History of Adyar Library and Research Centre
Theosophist Henry Steel Olcott, who was also the President cum founder of the Theosophical Society, founded the Adyar Library in the year 1886. The Adyar Library initially was a small private collection of Olcott’s and Madame Blavatsky. The core of the library was formed with his collection comprising of about 200 books in 24 languages. But by the end of 1887, the collection had increased to 12,000 volumes of books and 3,700 manuscripts. The library was at first situated inside the headquarters of the Theosophical Society but in 1966 it was moved to a separate building, the Adyar Library Building. The library also houses a public museum that shows old books and manuscripts. The Adyar library is also used by post-graduate students in Sanskrit and Indology of the University of Madras.
It is said that between the years 1910 and 1911, the library was under a German scholar named Dr. Schraader and his assistant a Dutch journalist by the name Johann van Manen, who could speak several languages including Tibetan. And over the years, the library has drawn workers from many nations, like back in 1956, three Americans, all formerly members of the Theosophical Society in the American headquarters, were working staff in the library.
The Adyar Library and Research Centre's journal named 'Brihmavidya' is being published since 1937. It contains articles on various aspects of eastern culture such as religion, philosophy and literature by internationally renowned scholars. This library has several significant publications like the Pali Text Society, the critical editions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, publications from the Harvard Oriental Series, and few others from Indological research institutions of all over the world.
Visiting Information on Adyar Library and Research Centre
The nearest railway station to the library is the Chennai Central station which is at a mere distance of 12.4 km and the Chennai International Airport is at a nearby distance of 15 km from the library.