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Keywords: 'Vedanta Society of Southern California' (this phrase)
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Vedanta Society of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90068-3920)
David Stump (Project Director: May 2014 to November 2017)
Improving the Storage Environment of Collections

The purchase of storage furniture and environmental monitoring equipment. A consultant will be employed to assist in gathering and analyzing the environmental data. The work will benefit a mixed archival collection comprising moving image, audio, printed transcripts, and photographs that document the classes and lectures of Swami Prabhavananda, a noted Vedic philosopher and teacher. The collection includes 700 audio recordings and transcripts of lectures by Swami Prabhavananda, who founded the Vedanta Society of Southern California in 1929 and shaped the introduction and understanding of Sanskrit texts and Hindu philosophy on the West Coast during the 20th century. Among the Prabhavananda materials are correspondence with Christopher Isherwood, Aldous Huxley, and others that illustrate the influence of Hindu thought and pacifism on 20th-century social thought in America.

The Vedanta Society of Southern California has uniquely served American Humanities over its 85-year history. Founded in 1929 as a convent in Hollywood with a handful of nuns under the direction of the charismatic, cosmopolitan Swami Prabhavananda, it became a haven supporting the work of Aldous Huxley and Christopher Isherwood. The Archive holds a large, untapped documentary collection. Its collections also include correspondence from the above writers and Henry Miller, Somerset Maugham, J.D. Salinger and J. Krishnamurti, as well as audiovisual recordings of Isherwood, Huxley, and Gerald Heard, and historical and contemporary lectures by Swamis of the Order. Isherwood and Prabhavananda collaborated in translating several Sanskrit texts and the Center holds an extensive collection of draft materials from this collaboration. The VSSC seeks to improve the storage environment of its collections by purchasing a sliding shelving system and implementing data-driven environmental monitoring.

Project fields:
Ancient Languages; Nonwestern Religion; U.S. History

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2015 – 7/31/2017