Henry S. Olcott

Henry Steel Olcott was born on August 2, 1832, in Orange, New Jersey. After an early career in agricultural science and journalism, he served during the Civil War as a military investigator of fraud and corruption. This was followed by a career in law, which he later combined with journalism, reporting on Spiritualistic phenomena. In 1875, together with H. P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge, Olcott co-founded The Theosophical Society, and remained President-Founder for life. As its president, he accompanied H. P. Blavatsky to India, where they played key roles in reviving interest in the philosophical and religious scriptures of the Orient. Olcott is especially noted for his work among the Buddhists of Sri Lanka, Burma, and Japan, helping them realize the essential value of their own heritage. His administrative skill and public activities throughout the world were largely responsible for the Society's growth and organizational success. He died in Adyar, Madras, on February 17, 1907. (Link to Biographical Sketch.)