Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Blavatsky, Helene Petrovna

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BLAVATSKY, Helene Petrovna, theosophist, b. in Russia about 1831; d. in London, England, 8 May, 1891. She was the widow of Gen. Nicephore V. Blavatsky, some time governor of Armenia, and was prominent in the modern movement toward Buddhism or theosophy. Mme. Blavatsky, after spending seven years in a Himalayan retreat studying the mysteries of this subject, came to the United States and was naturalized. About 1875 she founded the Theosophical Society, with Col. Frederick P. Olcott as its president and herself as secretary. The objects of the organization are: 1. To form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood; 2. To study Aryan literature, religion, and science; 3. To indicate the importance of this inquiry; 4. To explore the hidden mysteries of nature and the latent powers of man. Branches of the society were founded in America and in England; and subsequently Mme. Blavatsky returned to India, there to establish the society among the natives. She was the author of "Isis Unveiled: a Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology" (New York, 1877), and was editor of "The Theosophist," published in India. See "The Occult World," by A. P. Sinnett (London, 1884), and "Memoirs of Mme. Blavatsky" by the same author (New York, 1886).