Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Iverson and Helen Harris Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 130
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material:
1.8 Linear feet
(5 archives boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1918 - 1972
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.
Scope and Content of Collection
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.
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.
Iverson and Helen Harris Papers, MSS 0130. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
COLLECTION IS STORED OFF-SITE: ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Point Loma Theosophical Society.
Theosophists -- California