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Theosophical Encyclopedia

Zirkoff, Boris de

(1902-1981). Grandnephew of Helena P. Blavatsky who edited her Collected Writings. He was born on March 7, 1902, in St. Petersburg, Russia, to Lydia Dmitriyevna von Hahn, the niece of H. P. Blavatsky. A frail child, tutored at home and mastering several languages, de Zirkoff knew little of his great aunt until he was about 16. Escaping across Finland in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, he settled in Stockholm (1917) with his mother and stepfather. At the home of the Russian Consul he saw The Secret Doctrine for the first time. Its study became the first step of a lifetime dedication to Theosophy.

Zirkoff met Katherine TINGLEY during her European tour as head of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society. She invited him to come to headquarters at POINT LOMA, California, where, in 1924, he resolved to compile Blavatsky’s writings. This project led to a worldwide correspondence and over 50 years of research. Dovetailing with Gottfried de PURUCKERS’s Fraternization Movement, in 1930 a uniform edition of Blavatsky’s writings became an inter-organizational venture. The first four volumes were published by Rider & Co. as The Complete Works of H. P. Blavatsky between 1933 and 1936, however, the Rider edition plates were destroyed in the German bombing of London during World War II.

In 1942 Boris moved to Los Angeles; working independently, he expanded the lost volumes and with the support of Manly P. Hall, as well as the HPB Writings Fund, volumes 5 and 6 were published in 1950 and 1954. In 1956 the Theosophical Society (Adyar) became the sole publisher and distributor of the Blavatsky Collected Writings.

With the help of a small volunteer staff, de Zirkoff edited the journal Theosophia from 1944 to 1981. He also lectured and contributed to theosophical journals around the world. He was awarded the SUBBA ROW MEDAL in 1980.

Boris de Zirkoff died March 4, 1981, after seeing Blavatsky’s first 12 volumes as well as new editions of Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine into print. From his manuscripts for Vols. XIII and XIV the remaining numbered series were completed in 1982 and 1985. A Cumulative Index Vol. XV was published in 1991, leaving only The Key to Theosophy, The Voice of the Silence, Letters, and her Russian writings, to be completed.

D.E.

 

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