Theosophical Encyclopedia

Historical Photos from the Adyar Archives JOHN COATS (1906 – 1979)

Presidency of the Society

In 1973, International President Nilakanta Sri Ram passed away in April. Vice President James S. Perkins took over temporarily and supervised the electoral process, in which many fine candidates had been nominated: Rukmini Devi Arundale, Joy Mills, Radha Burnier, James S. Perkins, and others.

Mr. Coats traveled extensively in Central and South America that year. He attended the Convention and Summer School of the Argentine Section at the resort town of Embalse de Rio Tercero near Cordoba, along with about 300 people from eight nations, including Theosophical Society in America President Joy Mills. Council meetings of the Inter-American Theosophical Federation held in conjunction with the convention, improved cooperation of members in the Americas in preparation for the 1975 Centenary Congress held in New York City. In June, he began touring the United States, lecturing at numerous branches and for a week at each of the four Theosophical camps. He led sessions at the American convention on the theme, "Preparing for Tomorrow."

On November 10th following the election, he assumed the office of International President of the Theosophical Society, cutting short his American tour to return to Adyar. The ceremonial part of the inauguration took place on Foundation Day a week later, with 500 people gathered in the Headquarters Hall as witnesses.

Joy Mills became Vice President. His presidency was distinguished by efforts to reach out to the general public. This emphasis on reaching a wide audience was evident in issues of The Theosophist that he edited. The International Theosophical Youth Centre at Adyar was established during his administration. He died in office on December 26, 1979, which was the opening day of the annual international Convention at Adyar.

For more on John Coats go to Theosophy Wiki:

The historical photos which now follow were taken long before the digital era.  At least some of them, to the best of our knowledge, were never published before, They have been carefully selected by JAISHREE KANNAN, who is in charge of the Adyar Archives. Theosophy Forward’s editor is grateful for her wonderful cooperation.

TE 2 JC edited

The Coats family, at KROTONA on January 1, 1948

TE 3 JC edited

John Coats lecturing in ACCRA, GHANA, April 1968

TE 4 JC edited

Close up photo, year unkown

TE 5 JC edited

John Coats in the centre of the traditional photo-shoot after the sessions of The School of the Wisdom. Year is not known. On the front row however one will recognize many very well-known Theosophists


TE 6 JC edited

Well-known photo of John Coats taken during his inauguration as International President on Foundation Day, November 17, 1973

TE 7 JC edited

It is not quite clear where and when this photo was taken. Thanks to Kathy Gann, we now know who the lady is standing on the right of John: Dora Kunz. The name of the the lady on his left is still not known. If any of our readers can shine light on this, do contact us

TE 8 JC edited

H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, visiting Adyar during the Centenary Celebrations of the TS in 1975.John Coats just behind his His Holiness

TE 9 JC edited 

John Coats looks like a giant here next to DOLORES GAGO. This unique picture was taken during a members meeting of the Uruquaian Section in Montevideo, on April 28. 1976

TE 10 JC edited

John Coats visited Latin-America several times.Year not known.This photo was taken at the RAJA CENTRE in SAO PAULO, BRAZIL

TE 11 edited

This was shot in 1976 made when John Coats visited INDRALAYA

TE 12 edited

Second from the left: John Coats in Varanasi , during a world congress on vegetarianism in 1977

 TE 13 edited

Picture taken in 1978, (Varanasi) John is surrounded by young folks. On John's left a (very) young Arend Heijbroek and on his right Arend's wife Minouc from the Netherlands 





Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 558 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150




Vidya Magazine