Hubert van Hook
Hubert van Hook (1896-1958)
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Hubert van Hook was born in 1896, the son of Dr Weller van Hook (1862-1933) and Dr Anna (Whaley) van Hook. Weller was a well-known surgeon in Chicago, and was, from 1907 to 1911 the General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in the United States. Hubert was selected by Leadbeater, about 1907 "...while on a lecture tour of American a few years before..." as the vehicle for the coming World Teacher, called Lord Maitreya by the Theosophists. (Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 12)
In 1906, Leadbetter had been embroiled in a scandal that forced him to resign from the society. "Mrs van Hook showed her confidence in Leadbeater by bringing Hubert to stay with him near Dresden in the summer of 1907. It was then that Mrs. Besant met Hubert for the first time."(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 19) During this time, some of Hubert's past lives were investigated, with his spirit given the name "Orion".
Mrs. Besant saw Hubert again in Chicago in 1909 while she was there to give a public lecture, where "...she was so struck by him that she prevailed on his mother to leave her husband and bring the boy to Europe and India for special training for his marvellous destiny."(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 12) Nethercot states that Anna van Hook "...never saw her husband again." (Nethercot, "Last Four Lives")
Leadbetter, between the end of April and June of 1909, discovered Krishnamurti. (Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p22) This "discovery" created a bit of a problem over the conflicting claims. Hubert's mother had left her husband, bringing Hubert to the Theosophical Headquarters at Adyar, India "...full of expectations...that Hubert was to be trained as the vehicle for the Lord Maitreya". (Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 26) "After Krishna was found, Hubert was soon to be dropped."(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 12)
"Mrs. van Hook and Hubert had arrived by the middle of November. Mrs. van Hook took an immediate liking to the two Indian boys [Krishna and his brother Nitya] and began teaching them with Hubert, who was a year younger than Krishna but much taller and infinitely more advanced intellectually."(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 28)
"Apart from Nitya, Hubert seems to have been the only boy Krishna was allowed to see....Mrs van Hook evidently accepted Hubert's inferior position with a very, good grace and so, it seemed, did Dr van Hook back in Chicago."(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p33)
Hubert who had been put on initiation probation before he came to Adyar, was accepted as an initiate Dec 1912.(Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p41). Hubert and his mother remained at Adyar for five years.
Hubert was later to accuse Leadbeater of inappropriate actions. On the denunciation, Mary Lutyens states: "Hubert later swore to Mrs Besant that Leadbeater had 'misused' him, but as he was extremely vindictive by that time, his testimony, though unshaken, was perhaps not altogether reliable.' (Lutyens, "Awakening", Discus p 45n)
Hubert went to live for some years in New York City where he clerked for stockbrokers, and also as an export clerk, but by 1930 he had become an attorney, moved back to Chicago, married and had two daughters.
Hubert died at age 61 in Chicago, living his widow Lucille and one daughter who had married Robert Gerstacker.
- A Man of Good Will, by Chauncey C Maher. A Biography of Weller van Hook. This is a photographic image of a typed manuscript, with hand-writen corrections. Presumably the corrections are also by Chauncey. The manuscript is hosted on the website of the Chicago Literary Club.
- New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957, Manifest of the S.S. Grosser Kurfurst sailing from Bremen, Aug 14, 1909 showing "Anna van Hook, age 35 destined for Chicago. Hubert van Hook, age 14, destined for Chicago."
- World War I Draft Registration Card showing "Hubert Vanhook, born 3 Jun 1896, residing at 840 West End Avenue, New York City; born Chicago, Illinois; Clerk with Johnson & Co Stockbrokers on Wall Street; Single. Tall, Slender, Gray Eyes, Light Brown hair. Signed Jun 5, 1917 in New York City."
- 1920 Census of Manhattan, New York showing "Hubert Van Hook, resident at 269 W 71st St, 23 years old, born Illinois (parents born Kentucky/Missouri), Export Clerk"
- 1930 Census of Chicago, Illinois showing "Hubert Van Hook, age 33, born Illinois, attorney; wife Lucille 27; Margaret 3 4/12, Dorothy 7/12"
- Social Security Death Index showing "Hubert Vanhook died Feb 1958 SSN issued by Illinois"
- Chicago Daily Tribune, 25 Feb 1958 Obituary, Hubert Van Hook (Chicago, Illinois). Age 61, of Glenview, survived by widow Lucille and daughter Mrs Robert Gerstacker.
- Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening, London: John Murray, 1975. (This volume covers 1895 to 1935.) Discus reprint (1983, 355 pages) ISBN 0380007347
- Last Four Lives of Annie Besant, Arthur Hobart Nethercot (1963) Univ of Chicago Pr ISBN 0226573176