BESANT, Annie (née Wood). London 1.10.1847 — Adyar (Madras) 19.9.1933. British Theosophist. Daughter of William Page Wood and Emily Morris, a family of Irish origin. Lost early her father, educated privately in England, Germany and France. Married Rev. Frank Besant (d. 1917) in 1867, but was legally separated from him in 1872. For many years she worked in Labour and Socialist movements in Britain. In 1880 joined the Theosophical Society and became a devoted pupil of Madame Blavatsky. Travelled much around the world on behalf of this society, whose President she was in 1907-33. She founded in Benares the Central Hindu College in 1898 and the Central Hindu Girls’ College in 1904, and became a co-founder of Benares Hindu University, which then conferred her a Dr.Litt.

Publications: A great number of Theosophical books, joint-author in a few translations, e.g. the Bhagavadgītā (5th rev. ed. 1904), books about Indian politics, etc.

Sources: Who Was Who 1929-40; Buckland, Dictionary; *Wikipedia (with several photos and further refrences).

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