The University of Philosophical Research maintains a Wisdom Library, affording students the opportunity to review rare works related to Consciousness Studies and Transformational Psychology. “The library here has one of the finest collections of wisdom literature in North America. And the idea behind that is, that these are the great cultures of the world. Each one has its own wisdom literature – they’re about the laws of nature, the great principles of the universe, they’re what we call perennial philosophy – all about the higher values of existence and how you acquire them.”
- Dr. Obadiah Harris
We are happy to announce that the library will re-open beginning Friday, April 8th.
Monday – Friday 10:30am – 3:30pm.
UPR faculty and students.
Tuesday – Thursdays 10:30am – 3:30pm.
Reserved for scholars and independent researchers with specific research projects. Please contact the librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
Fridays 10:30 – 3:30pm.
All visitors are welcome.
Saturday – Sunday
The Library is not a lending library, but strives to make its collection available to the needs of its patrons.
If you have an access concern, or research related question, please contact our librarian at email@example.com or call 323.663.2167 x. 116
Please review our Library Policies before your visit.
Wisdom Library History
In 1934, The Philosophical Research Society (PRS) was incorporated as a nonprofit educational institution. Shortly thereafter, the corporation was able to secure the valuable property on which its Library and other buildings now stand. 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.
The architectural theme for the buildings derives its inspiration from the early culture of the ancient Mayas. Renowned architect, Robert Stacy-Judd was commissioned to design the initial buildings. Stacy-Judd also published several popular books on Mayan culture which are part of our collection. He sought to incorporate Mayan symbols and design motifs throughout the buildings.
Prior to the construction of the Library, PRS founder, Manly P. Hall, had been writing, lecturing and attracting the attention of wisdom seekers from across the country. Generous donations from philanthropists and supporters enabled Mr. Hall to visit great auction houses of Europe to purchase rare manuscripts and sourcebooks printed prior to 1800, which added to the growing collection of the wisdom library. A collection 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. The emphasis of the collection has always been upon those idealistic systems of knowledge which have helped to build a better world. The whole purpose of this collection is to meet society’s increasing awareness of the need for an internal philosophy. Here the great seers, sages, scholars, and mystics are made available through their own writings, and need not be approached only through books of modern interpreters. The bulk of the collection focuses on Philosophy, Psychology, Mythology, Anthropology, Religion and World Cultures.
In 1998, PRS President, Dr. Obadiah Harris, began formalizing the Society’s many educational offerings into 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 Library collection has grown to incorporate material to support the courses, programs and degrees offered. In addition, the university subscribes to The Library and Information Resource Network Core Collection of databases to ensure our students have access to a comprehensive selection of online scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers and ebooks.
It always seemed to Manly P. Hall that religious and symbolical art should be included in a collection representing society’s heritage of wisdom and beauty. Over the years, many art objects were acquired and are on permanent display on the UPR campus. A few visible items of special interest to Library visitors:
Glastonbury Tiles: As one crosses the patio toward the entrance to the Library, visitors may notice two small fragments of decorated tile inlaid among the flagstones. These should be approached with respect as they are original pieces from the floor of Glastonbury Abbey. It is within the precincts of Glastonbury that a sacred thorn bush still flourishes near the reputed grave of King Arthur.
Library Doors: The beautiful wood panels on the library doors were carved by Stuart Holmes (who played the villain in the 1922 motion picture production of The Prisoner of Zenda). Stuart was a Bavarian whose real name was Stuart Leibchen; he was a wood-carver of distinction. The panel on the left is reminiscent of Confucius, and its Western complement on the right is suggestive of Plato.
Coatlicue: On the right as one enters the library is a large Aztec wood-carving representing Coatlicue, Mother of the Gods, known as “Lady of the Serpent Skirt,” based upon the gigantic stone figure in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City. The original stone image is over 8 feet high and weighs over 30 tons. This zapote wood carving, created by a Mexican folk artist, is extremely hard and heavy, and will sink if placed in water.
Amida Buddha: In a niche on the south wall of the balcony of the Library is a fine Japanese wood carving of the metaphysical Buddha, Amida. This lovely gilded image is approximately 4½ feet high. It had already been consecrated, and fitted perfectly into the allotted space and its peaceful expression is suitable for quiet scholarship. There is an elaborate base with a symbolic lotus upon which the figure is seated, and behind is an intricately decorated nimbus of swirling clouds. It is dated in the Tokugawa Period, probably late seventeenth century.
Below are a few featured titles found in the Graduate Research Library at the University of Philosophical Research:
Limojon de Saint-Didier, Alexandre-Toussaint: The Hermetical Triumph: or The Victorious Philosophical Stone (1723).
Stanley, Thomas: The History of Philosophy in Eight Parts (1656).
Taylor, Thomas: A complete set of his original writings and translations. He was the first to translate the complete works of Plato and Aristotle into English.
Blake, William. Illustrations of the Book of Job, in Twenty-one Plates, Invented and Engraved by William Blake (1826).
Picart, Bernard (Illustrator). The Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World Together with Historical Annotations. Picart and Jean Frederic Bernard (who wished to remain anonymous as author) attempted to capture the rituals and ceremonies of known religions in 9 volumes (1723-1743).
Jones, Sir William: The Works of Sir William Jones in Six Volumes. Covers nearly every aspect of Hindu language, history, science and literature (1799).
Mayan and Aztec Codex Facsimiles. They provide some of the best primary source materials of Amerindian cultures.
Budge, E.A. Wallis: The Book of the Dead Papyrus; The Papyrus of Ani (1913).
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. The Library has several beautifully illustrated editions of this Persian classic.
Bjerregaard, C. H. A. Sufi Interpretations of the Quartraine of Omar Khayyam and Fitzgerald (1902).
MANLY P. HALL
Lecture notes, journals (All-Seeing Eye, Horizon, & PRS Journal), pamphlets and books, including Lady of Dreams: A fable in the manner of the Chinese. Specially written and published by the author for a personal remembrance to his friends (1943).
Adams, Francis: The Genuine Works of Hippocrates (1849).
Fergusson, James: Tree and Serpent Worship or Illustrations of Mythology and Art in India in the First and Fourth Centuries after Christ (1873). Includes photographs, lithographs, and drawings of symbolic elements of Hindu and Buddhist religion.
Gray, Louis Herbert, ed. The Mythology of All Races (1916-1932).
Bacon, Francis: Novum Organum (1676).
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Frederich: The Philosophy of History (1900).
Adler, Gerhard. The Living Symbol A Case Study in the Process of Individuation (1961).
Harding, M. Esther:The “I” and the “not-I”; A Study in the Development of Consciousness (1965).
Jung, C.G.: The Red Book: Liber Novus (2009).
McGuire, William: C. G. Jung Speaking – Interviews and Encounters (1993). A collection of journalistic interviews which span Jung’s lifetime.
Neumann, Erich: The Origins and History of Consciousness (1954).
Count D’Alviella: Lectures on the Origin and Growth of the Conception of God as Illustrated by Anthropology and History. (The Hibbert Lectures, 1891).
Knorr von Rosenroth, Christian. Kabbala Denudata, the Kabbalah Unveiled (1887).
Moor, Edward: The Hindu Pantheon (1810).
Muller, Max.: The Sacred Books of the East (50 vol. edition).
Quran. Illuminated Manuscript of Portions of The Quran in Arabic (16th or 17th century).
Schlagintweit, Emil.: Buddhism in Tibet (1863).
A large selection of Theosophical Journals including The Theosophical Path, Theosophical Quarterly, Theosophical Review, Theosophical Siftings, The Theosophist, and Theosophy.