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The Algeo HPB Letters and John Cooper

Apr 20, 2006 01:15 AM
by gregory

I refer to the comment in a recent posting regarding the Blavatsky letters:

“After John Cooper died, John Algeo declared his contract with Cooper concerning
the letters null and void.  Whatever decisions John Algeo and  his reformed
"committee" make concerning the publication of those  letters, had nothing to
do with any previous agreements with Cooper, nor was Cooper's research included
in that volume.”

As John’s Literary Executive I am compelled to comment.

I will not give an account at this time of the outrageous and despicable manner
in which Algeo dealt with John’s widow in the days and weeks after John’s
death. That is a story to be told one day, and I will tell it.

Algeo may have “declared his contract with Cooper concerning the letters null
and void” and to have proceeded accordingly. An easy, if immoral, position to
take when dealing with a grieving and ill widow. Unfortunately for Algeo, the
contract provided for rights which were inherited by John’s heirs which Algeo
(even allowing that he may consider himself a higher authority than any court)
cannot simply dissolve. But he had the advantage of dealing with a distraught
and devastated family – and of being able to ignore moral principles. He also
had the advantage of the substantial assets of the TS in America and of its
attorneys with which to threaten a widow and her children.

The claim that John’s research was not included in the Algeo volume is – let me
use plain language – a blatant, scandalous and bare-faced lie. I have beside me
as I write (i) the Algeo volume, (ii) John’s PhD thesis on the Blavatsky letters
and (iii) a copy of the manuscript sent by John to the TPH before his death. If
I compare them I find sentence after sentence reproduced but for a word or two.
Does anyone seriously believe that, between the time of John’s death and the
publication of the Algeo volume, the complete text was re-researched and
created anew? Including letters that John had discovered? Without any reliance
on John’s work, Algeo or his puppets, acting independently, just happened to
find the same material?

I note that the only condition put by John’s heirs on the use by the TPH of all
his material (including the first volume and everything else he had collected)
was that no changes would be made to John’s writing without prior consent. The
entire collection of John’s materials on the Blavatsky correspondence would
then have been provided to the TPH. This condition was obviously unacceptable.

The suggestion that John included “fake” letters is ridiculous. John, as an
historian, considered it important to include controversial, and possibly
dubious, letters so that these could be considered and any impression that the
correspondence had been “censored” avoided. Contentious letters were, in John’s
work, clearly identified and the arguments for and against their origin
considered. This is the approach of a scholar, rather than that of a “true
believer” or a hagiographer.

All of John’s material is now accessible at the National Library of Australia.

Dr Gregory Tillett

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