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Henry Steel Olcott Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105248).

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Olcott, Henry Steel (02 August 1832–17 February 1907), cofounder with Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society and an important Western advocate of Buddhism, cofounder with Helena Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society and an important Western advocate of Buddhism, was born in Orange, New Jersey, the son of Henry Wyckoff Olcott, a businessman, and Emily Steel. He was raised in New York City. At sixteen, after the failure of his father’s business, he worked on an uncle’s farm in Ohio, where he took an interest in both Spiritualism, then at the height of its vogue, and agricultural science. In 1855 Olcott opened an agricultural school in New Jersey and as its director wrote several books and articles on farming. The school failed in 1859. He was assistant agricultural editor of the ...