Laura Holloway-Langford

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Laura Carter Holloway-Langford was an American journalist and clairvoyant who became a chela of the Mahatmas.

Early life

Laura Carter was born in Nashville in 1843 to farmer Sam Carter and his wife Ann, who had fourteen children. Laura was educated at the Nashville Female Academy. She married Junius Brutus Holloway, Lieutenant in the Union Army, in 1862. They had one child, Charles, in 1864. However, the marriage quickly fell apart, and ended in divorce. Laura moved to New York.[1]

Writing career

Laura Holloway 2.jpg

In New York, Mrs. Holloway took up writing to support herself. By 1870 she had published a bestselling anthology called Ladies of the White House; or, In the Home of the Presidents. It sold nearly 150,000 copies worldwide, and gave Laura a degree of financial independence. That same year, she advanced in her journalistic career at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, being promoted from reporter to associate editor.She held that position for twelve years.

Mrs. Holloway was also a social activist and lecturer:

She gave readings of literature and poetry and lectured on such topics as coeducation and women journalists. Her most famous lecture, “The Perils of the Hour” (1870), concerned “the obstacles that check the advancement of woman.” A suffragist who knew Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Anna Dickinson, Laura nonetheless criticized “strong-minded women” and their masculine habits. She supported temperance, urging the New York City Board of Education to adopt anti-alcohol textbooks.[2]

Other books that she wrote included:

  • An Hour with Charlotte Bronte, 1883
  • The Hearthstone, or Life at Home, a Household Manual, 1883
  • The Woman’s Story, 1888
  • The Story of a Piano, 1900
  • Atma Fairy Stories, 1903, a children's book inspired by Theosophy

Involvement with Theosophy

In the 1870s, Mrs. Holloway became aware of Theosophy. She read A. P. Sinnett's books Esoteric Buddhism and The Occult World.

In 1884, she traveled to Elberfeld, Germany, to meet Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and other Theosophists, including Francesca Arundale, young George S. Arundale, and Mohini Chatterji. She about six months with Society members, and received several letters from the Mahatmas that year, which have been published by Daniel H. Caldwell in Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas: Published and Unpublished Mahatma Letters to and about Mrs. Laura C. Holloway.[3] Later she wrote of being present at the London studio of artist Hermann Schmiechen when he painted portraits of the Mahatmas.[4]

With Mohini Chatterji, she wrote Man: Fragments of a Forgotten History, using the pseudonym "Two Chelâs".[5]

Seeing the Master

In 1884 Laura Holloway was in the studio of the German artist Hermann Schmiechen, then living in London, where a group of Theosophists including Mme. Blavatsky, Patience Sinnett, Mohini Chatterji, and others, had gathered to witness the attempt of the young artist at painting a portrait of the Master K.H. Writing in Third Person, Laura stated that after the artist started she...

... saw the figure of a man outline itself beside the easel and, while the artist with head bent over his work continued his outlining, it stood by him without a sign or motion. She leaned over to her friend and whispered, "It is the Master KH; he is being sketched. He is standing near Mr. Schmiechen."


"Describe his looks and dress," called out HPB. And while those in the room were wondering over Madame Blavatsky's exclamation, the woman addressed said: "He is about Mohini's height; slight of build, wonderful face full of light and animation; flowing curly black hair, over which is worn a soft cap. He is a symphony in greys and blues. His dress is that of a Hindu—though it is far finer and richer than any I have ever seen before—and there is fur trimming about his costume. It is his picture that is being made."[6]

Later years

When she returned to Brooklyn, she remained a Theosophist, writing articles for The Word, but never became active in the Theosophical Society. Concurrently with her interest in Theosophy, Mrs. Holloway had been attracted to the lifestyle and beliefs of the Shaker community. She moved to a farm in Canaan, New York, and lived there for several decades until her death in 1930. Her body was cremated.[7]

Additional resources

Caldwell, Daniel H. Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas: including Articles by Laura C. Holloway and Letters from H.P. Blavatsky, the Mahatma K.H. and the Mahatma M.

Notes

  1. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[1]
  2. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[2]
  3. Daniel H. Caldwell, Mrs. Holloway and the Mahatmas: Published and Unpublished Mahatma Letters to and about Mrs. Laura C. Holloway, available at The Blavatsky Archives. [3]
  4. Laura C. Holloway, “The Mahatmas and Their Instruments Part II,” The Word (New York), July 1912, pp. 200-206, available at The Blavatsky Archives Portraits of the Mahatmas
  5. Two Chelas, Man: Fragments of a Forgotten History, 1887. The complete text is available at [4]
  6. A Casebook of Encounters with the Theosophical Mahatmas Case 45, compiled and edited by Daniel H. Caldwell
  7. Claudia J. Keenan, Laura Carter Holloway Langford (1843-1930), The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture.[5]