Lately I've been thinking about the original founders of the Theosophical Society listed in Colonel Olcott's account, and how little we know about most of them. Googling "founders of the Theosophical Society" leads largely to repeated assertions that one, two or three are the Founders and none of the rest count. Thanks to Marc Demarest, Emma Hardinge Britten is emerging from historical obscurity (although we can't quite say that about fellow-TS-Founder and husband William.) I've written about Charles Sotheran and blogged about Seth Pancoast, but even for me most of the people on this list are terra incognito biographically and bibliographically. So I'd like to propose a hopefully fun project of compiling information about all the forgotten or semi-forgotten TS Founders. I picked one about whom I knew nothing, John Storer Cobb, and have already spent some time researching him online. Will share the results after some more digging but invite other site members to select different little-known figures from the list of founders. This 1950 article (scroll down to "Seventy-five Years Ago") from Theosophia, written by Boris de Zirkoff based on research by Josephine Ransom, is an excellent starting point. But it requires correction on several points, and leaves several large gaps. For example, John Storer Cobb did not "disappear" but continued to be a public figure involved in causes related to those he championed during his TS days, notably cremation. Had thought that De Lara's first name was Daniel, but there was only only Delara family in New York at the time with a grandson b1864 named Daniel and a grandfather b1796 named David.
I list them in rough order of how well known they are now, after the familiar H. P. Blavatsky; Henry Steel Olcott; William Quan Judge, the Invisible 21 (with hyperlinks to the E.H. Britten website for the first two and Google Books references for the rest, if I could find them) are:
D.E. de Lara (David, born Netherlands)
H. M. Stevens