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The Leadbeater Allegations

Jul 25, 2007 02:27 AM
by gregory

Because most amateur Theosophical historians tend to be lazy, they issue
?definitive? statements without taking the trouble (and time and expense)
to consult source material. For example, the allegations against
Leadbeater cannot be discussed seriously without consulting the Helen
Dennis archives in the USA, or the Police files in the State Archives of
NSW. To which might be added: the substantial archives on the case at the
TS International in Pasadena (if they are still open to researchers). The
Adyar TS Archives contain (or contained when I had access to them) a huge
amount of material; I suspect these archives are now closed on this
subject! There is (or was) a large amount of material in the library and
archives of the TS in England.  Likewise, a careful consideration is
required of the material included in Arthur Nethercott?s two volume
biography of Mrs Besant ? he had access to people and documents now long
gone. Almost all the material relating to the 1906 case was published in
various forms and exists in a number of libraries.

Those closest to Leadbeater and his boys to whose recollections I had
access were Russell (Dick) Balfour-Clarke (whom I interviewed at length at
Adyar) and Oscar Kollerstrom (one of the ?boys?, for whose memories I was
reliant on his diaries, what he had told two of his wives (Jean and Brigit
? from whom I received information), and taped interviews with him
undertaken by another researcher). Additionally, Wedgwood?s secretary in
the 1920?s, Rex Henry, met and knew a number of the ?boys? and provided me
with details of what they had told him.

Very importantly, there are letters and (privately published) documents by
the eminent English Theosophist E.L. Gardner, who had obtained material
from people then very much alive and well and close to the ?troubles? both
in 1906 and the 1920?s.

While I have more material than I could reasonably want on Leadbeater and
the allegations against him, I really cannot generate the motivation to do
anything more with it than I have done! The only ?mystery? I would be
interested in pursuing comes from Leadbeater?s career in the Church of
England.  Arthur Nethercott suggested to me in correspondence that there
had been a sexual scandal involving Leadbeater in his pre-Theosophy days.
It would be interesting to know if this is true and if it is, whether it
had any influence on his sudden abandonment of his Anglican appointment
and departure from England (officially to follow HPB). I have not had the
opportunity of tracking down the sources on this.

Dr Gregory Tillett


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