Gurdjieff International Review

American Pupils

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Margaret Flinsch and William Segal collaborated to honor the lives of some of the deceased members of the New York Foundation. These profiles, or small life stories, have been kept in the Archives of the NY Foundation and have been made available to the editors for this issue.

Margaret Capper

Margaret Capper was born in Ireland. She joined the Ouspenskys in Gadson, England in the early 1930s and followed them to Mendham in 1940. During Mme. Ouspensky’s long illness which led to her death in 1961, Miss Capper was her constant companion. She then became more visible and worked with a small group until her own death in 1986.

Emil Hana

Emil Hana was born in Wisconsin. He studied theatre in New York where he met Tosca Bissing, a pupil of Ouspensky. Emil became a part of the life at Franklin Farms and was known as a tireless worker. He taught speech therapy and phonetics at Hofstra University and was a collaborator on the Pronunciation Guide to special words in All and Everything. He died in 1987.

C. Daly King

Daly King was born in 1895 and graduated from Yale, where he also completed his doctoral studies in psychology. He wrote a number of books on psychology as well as mystery novels. In 1924 he met Orage who became the greatest influence in his life. His book, The Oragean Version, was published in 1931. Under the name of Robert Courtney, Daly King had written a short exposition, Beyond Behaviorism, of the Gurdjieff ideas. This book was later republished under the title, The Butterfly: A Symbol of Conscious Evolution.

Fred Leighton

Fred Leighton was an importer of Mexican and southwestern specialties. His Village Shop became the largest center of trade in the US for textiles, pottery, and jewelry. In the 1930s, he met Gurdjieff and in collaboration with Israel Solon and Donald Whitcomb, he acted as administrator of needed funds and travel arrangements. In the early 1940s, during the German occupation of Paris, he was an active participant in efforts to secure emigration rights for Gurdjieff.

Nancy Pearson

Nancy Pearson, after years spent in India and the Far East, encountered the Work in England. At the end of World War II, she followed the Ouspenskys to Franklin Farms in New Jersey. At one time, she was secretary to J.G. Bennett and at another to John Steinbeck. She was a writer and translator, her translations including works of Henri Corbin and Leo Schaya. In 1977, she helped found a group in San Antonio, Texas, remaining an active member of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York until her death in 1982 at the age of 77.

Blanche Rosette

Blanche Rosette was an early and staunch member of the first Gurdjieff group formed in New York. She was instrumental in the search for a house of the Work in the early 1950s and it was her initiative which established the library of the New York Foundation. One story about her is that at one time when G. first arrived (sometime in the 1930s) at her house for a meeting, he thanked her at the door for allowing them to hold the meeting in her house, she famously replied. “This is your house, Mr. Gurdjieff. We are guests in your house.”

Israel Solon

Israel Solon, the Mr. S. of the Third Series of All and Everything, was born in 1894. In his younger years, he was a labor organizer and wrote for labor union publications. As the years went on his writing branched out to include critical essays and stories for many magazines and periodicals. He became the secretary of the first Gurdjieff group established in New York and he maintained a close connection with the Work until Gurdjieff’s death in 1949. He died in 1975 at the age of 101.

Stanley Spiegelberg

Stanley Spiegelberg was born in New York City in 1892 but spent much of his early life in Europe. He graduated from Yale and went on to business school. He represented various American banking firms in South America and Europe and was a fluent linguist. In the late 1920s he met Gurdjieff in Paris and never deviated in his efforts to be of service as translator or business adviser. He died in Paris in 1972.

Barbara Wheeler

Barbara Wheeler was born in Oxford, England in 1926. She completed her MA Degree in Marine Biology at Somerville College, Oxford University in 1952. She had met the Ouspenskys as quite a young girl and after the second World War, she moved to the United States and took part in the life at Franklin Farms. She married and was the mother of two children. Later, she and her husband, Pierce Wheeler, ran a small organic farm near Mendham, NJ where they raised sheep. She became an expert hand-spinner and had her own business supplying fine wool to hand-spinners. She also collaborated in her husband’s business and designed their first computer program. She taught classes in Movements at the New York Foundation, Washington and Boston. She died in 1996. □


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Featured: Fall 2020 Issue, Vol. XIV (2)
Revision: January 1, 2021