TS Pasadena. The Dutch section of the TS under its president D.J.P. Kok and other societies didn't accept the controversial election. The societies that separated themselves from the TS Pasadena formed the Theosophical Society Point Loma-Covina.


Names of the Society

* 1875 = Theosophical Society
* 1895 = "Theosophical Society in America"
* 1898 = "Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society" (UBTS)
* 1929 = Theosophical Society Point Loma
* 1942 = Theosophical Society Covina
* 1951 = Theosophical Society Pasadena


* 1895-1896 = William Quan Judge
* 1896-1898 = Ernest T. Hargrove
* 1898-1929 = Katherine Tingley
* 1929-1942 = Gottfried de Purucker
* 1942-1945 = no president (management by "Iverson L. Harris")
* 1945-1951 = Arthur L. Conger
* 1951-1971 = James A. Long
* 1971- = Grace F. Knoche


* Campbell, Bruce F.: "Ancient wisdom revived, a history of the Theosophical movement". University of California Press, Berkeley 1980; ISBN 0-520-03968-8
* Fährmann, Johannes: "Theosophen und die Theosophische Gesellschaft". Schatzkammer-Verlag, Buenos Aires 1950
* Frohnmeyer, Leonhard Johannes; Blum-Ernst, Alfred: "Die theosophische Bewegung, ihre Geschichte, Darstellung und Beurteilung". Calwer Vereinsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart 1923
* Fussell, Joseph H.: "Incidents in the history of the theosophical movement, founded in New York city in 1875 by H.P. Blavatsky, continued under William Q. Judge, and now under the direction of their successor, Katherine Tingley". Aryan Theosophical Press, Point Loma 1920
* Kumar, K. Parvathi: "Die theosophische Bewegung". Edition Kulapati, Wermelskirchen 1996; ISBN 3-930637-07-3
* Penzig, Otto: "Die Theosophie und die theosophische Gesellschaft". Pieper, Düsseldorf 1921
* Theosophische Gesellschaft (Hrsg.): "Die Theosophische Gesellschaft, Pasadena". Theosophische Gesellschaft, München 1986

External links

* [ The Theosophical Society in America]
** [ Quest Books (TS Adyar)]
* [ "TS Pasadena"]
* [ TS 1875-1925]
* [ TS 1875-1950]
* [ Homepage der deutschen "Theosophischen Gesellschaft Pasadena"] German

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