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Halcyon’s Leaders

Halcyon’s Leaders. Photograph, early 1920s.

In the foreground are John Varian and Dr. William H. Dower; behind them are Jane Kent Dower, Mrs. Wilkins, Ernest Harrison, and Agnes Varian. Dr. Dower and Mrs. Francia LeDue officially founded the community in 1903. The Varian’s, Theosophists from Syracuse, New York, joined them that year.

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A group of Theosophists from Syracuse, New York, moved to Oceana, California, in 1903 to form the Halcyon community. They rejected the teachings of Katherine Tingley, the head of the movement at the time, in favor of a return to the original work of Madame Blavatsky. They built a sanatorium for the treatment of liquor, morphine, and opium addiction. Socialism and communal property marked the group and drew the attention of reformers like novelist Upton Sinclair.