Theosophical Society in America

History and Founders

Founded in 1875, the Theosophical Society is an international organization headquartered at Adyar, Chennai (Madras), India. It encourages open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages and respect the unity of all life.

Theosophical Society in America-Wheaton Headquarters

The Theosophical Society in America, located in Wheaton, Illinois

The Theosophical Society in America is a section of the worldwide organization. It was founded in New York City by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (a Russian noblewoman); Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (an American attorney); William Quan Judge (also an attorney); and a handful of other people in search of the Ancient Wisdom. Mme. Blavatsky was the first Russian woman to be naturalized as an American citizen. As a young woman, she traveled worldwide in search of wisdom about life and the reason for human existence. Eventually, Blavatsky brought the spiritual wisdom of the East and that of the ancient Western mysteries to the modern West, where they were virtually unknown. Her writings became the first exposition of what is today known as modern Theosophy.

In 1926, the American Section constructed its national center in Wheaton, Illinois, on a beautiful 42-acre campus called Olcott in honor of the Society’s co-founder and first president, Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.

The Wheaton Campus

The Theosophical Society’s campus is open to the public daily, and its buildings are wheelchair accessible. Visitors may walk its outdoor labyrinth, visit a world-class spiritual library, shop at the Quest Bookshop (also online), meditate at one their serene gardens, or attend a variety of public programs.

Olcott is a place of wise inspiration, strength, and beauty.

Olcott is the administrative headquarters of the Theosophical Society in America, but it is also a place where members and the public may participate in courses, workshops, retreats, lectures, and seminars on a wide variety of spiritual topics. It is a busy center and a beautiful place, providing a focal point for the energies and efforts of members throughout the American Section.

The Theosophical Society in America

  • Has a Vision of wholeness that inspires a fellowship united in study, meditation, and service.
  • Has a Mission of encouraging open-minded inquiry into world religions, philosophy, science, and the arts in order to understand the wisdom of the ages, respect the unity of all life, and help people explore spiritual self-transformation.
  • Has an Ethic holding that our every action, feeling, and thought affect all other beings and that each of us is capable of and responsible for contributing to the benefit of the whole.

Find Out More

The Theosophical Society in America offers weekly public talks and workshops on mind-body-spirit topics including yoga, meditation, spirituality, religion, healing, and much more.