Iverson and Helen Harris Papers, 1918 - 1972 (MSS 0130)


Extent: 1.8 Linear feet (5 archives boxes)

Papers of a theosophist and member of the Theosophical Society in Point Loma, California, dating chiefly from the early foundation of Lomaland to the Society's relocation in 1942 to Covina, California. Included are descriptions of the Theosophical Society's Raja Yoga School and the San Diego community in the 1920s, examples of courses taught at the Raja Yoga School and photographic images of the facilities and activities at Lomaland.

Iverson Harris was born in Macon, Georgia, in 1890. His parents were members of the Theosophical Society, and Iverson became active in the Society in 1899 as a young student. In 1946, he became a Member of the Cabinet of the Society.

The Theosophical Society was originally established in New York in 1875 by Madame Helen Blavatsky, and after her death, her successor, Madame Katherine Tingley moved the headquarters to San Diego, California on Point Loma in 1900. The move was facilitated by President McKinley, who had become interested in the relief work Tingley had done after the Spanish American War.

Madame Tingley established the Raja Yoga College at Point Loma, and had a number of other buildings constructed on the same extensive site, named Lomaland.

Harris met his wife, Helen Plummer, the daughter of the Chief Geographer of the United States Forest Service, also an ardent theosophist, at Lomaland, where they were married. Subsequently, the couple accompanied Madame Tingley on her many travels. Iverson Harris was her Secretary and Mrs. Harris became Recording Secretary. After Madame Tingley's death in 1929, Iverson became Financial Agent to Dr. de Purucker, a Member of the Cabinet.

In 1942, as a result of military activity in the San Diego area, the Theosophical Society was moved to Covina, in the Los Angeles area. At that time, Harris became Chairman of the Cabinet and held that position for the next four years.

In 1946, Mr. and Mrs. Harris became personae non grata and left the headquarters.

The primary focus of this collection is the establishment and operation of the Raja Yoga School in Point Loma. The papers are organized into five series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 2) CLASSES TAUGHT BY HELEN HARRIS, 3) NOTES FROM CLASSES ATTENDED BY HELEN HARRIS, 4) LOMALAND ALBUMS, and 5) WRITINGS OF OTHERS.

In the MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series, "Transcript of Interview with Iverson Harris" contains a discussion of the development of the Raja Yoga School from its humble beginnings in 1900 to its completion more than ten years later. The LOMALAND ALBUMS series provides a pictorial record not only of construction at the community but also of the Society's various activities. A scholar's written account of daily routines at the school entitled "Stefan Kronberg, Life at the Raja Yoga School, 1913-1921," can be found in the WRITINGS OF OTHERS series.

Information on subjects studied at the school can be found in the series CLASSES TAUGHT BY HELEN HARRIS and NOTES FROM CLASSES ATTENDED BY HELEN HARRIS.

Secondarily, these papers also document life in the early twentieth century in the San Diego area. For this aspect, the Stefan Kronberg account in the WRITINGS OF OTHERS series is the richest source. He writes enthusiastically of all the local events in which the Raja Yoga School participated, including such national and international receptions and parades as "Swedish Day in San Diego," "Cuba's Liberation Day," the Exposition in Balboa Park in 1915, and the "Friendship Fiesta" in 1917 that promoted better relations between San Diego and Mexico. There are also references to such diverse occurences as the opening in 1919 of the first railway connection to San Diego, floods in 1916 and the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Container List


Box: 1 Folder: 1
Catalog and list of books on Theosophy - Clipping notebooks
Box: 1 Folder: 2
Facts Worth Knowing
Box: 1 Folder: 3
Interesting Bits
Box: 1 Folder: 4
Miscellaneous papers on "Work for Peace" and Theosophy
Box: 1 Folder: 5
Transcript of Interview with Iverson L. Harris, former Chairman of the Cabinet, the Theosophical Society (Point Loma). Tape-recorded by Bob Wright for the San Diego Historical Society, 1971


Box: 1 Folder: 6-7
Elementary Theosophy, 1936 - 1938
Box: 1 Folder: 8
Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy, 1939 - 1940
Box: 1 Folder: 9-10
Secret Doctrine (Part I and II), 1941 - 1945
Box: 2 Folder: 1
Secret Doctrine (Part III), 1941 - 1945
Box: 2 Folder: 2
Theosophy and Modern Science, 1941


Box: 2 Folder: 3
Hebrew Theosophical Terms
Box: 2 Folder: 4
"Man: His Development in Root Races,On the Globes and in the Rounds of Our Change" and "Narada: A Study of the Secret Doctrine"
Box: 2 Folder: 5
Sanskrit - Exercises
Box: 2 Folder: 6
Sanskrit/Devanari - Examinations, exercises
Symbolic Mathematics
Box: 2 Folder: 7
Class notes
Box: 3 Folder: 1
Box: 3 Folder: 2
Box: 3 Folder: 3
Box: 3 Folder: 4
Theosophic light on Christian Texts


Box: 3 Folder: 5
Volume I - The Sources, the Site, and the Surroundings, 1916
Box: 3 Folder: 6
Volume II - The School of Antiquity and the Raja-Yoga College
Box: 4 Folder: 1
Volume III - Part I. The Drama in Lomaland. Part II. Visitors to Lomaland


Box: 4 Folder: 2-6
Morris, Kenneth. The Crestwave of Evolution, 1923
Box: 4 Folder: 7
Tyberg, Judith. The Language of the Gods - Sanskrit Keys to India's Wisdom
Box: 5 Folder: 1
Kronberg, Staffan. Life at the Raja Yoga School: From a Growing Boy's Point of View, 1913 - 1921