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Re: "Hidden away"

Sep 04, 2004 08:58 AM
by Daniel H. Caldwell


Thanks for your comments.

I will give a few remarks but will NOT name "names".

I have worked with different theosophists, independent 
theosophical researchers/historians and various theosophical 
libraries and archives.

I would say that in general that I have been
given help and access in the majority of cases but not always.

In some cases I was allowed to take my photocopy machine
into the archives and copy whatever I wanted to! That was

In other cases I would request a specific item
and sometimes I was told no you can't see it or 
yes you can see the document but you cannot have
a photocopy.

In some cases I have been told you can see this document
but you must promise not to reveal its existence to
anyone else. God, I hate those offers of help!

5 years ago one prominent Theosophist promised me
copies of several microfilm rolls of documents but
5 years later still hasn't found the time to
provide the duplicate reels to me. I even offered to have
a special messenger pick the film up in their
city and have it duplicated in their city and
then arrange for my copies to be sent to me. I'm
still waiting....

One independent theosophical historian contacted
me and in the course of our communication it was
discovered he/she had items I needed and I had
items he/she needed. It was agreed that we would
share the documents but at the last minute the
historian ceased communicating with me and all
subsequent attempts to contact him/her has been unsuccessful.

I think for the most part institutions and individuals have
been very cooperative and helpful in providing me with
material and assisting me in my research. But there are
some notable exceptions and some of those were quite surprising
and puzzling!

And I should say that I have also shared with other
students and researchers material that I have. And the 
establishment of my Blavatsky Archives on the Internet
<> was
prompted by my desire to share hard to find material
with as many people as possible.

And the response I have received to this publishing
endeavor has been for the most part very positive.

But one theosophical historian was very upset that
I was publishing on my website various articles by
William Emmette Coleman. I'm sure he/she will be
quite upset when I publish Coleman's material
in a book which I am working on right now.

When I published some of HPB's Esoteric documents
and even Judge's 1894 diary 
I received some very nasty emails and letters from
upset Blavatsky students who no longer cooperate with
me and send me material!

My publishing of the portraits of the two masters on
my website has caused a few of my colleagues and
contacts to cease communication with me. And some
of them no longer recommend my website.

And I know that when I make comments and bring up
controversial issues on the WWW about Judge, Crosbie, 
Bailey, , Besant, Leadbeater, etc., I risk
losing access to materials and communication
and cooperation with certain Theosophical students.

Case in point. When I brought up the plagiarism charge
surrounding Madame Blavatsky, one of my colleagues
was upset enough that he/she would no longer work on
a Blavatsky project that the two of us had agreed on.

Now I'm rambling so I will stop.


--- In, "kpauljohnson" <kpauljohnson@y...> 
> Dear Anton, 
> I can only speak anecdotally and describe the high and low points 
> my experience with research in Theosophical archives. In London 
> Paris, I was given free access to the archives and full cooperation 
> from the members in charge of them. I never needed to use the 
> Olcott Library but Elizabeth Trumpler was fully cooperative and 
> helpful with the photo on the cover (and inside) Initiates-- the 
> first foldout illustration in a SUNY Press book. Had minor help 
> from Pasadena but didn't really call on them so cannot comment 
> meaningfully.
> In Adyar, though, I was restricted from the archives even while non-
> Theosophist researchers there at the same time (Nancy Fix Anderson, 
> Joy Dixon) were being given access. Reason "we have no archivist 
> duty." Why that reason applied to a longtime member but not to non-
> members perplexed me. Stephen Prothero got full cooperation for 
> Olcott bio later. It's "sensitivity" of subject matter and not 
> staff issues that determine who gets access.
> Greg T can speak for himself and I hope will. Coats was fully 
> cooperative, Burnier fully uncooperative, to him in his researches 
> as I recall him saying. I have also heard one prominent 
> archivist from Europe describe being denied archives access by 
> and not knowing why.
> Daniel has actually published with TPH so ought to know a lot more 
> than I do about their practices.
> Cheers,
> Paul
> --- In, "Anton Rozman" 
> <anton_rozman@y...> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > Hi Paul, Daniel and all,
> > 
> > my appreciation for your work and my sympathy for your 
> professional 
> > pain and concern in front of the impenetrable wall, for there is 
> > inside me also this string that sounds when the note of hidden 
> > treasures echoes. In search of the magic formula: "Open
> > Sesame!" 
> > could you tell us some more about:
> > 
> > What is the status of these archives?
> > Are there any laws about archives theosophical organizations have 
> to 
> > apply?
> > If yes, how the theosophical organizations respect these laws?
> > 
> > Kind regards,
> > Anton
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > --- In, "Daniel H. Caldwell" 
> > <danielhcaldwell@y...> wrote:
> > > Paul,
> > > 
> > > Yes, I do share your concern with this issue. It is a troubling
> > > problem and is not confined just to the Adyar T.S.
> > > 
> > > Daniel
> > > 
> > > --- In, "kpauljohnson" 
> > <kpauljohnson@y...> 
> > > wrote:
> > > > --- In, "Daniel H. Caldwell"
> > > > <danielhcaldwell@y...> wrote:
> > > > 
> > > > > I'm sure there must be some hidden away in the Adyar 
> > > > > or the archives of the E.S.
> > > > > 
> > > > Hi Daniel,
> > > > 
> > > > Do you mean that as a comment on the Adyar archives? As a 
> fellow
> > > > professional librarian, I'd hope you share my concern on that 
> > > subject.
> > > > 
> > > > Paul

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