BESANT, bes'ant, ANNIE (WOOD): Theosophist; b. at London Oct. 1, 1847. She was educated by private tutors at Clearmouth, Dorsetshire, London, Bonn, and Paris, and later passed B.Sc. and M.B. at London University. Originally a member of the Church of England, she married Rev. Frank Besant, vicar of Sibsey, Lincolnshire, in 1867, but was divorced from him six years later and renounced Christianity altogether. She then joined the National Secular Society, and as a scientific materialist worked with Charles Bradlaugh, with whom she edited the National Reformer. She was also prominent in socialistic and labor movements, and was a member of the Fabian Society and the Social Democratic Federation. In 1887-90 she was a member of the London School Board for Tower Hamlets, but declined reelection. Meanwhile, her view had undergone further change as a result of psychological study, and in 1889 she joined the Theosophical Society, of which she has since been a distinguished member, and its president in 1907. She has made extensive journeys to all parts of the world in the interests of theosophy, but has of late years resided chiefly in India. In 1898 she founded the Central Hindu College, Benares, and is still the president of its council, while in 1904 she established the Central Hindu Girls’ School in the same city. In addition to a large number of briefer articles and pamphlets, she has written Natural Religion Versus Revealed Religion (London, 1874); History of the Great French Revolution (1876); The Law of Population: Its Consequences and its Bearing upon Human Conduct and Morals (1877); The Gospel of Christianity and the Gospel of Free Thought (1877); Heat, Light, and Sound (1881); Legends and Tales (1885); The Sins of the Church (1886); Reincarnation (1892); Seven Principles of Man (1892); Autobiography (1893); Death and After (1893); Building of the Cosmos (1894); In the Outer Court (1895); Karma (1895); The Self and its Sheaths (1895); The Path of Discipleship (1896); Man and his Bodies (1896); Four Great Religions (1897); The Ancient Wisdom (1897); Evolution of Life and Form (1899); Dharma (1899); Story of the Great War: Lessons from the Mahābhārata (1899); Avatāras (1900); Ancient Ideals in Modern Life (1901); Esoteric Christianity (1901); Thought Power: Its Control and Cultivation (1901); The Religious Problem in India (Madras, 1902); The Pedigree of Man (Benares, 1903); Study in Consciousness (London, 1904); and Theosophy and New Psychology (1904). She has also translated a number of free-thought works as well as the Bhagavadgītā (London, 1895), and has edited Our Corner (London, 1883-88), and, in collaboration with G. R. S. Mead, The Theosophical Review.