The Theosophical Society was founded by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge, and others in New York City on November 17, 1875. In 1882 the international headquarters of the Society was established at Adyar, near Madras.
After Helena Blavatsky's death in 1891, the Society's leaders although working together at first, split when W.Q. Judge was accused by H.S. Olcott and prominent Theosophist Annie Besant of forging letters from the Mahatmas; Judge was given little choice but to end his association with Olcott and Besant and in 1895 left, taking much of the Society's American Section with him (though today's Theosophical Society in America link, based at Wheaton, is part of the Adyar society). The original organisation led by Olcott and Besant remains based in India and is known as the Theosophical Society - Adyar. The group led by Judge further splintered and the faction led by Kathleen Tingley is today known as the Theosophical Society with the clarifying statement; "International Headquarters, Pasadena, California" link. A third organization, the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT link, was founded by Robert Crosbie in 1909. A fourth organization, The Theosophical Society, Blavatsky House The Hague, was founded in 1958 link.
This fragmentation of the movement is important because each part went its own way in the matter of teaching. The Adyar Society additionally adopted the 'second generation' literature of Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater and others. As time went on this considerably diverged from the original teachings. The Point Loma literature is largely that of Gottfried de Puruker. Originally this was based mainly on H.P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine but latterly many ideas, viz the peregrinations of the Ego round the planets, became an important part of his teaching. No evidence for this exists in The Secret Doctrine.
Today's Theosophical Society is linked by 3 Objects, which are:
1. To form a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or colour.
2. To encourage the study of Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Science.
3. To investigate unexplained laws of Nature and the powers latent in man.
What Is Theosophy? - And What it is Not. Geoffrey Farthing 1971
Why Study Theosophy? - Geoffrey Farthing 1999
What is Theosophy? - Pablo Sender. Originally published 2007
What is Theosophy? - H.P. Blavatsky. Originally published 1879
What should Theosophical Groups Study? - John Algeo. Originally published 2007