MANEN, Mari Albert Johan van. Nijmegen 16.4.1877 — Calcutta 17.4.1943. Dutch Librarian and Theosophist in India. Son of an engineer in state service, 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. 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.
– 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.
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).
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