TSM History

    The Theosophical Society in Miami & South
    Florida is the oldest Lodge in Florida.  Its
    charter is dated February 9, 1919 and was
    signed by the then International President,
    Annie Besant.
In February 1919 Mr. and Mrs. Hanchett, who traveled constantly throughout the American Section
came to Miami and rented the auditorium of the Woman's Club for three evenings.  The lectures
were well advertised and the first evening found the hall packed and many turned away.  From
these lectures a lodge of 19 members was organized with Mrs. Kate C. Havens of Chicago as
President.  She had been a member of the Society since 1896.
For some time the Lodge met in the Conservatory of Music but by 1925 had rooms in a downtown office
building.  Throughout its long history it has met in various other places in Miami.  In the 1950's it met in
a room in the back of a health food store that was owned by a member.  
    Our former National President,  John Algeo got his start in Theosophy through the Miami Lodge.  He
    has told this story in a letter to us on the occasion of our 75th anniversary in 1994.  In 1947 when he
    was 16 years old he started confirmation classes at the Gesu Catholic Church.  In the course of his
    reading in the Parish Library he came upon a series of booklets on "dangerous heresies," which
    were intended to warn the faithful against what the good Jesuit Fathers thought was wickedness.   
    One of the little booklets was on Theosophy.  John says that he read it and thought to himself, "My
    goodness, but that sounds interesting."

A few weeks after that he noticed an ad about a meeting of the Theosophical Society in the paper and
decided to see for himself what the "dangerous heretics" looked like up close.  He was given the book
Elementary Theosophy by L.W. Rogers and that sold him.  He joined in August 1947.  John said that this
story has a moral:  "We should not worry about critical comments and unfair reports, or about being called
names and misunderstood.  Those who are seeking will find in whatever reports come their way that which
they need to find.  Truth is great and will prevail over and even out of falsehood.

John and other early members have told of the socials and covered dish suppers at lodge quarters and
also in members' homes.   After every meeting most of them went to Walgreen's for tea and toast and to
continue the discussion.  One of the members owned a small yacht and took the whole lodge on a sailing
trip to some islands in the Atlantic.  One of the members at that time was an ex-general, the deposed
president of a Central American country, who had a magnificent house on Miami Beach, in which he used to
host visitors and have all the lodge members as guests for supper.

    In 1960 the Lodge bought a garage apartment on NE 62 Street in Miami across from the Notre Dame
    Academy, a Roman Catholic girls' high school.  They renovated it, adding a room in the front that
    became our meeting room and bookstore.  The library took up the back room.  In 1962 the work was
    finished and they moved into their new quarters.

During the 1980's we realized for a variety of reasons that it was necessary for us to move.  We looked
around Miami for many years but could not find a location that we could afford that was suitable.  It was in
1993 that the opportunity came for us to move to our current location here in Deerfield Beach, a shopping
center with walk-by as well as drive-by traffic.  It also already had several complementary businesses,
including a yoga center, a massage therapist, a vegetarian restaurant and others.  We were able to sell our
Miami facilities to the Roman Catholic Church and we moved in the summer of 1993.

    It was a good move for us, After the first year of our move the membership rose to over 100 and
    has been growing ever since!  We are very grateful to the hundreds of Theosophists that came
    before us, most of them unknown to us, who have made it possible for us to own this building, and
    to whom we thank for building up our extensive library and our bookstore.


There is no religion higher than Truth.

Theosophical Society
in Miami & South Florida
831 SE 9th Street
Deerfield, Florida, 33441, USA

Phone:  954-420-0908

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