The Theosophical Society in America

Emily Sellon Memorial Library

emilysEmily Sellon Memorial Library
The New York Theosophical Society
240 E 53 Street (second floor)
Between 2nd and 3rd Ave.
New York, NY 10022-5201
(212) 753-3835

LIBRARY HOURS (Eastern Time)
Monday, Wednesday and Friday
11:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Saturday 12:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Online Catalog

The Emily Sellon Memorial Library is New York's premier Library for research on Theosophy and related fields of Esotericism, Religion, Philosophy and Science. The Library maintains one of the best collections of the works of H.P. Blavatsky and related Theosophists on the East Coast, and is strong in areas of Gnosticism, Hermetica, Parapsychology, and the Healing Arts. Its catalogue is available online at

The origin of the Library goes back to 1875 when Madame Helena Blavatsky, Colonel H. S. Olcott and others founded the Theosophical Society in New York City. As part of the organization's work provisions were made for establishing a Library and an attempt at accomplishing this was initiated.

When the local branch was rechartered in 1897 as the New York Theosophical Society an effort was made to create the nucleus of such a Library. By 1933 the collection had grown to the size of requiring a full-time librarian. The job fell to Emily Sellon, who catalogued and worked out the system of classification now in use by the Library. Emily was a great lover of books, and after her retirement from this post she and her husband, John Sellon, sustained her vision of maintaining such a collection through a generous endowment which has allowed the Library to become a major resource for material relating to the work of the Theosophical Society.

Membership in the Library is free for members in good standing of the New York Theosophical Society.

Non-members of the Society may borrow books by applying for a patron registration form from the librarian, and paying a $20 annual user fee.

Members of the Library may borrow up to three books at a time for a period of four weeks. Materials maybe renewed unless reserved by another patron.

Library members will be charged ten cents a day per book for overdue books.

Lost books will be charged at the replacement cost plus a $10 fee for processing.

The Emily Sellon Memorial Library operates under the aegis of the New York Theosophical Society, a tax-exempt, nonprofit institution, part of the Theosophical Society, a worldwide organization with branches in over 60 countries. Its objects are:

  1. To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.

  2. To encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy, and science.

  3. To investigate unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in humanity.

Membership in the Theosophical Society is open to all who are in sympathy with its Three Objects. Its international headquarters is in Adyar, India, and its American headquarters is in Wheaton, Illinois, where world-famous libraries are maintained.

The Theosophical Society has no dogma, and it should be remembered that the views expressed in various books on theosophical or esoteric subjects reflect only the opinions of their authors. The purpose of the Library is to enlarge concepts and stimulate thought. The Library has on its shelves many books containing imaginative notions and even errors of fact issued as private revelations. We urge readers to decide for themselves what is realistic, scientific and impersonal.


New York Theosophical Society Homepage

Emily Sellon Memorial Library Directions

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Located between 2nd and 3rd Ave on the second floor.

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