By Tammye McDuff
“Education at any age is a lifelong dedication to the improvement of character, and the enlargement of understanding. We are here to learn and grow and share…
– Manly P. Hall –
It has been called the Alexandria Library for modern times. Whether you are new to metaphysics or a mage of many years, there is no doubt you have heard of Manly P. Hall and the Philosophical Research Society [PRS] located in Los Angeles.
For eight years the library was open only on special occasions and with certain permissions, however due to the generosity of the Virginia S. Warner Foundation, the library has been reopened and all of Halls’ information transferred into a digital catalogue.
Dr. Greg Salyer, President and CEO of the University of Philosophical Research introduced the woman behind the foundation, “Virginia Warner has long been a friend of the Society, because she shares the desire to bring wisdom to all seekers.” For the past several years, her foundation has supported a significant part of the large undertaking of organizing and creating a digital catalogue of Halls’ unique esoteric library.
In a quote by Hall, upon the original opening of the library, he stated, “There is no reason why PRS should not be remembered like Plato’s Academy, but if it is to continue, the society must make use of the most advanced technology available. I now envision a university of the mind, and think that through proper organization we can bring this message of enlightened living to a much greater audience throughout the world.”
For years, students and seekers would scour through black binders filled with Hall’s writings and notes. The catalogue system was neither dewy decimal nor library of congress, “Rather it was a list of books with its own unique formatting including penciled in notes and corrections,” said Salyer. The library fell behind in technology and organization, not knowing what hidden gems might have lost in stacks of books and bins of notes.
“Many years ago in my practice of meditation,” Says Warner, “A very unusual message came to me. I was told you must meet Obadiah. So I turned to the book of Obadiah in the bible. Coincidently I had purchased a book entitled The Secret Teachings of All Ages. I thought I might find an answer to my message in this book.” Warner goes on to say she was awestruck by the remarkable range of wisdom that Hall had compiled, “Never before had I seen a compilation of the ancient truths offered to this world.” As it turns out later that same year Warner was introduced to PRS President, Dr. Obadiah Harris, thus beginning her mission to create a complete catalogue of Halls works and his vision to make these teachings available to everyone around the world.
Manly Hall was a Canadian-born scholar and philosopher. He is perhaps most famous for his 1928 book The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Hall was the first president for the Philosophical Research Society’s and was a seeker and lover of wisdom. He had the courage and the raw intellectual energy to look for wisdom in places most would have long since forgotten. He lived in an era when most Americans did not look toward other cultures and traditions, without looking down.
Manly P. Hall began his public career in the related fields of philosophy and comparative religion at the age of nineteen, was ordained to the ministry at 22 and devoted his life to teaching, writing, and lecturing without interruption for over half a century. Hall gave nearly seven thousand lectures and talks, appearing on numerous radio and television stations throughout the Unites States.
Hall traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, and Central America, and assembled a magnificent library which he presented to the Society. On October 17, 1935, nearly one hundred people assembled on the site for the purpose of breaking ground for the headquarters, which included a front office, print shop, bindery, and library. Prior to the construction of the library, Hall attracted the attention of wisdom seekers from across the world. Donations from philanthropists and supporters enabled him to visit great auction houses of Europe, purchasing rare manuscripts that pre date the 1800’s. His collection was so impressive that during World War II, The Library of Congress requested permission to make microfilm copies of unique items for permanent record, in case the Library should be damaged by bombardment.
The Library collection grew book by book, building on the great truths of illuminated thinkers such as Pythagoras, Plato, Buddha, Confucius, Hermes, Aristotle, Jesus and Mohammed; along with other prophets and sages.
In 1998, the Society’s many educational offerings became an accredited formal University. In July of 2000, the State of California approved the University of Philosophical Research to issue a Master of Arts Degree in Consciousness Studies. Since that time the Philosophical Research Society has been doing business as The University of Philosophical Research. In January 2003, the State of California approved the UPR’s second Master of Arts Degree Program, in Transformational Psychology.
The University of Philosophical Research is now open Tuesday to Fridays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is located at 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, California. For more information call 323.663.2167 or visit http://www.uprs.edu