Elizabeth Preston

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Elizabeth Winter Preston was an English member of the Theosophical Society based in Adyar, Chennai, India.

Personal life

Elizabeth Preston worked as a teacher in England.

Theosophical Society involvement

Miss Preston was admitted to the Theosophical Society in 1910. She served as Secretary of the Science Group of the Theosophical Research Centre during her years in England. Following retirement from teaching, she worked in Adyar as Assistant Recording Secretary. She was active in Theosophical work at the international level.

During her last years, she lived in Kotagiri in the Nilgiri Hills, where she founded the Women's Cooperative, a project to assist native women. She died there on October 8, 1968. "At the time of her passing she was a member of the General Council and had been working on the preparation of the history of The Theosophical Society for the centennial year."[1]


Miss Preston assisted C. Jinarājadāsa in compiling research material that had accumulated over thirty-eight years and publishing it in 1951 in the third edition of Occult Chemistry. She "piloted" the new edition of Occult Chemistry with its complex diagrams through the production process at Vasanta Press.[2]

In 1966, working with Christmas Humphreys, she wrote An Abridgment of The Secret Doctrine comprised of selected passages from H. P. Blavatsky's work that provide an overview of major teachings. Plans were made to translate this abridgment into numerous languages, supported by the Non-English Publications Loan Fund.[3]

She wrote many articles for The Theosophist and other magazines, mostly on scientific topics. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 43 articles by or about Elizabeth Preston, and more under E Winter Preston, EWP, and EW Preston. In 1952, she was awarded the Subba Row Medal for her contributions to Theosophical literature. These are some of the books she wrote:

  • An Abridgment of The Secret Doctrine. London, Theosophical Publishing House, 1966. Written with Christmas Humphreys. Limited availability from Hathitrust.
  • Earth and Its Cycles: a Comparison Between the Results of Modern Geological and Archaeological Research and the Statements of The Secret Doctrine. London: Theosophical Pub. House, 1931. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House, 1954. 160 pages.
  • The Story of Creation: According to The Secret Doctrine; including The Story of Man as Part II. 1947. Second Edition - Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Pub., 1965. 109 pages.
  • Life and Its Spirals. Adyar, Madras, India; Wheaton, Ill.: Theosophical Publishing House, 1962, 1990.


  1. Anonymous, "News and Notes" The American Theosophist 56.12 (December 1968), 311.
  2. James S. Perkins, "Adyar Administrative Notes" The American Theosophist 39.6 (June, 1951), 105.
  3. Ted G. Davy, "Canada" General Report of the Theosophical Society, 1970. (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1971), 56-57.