The Mother of Timeless Books
Anita Atkins is a woman whose story deserves to be retold and savored.
died in 2000, she is no longer Anita Atkins yet lives on in the
physical world through the five books that she co-wrote between 1961
and 1993. (Two of those are favorite references for this writer.)
But what’s the big deal, you say? I will try to explain.
• Anita’s formal education ended with high school graduation. Thereafter, she was self taught.
• Anita’s first book came out when she was 46, the last when she was 78.
• In her latter years, Anita worked and wrote while dealing with the nervous system effects of Parkinson’s disease.
• Anita never married. But, she was the Mother of Timeless books.
• She devoted her life to writing, teaching, lecturing and spreading the Truth as she understood it.
• At the age of sixteen, Anita's heart was pierced by a simple proclamation which had been made 25 years before she was born.
In response, she began compiling what great thinkers, writers,
artists, psychologists, composers and philosophers thought on two
• Anita supported herself by working at a
five-and-ten-cents store, the Eastern News Distribution Company, and by
managing the New York United Lodge until her retirement.
an author, Anita never spent the royalties from her books on herself,
but used that money to donate her books to libraries worldwide.
• Outwardly, Anita was extremely shy, self-effacing, and wrote under a pseudonym about extraordinary ideas and amazing people.
The Rest of Anita's Story
Atkins was born on December 12, 1915, and grew up in the Grand
Concourse, Bronx, New York. Though both her parents were committed
Theosophists, it took until her teenage years before Atkins attended
her own first meeting, Thereafter despite her extreme shyness, Miss
Atkins went to every possible United Lodge of Theosophy meeting.
became devoted to Theosophy and read every word that Helena P.
Blavatsky published, not once but many times. (15,000 - 20,000 pages)
THE keynote that sounded as a call for Anita to serve the worldwide
Theosophical Movement was HPB's message to the fourth annual (1890)
American Convention at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, in
which HPB stated:
"The Ethics of Theosophy are more important
than any divulgement of psychic laws and facts. The latter relate
wholly to the material and evanescent part of the septenary man, but
the Ethics sink into and take hold of the real man the reincarnating
Ego. We are outwardly creatures of but a day; within we are eternal.
Learn, then, well the doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation, and teach,
practice, promulgate that system of life and thought, which alone can
save the coming races. Do not work merely for the Theosophical Society,
but through it for Humanity."
Anita's heart was “pierced”
thereby so that at the age of sixteen she began compiling what thinkers
the world around had to say throughout history on the subject of death
and reincarnation. What started as an appendix to a publication for the
Theosophical Society grew into a volume of its own.
Theosophist in Los Angeles advised Anita to select a pen name and have
her work published as a separate book by a New York publishing house.
Anita thus became Sylvia or S. L. Cranston, for all the books she
first three books were compiled and edited with co-author Joseph Head:
Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology (1961), Reincarnation in World
Thought (1967), and Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery (1977). Her
fourth was written in collaboration with Carey Williams: Reincarnation:
A New Horizon in Science, Religion and Society (1984).
last book became a tribute: HPB: The Extraordinary Life and
Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical
Movement when published in 1993. Anita wrote this last volume with the
assistance of Carey Williams while suffering with Parkinson's disease.
Atkins aka S. L. Cranston died on June 20, 2000. All her Cranston books
remain in print today in many languages around the world.
Atkins's lifelong wish was that the ideas of Theosophy be used to
benefit humanity through gentle acts of service. Clearly, Sylvia
Cranston believed that spreading knowledge and understanding of Karma
and Reincarnation are of keen importance in growing, loving and serving