Claude Fayette Bragdon

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Claude Bragdon

Claude Fayette Bragdon was an American architect, artist, writer, and publisher who was active in the Theosophical Society in America. He operated the Manas Press in Rochester, New York, and was the first publisher of P. D. Ouspensky's work, Tertium Organum. Dr. James Cousins referred to him as "Claude Bragdon of America to whom Architecture is Theosophy in stone."[1]

Early life and education

Architectural work

Design work

Early in his career, Bragdon designed bindings for books like these:

  • At the Sign of the Sphinx: A Book of Charades by Carolyn Wells, New York: Stone and Kimball, 1896.[2]
  • Stories from the Chap-book; Being a Miscellany of Curious and Interesting Tales, Histories, &c, a compilation by many authors. Chicago: Herbert S. Stone and Company, 1896. [3]

After giving up his architectural practice, Bragdon went to New York City, where he designed sets for Broadway plays.

Theosophical Society work

Blueprint of Entrance Arch, 1940

Influence on Olcott headquarters campus

Writings

Bragdon frequently wrote articles for Theosophical magazines. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists over 90 titles by or about Bragdon. He also wrote excellent books about architecture, art, and Theosophy:

  • The Arch Lectures.
  • Architecture and Democracy. 1918. Available at Internet Archive.
  • The Beautiful Necessity: Seven Essays on Theosophy and Architecture. 1910. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. 109 p. Available at Internet Archive, Internet Archive, Hathitrust, Google Books, and Google Books.
  • Episodes from an Unwritten History. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. In 1910, an enlarged second edition was published. Available atInternet Archive.
  • The Eternal Poles.
  • Four Dimensional Vistas. 1916. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Available at Internet Archive and Internet Archive.
  • The Frozen Fountain.
  • The Golden Person of the Heart.
  • Man the Square: a Higher Space Parable. 1912. 34p.
  • "The Master of the Blue Cape" [story]. This inspired two members of the St. Petersburg Lodge to stage an impromptu play on December 21, 1938.[4]
  • Merely Players.
  • More Lives Than One.
  • The New Image.
  • Old Lamps for New, or The Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World.
  • Oracle. 1921. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. 64 p. Portrait in frontispiece. Available at Internet Archive. Bragdon collected messages that had been received by his deceased wife Eugenie Julier Macaulay Bragdon via automatic writing. Some are epigrammatic personal messages, and others are prophetic.
  • A Primer of Higher Space (the Fourth Dimension). 1913. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. 78 p. Illustrated. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Projective Ornament. 1915. Rochester NY: Manas Press. 78 p. Illustrated.
  • Self Education: An Address Given Before the Boston Architectural Club April the third 1909. 1910. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. 16 p. Available at Internet Archive.
  • Six Lectures on Architecture. 1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Scammon Lectures. Coauthors were Ralph Adams Cram and Thomas Hastings. Available at Internet Archive.
  • The Small Old Path. 1914. Rochester, NY: Manas Press. 2nd edition. available at Internet Archive, Internet Archive, Internet Archive, and Internet Archive.
  • Theosophy and the Theosophical Society. 1909. Rochester, NY: Manas Press.
  • Yoga for You.

Additional resources

Notes

  1. James H. Cousins, "The Life and Work of Jean Delville, Theosophist Painter-Poet." The Theosophist47.3 (December 1925), 396.
  2. See title page of book at Internet Archive.
  3. See title page of book at Internet Archive. Internet Archive, and Internet Archive.
  4. Bulletin of the Florida Federation. January 15, 1939. From clipping in National Secretary's files for St. Petersburg Lodge.