Scope and Content
Title: Branconière, Benedicion Santa Ana de. Lecture notes taken by Josephine Robinson,
Date (inclusive): 1906-1910
Collection number: M1112
Branconière, Benedicion Santa Ana de.
8 linear ft.
Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights
reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To
obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the
Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.
Benedicion Santa Ana de Branconière : Lecture notes taken by Josephine Robinson. M1112. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford
University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.
Miss Benedicion Santa Ana de Branconiere was born the daughter of a British nobleman during the 18th century. Her father was
a well-read and educated man, and at the time was the owner of one of the finest private libraries in the world. At a fairly
young age, Miss de Branconiere was found to suffer from tuberculosis of the bone. After English medical science failed to
cure her, Miss de Branconiere set out with her father to search the world for treatment. They finally found help in India,
from spiritual healer and great religious figure Swami Vivekananda. To display her gratification for his assistance, Miss
de Branconiere began to study under Swami Vivekananda in the hope of one day helping to spread his word to the western world.
His doctrine was one of bringing together people of all religions to recognize that the God they worshiped was one. At the
conference of World Religions held in Chicago in 1893, he said "People born in different religions finally reach the same
God, as rivers born in different places finally reach the sea." To carry out her promise, Miss de Branconiere studied at the
School of Illumination in Paris (Brotherhood of Light), where she later taught. After her tenure there, Swami Vivekananda
sent her to spread the word, as he had briefly, in still-developing America. Miss de Branconiere acquiring a position at the
University of California, Berkeley, teaching religion, philosophy, and literature. She also instructed evening classes to
a private study group in Alameda. Through her teachings, Miss de Branconiere examined the sacred books of the world's four
great religions, as well as the classic literary works of the time, seeking what common truths they held that could assist
the plight of man. The central point of her teachings, as is any serious pursuit of the truth, was the discovery and salvation
of the individual human soul.
Scope and Content
This collection contains transcripts of the lectures Miss de Branconiere gave from 1906 through 1910. Josephine Robinson,
then employed by the Bank of Alameda, attended her evening sessions, took notes in shorthand, and typed them later. The collection
fills sixteen manuscript boxes and is organized chronologically. The collection includes two indexes: one that provides dates
for lectures in which certain topics were discussed, and a second, which exclusively pertains to Biblical references. The
lectures given by Miss de Branconiere cover a wide variety of religious and philosophical issues, while citing sources that
range from classic Greek myths to Shakespeare to major religious texts. Miss de Branconiere quotes Swami Vivekananda extensively
in her teachings, and students of the Swami should find great interest in the lectures of his disciple and protégée, Miss
Vivekananda, Swami, 1863-1902.