Archive for the ‘Biographical’ Category

The many names of Baird T Spalding – Part 2

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

In part one of this series on Baird T Spalding’s biography, I examined new information that came to light as a result of the Department of State releasing Baird T Spalding’s 1935 passport application, which included an affidavit from his brother Hiram Spaulding, and confirmed much of the biographical research published here during 2009.

The confirmation of Spalding’s name at birth (Bayard Spaulding), and his family details enables us to examine the apocryphal stories about Spalding’s father and grandfather having a long history with India. Dr Neva Dell Hunter is quoted in Life and Teaching Vol 6 on “Baird T. Spalding III…his father Baird Spalding II and his grandfather.. Baird Spalding the first” , noting that the grandfather had been born in India. Spalding’s biographer David Bruton also makes similar claims in Baird T Spalding As I Knew Him about “John Spalding, grandfather of Baird T Spalding”, who lived the greater part of his life in India.

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The many names of Baird T Spalding – Part 1

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Previous articles on Baird T Spalding’s date of birth have shed light on some of the many stories surrounding him. Now that his place and date of birth are established, it is possible to examine other claims made for Spalding. One of the most interesting areas of research is the different names he assumed over the years, and the claims made for his ancestry.

The Department of State recently released Spalding’s 1935 passport application and an affidavit of birth signed by his brother. As discussed in my earlier blog post on Spalding’s biography, Baird was an American, born Oct 3rd 1872 in Cohocton,  New York. The passport application reveals a fascinating new twist.  Spalding was born with the name Bayard Spaulding, and the adoption of the nom de plume Baird T Spalding occurred decades later.

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Happy 137th birthday, Baird T Spalding

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

October 2nd marks the 137th anniversary of Baird T Spalding’s birth in Cohocton, New York in 1872, and the start of Spalding’s long, strange journey. The family house that Baird was born in still stands in North Cohocton, and the town historian was kind enough to send me a photograph of how it looks today.

Baird Spalding's birthplace in 1872

Baird Spalding's birthplace in 1872

The area school was the North Cohocton-Atlanta Union School. Although there are no surviving records, it is likely that this is the school Baird attended as a youth.

North Cohocton Atlanta Union School

North Cohocton Atlanta Union School

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When and where was Baird T Spalding born? Part 2

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

In part 1 of this topic, I wrote about the conflicting tales around Baird T Spalding’s biography, and outlined the historical record.

Fellow mystic and DeVorss author David Bruton wrote about Spalding’s birth date in Baird T Spalding As I Knew Him, a self-published biography released in 1954. On May 26, 1952, Bruton attended a 95th birthday party for Spalding at the DeVorss offices in Los Angeles, and discussed the discrepancies in Spalding’s age with one of the guests. On writing the biography, Bruton noted the idiosyncrasies.

On two different occasions I asked him where he was born. The first time he told me in “upstate New York;” the second, “Spalding, England.” During one of his last public lectures a member of the audience asked where he was born and he answered, “In India.” He spoke with equal affection for the “old family home” in upstate New York, in Spalding, England and in Coconada, Madras Province, India.

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When and where was Baird T Spalding born? Part 1

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Baird T Spalding had a long and colorful history, and anyone interested in his life will quickly find themselves knee deep in anecdotal tales. In order to separate fact from fiction, I believe it is critical to establish the key facts of Spalding’s background. Unfortunately very few sources agree on his biographical details, and the information provided by Spalding and his publisher has been inconsistent.

Spalding is often claimed to have been ninety or older at the time of his death in 1953, adding to the mystique around his writings on immortal masters. A Los Angeles Times obituary published on March 21st, 1953, demonstrates the typical claims.

Funeral services will be conducted at Tempe, Ariz tomorrow at 3pm for Baird T Spalding, 95, research engineer, world traveler and author who died in the Arizona city last Thursday.

A similarly inaccurate obituary was published a week later in the Logansport Pharos-Tribune of Indiana.

Rochester friends have received word of the death of Dr Baird Spaulding, age 107, noted scientist, author and world traveler, who was found dead in bed at Arona, Arizona, Thursday.

Neither obituary agrees on Spalding’s age or even the spelling of his surname. In addition to advancing his age over the century mark, the Logansport obituary adds a doctorate and scientific prowess to Spalding’s achievements.

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