MANEN, Mari Albert Johan van

MANEN, Mari Albert Johan van. Nijmegen 16.4.1877 — Calcutta 17.4.1943. Dutch Librarian and Theosophist in India. Son of Reinier Otto van M., an engineer in state service, and Maria Albertina Johanna van Tricht, grew up in Zutphen and Haarlem. After a chequered youth, more interested in art and politics than school, he worked for a while as daily reporter, studied then intensively Latin and Greek and soon became deeply engaged in Theosophy. In 1903-04 he visited Indonesia, but only 1909 (not 1899) moved to India as the secretary of C. W. Leadbeater. In 1909-16 he was second Librarian in Adyar Library, left after a conflict with Besant. In 1916-18 in Ghoom near Darjeeling studying Tibetan. In 1918-21 Librarian of the Imperial Library in Calcutta. From 1922 Assistant in charge of the Anthropological Section of the Indian Museum, Calcutta, for rearranging its Tibetan collections, also a member of the Senate of Calcutta University. In 1923-39 General Secretary of the A.S.B. and editor of the JASB and MASB. In 1925 visited Nepal, in 1927 the Netherlands. In 1939-43 employed in the censor office of Calcutta.. C.I.E. 1930. He was not a scholar, but extensively learned and much interested in languages and religions. His collection of Tibetan paintings and Himalayan ethnographic objects is in Leiden Museum of Ethnology.

Publications: Dutch translation of Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine.

– Minor Tibetan Texts: The song of the eastern snow-mountain. 4+86 p. Bibl. Ind. Calcutta 1918.

Articles and reviews in the JASB, e.g. “Three Tibetan Repartee Songs”, JASB 17, 1921, 287-318 (with text and tr.); “Concerning a Bon Image”, JASB 18, 1922, 195-211; “A contribution to the Bibliography of Tibet”, JASB 18, 1922, 445-525.

– “Kacche Phalu, a Tibetan moralist”, Sir Asutosh Mukherjee Silver Jubilee Vol. 3:3, Calcutta 1927; a few further articles and in 1897-1916 a number of Theosophical writings.

Sources: C. E. van Aken, H. Hobbs & N. Barwell, JASB 3:10, 1944, 186-191; P. Richardus, The Dutch Orientalist Johan van Manen. 2+77 p. 9 pl. Kern In­stitute Miscellanea 3. Leiden 1989 (with bibliography); Wikipedia briefly with photo (detailed account in Dutch version).

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