The Theosophical Society was the organization formed to advance the spiritual principles and search for Truth known as Theosophy.
The Theosophical Society was founded in New York City, USA, in 1875 by H.P. Blavatsky, Henry Steel Olcott, William Quan Judge and others. Its initial objective was the investigation, study and explanation of mediumistic phenomena. After a few years Olcott and Blavatsky moved to India and established the International Headquarters at Adyar, Madras (Chennai). There, they also became interested in studying Eastern religions, and these were included in the Society's agenda. By 1889 when Blavatsky wrote Key to Theosophy, the Society's objectives had evolved into
To form the nucleus of a Universal Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, colour, or creed.
To promote the study of Aryan and other Scriptures, of the World's religion and sciences, and to vindicate the importance of old Asiatic literature, namely, of the Brahmanical, Buddhist, and Zoroastrian philosophies.
To investigate the hidden mysteries of Nature under every aspect possible, and the psychic and spiritual powers latent in man especially. (p. 39, Key to Theosophy)
In addition to the stated objectives, as early as 1889 Blavatsky had told a group of Theosophical students that the real purpose of establishing the Society was to prepare humanity for the reception of the World Teacher when he appeared again on earth. This was repeated again more publicly by Besant in 1896, five years after Blavatsky's death. (Page 12, Lutyens, 'Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening')
Theosophical Society, 1890After Helena Blavatsky's death in 1891, the Society's leaders seemed at first to work together peacefully. This did not last long. Judge was accused by Olcott and Annie Besant of forging letters from the Mahatmas; he ended his association with Olcott and Besant in 1895 and took most of the Society's American Section with him. The original organisation led by Olcott and Besant remains today based in India and is known as the Theosophical Society - Adyar, while the faction led by Judge is today known simply as the Theosophical Society, but often with the clarifying statement, "international headquarters, Pasadena, California". A third organization, the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT, in 1909 split off from the latter organization, and various small splinter groups began to take shape including the Palmers Green Theosophical Lodge under the leadership of Thomas Neumark-Jones — which was influential among British New Liberal intellectuals.
In 1902, Rudolph Steiner became General Secretary of the German/Austrian division of the Theosophical Society. He maintained a Western-oriented course, relatively independent from the Adyar headquarter led by Besant and Olcott. After serious philosophical conflicts, primarily on the spiritual significance of Christ and on the status of the young boy Krishnamurti (see below), most of the German and Austrian members split off in 1913 and formed the Anthroposophical Society. The latter remains very active and influential today and has branches in almost all western communities, including the US and Canada.
Controversy / Racial Beliefs
Blavatsky argued that humanity had descended from a series of "Root Races", naming the fifth root race (out of seven) the "Aryan" Race. She thought that the Aryans originally came from Atlantis, and non-Aryan peoples were spiritually and intellectually inferior to Aryans, and would eventually die out.  She believed that Semitic peoples were an offshoot of Aryans who have become "degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality." Guido von List (and his followers such as Lanz von Liebenfels) later took up some of Blavatsky's ideas, mixing her ideology with nationalistic and fascist ideas; this system of thought became known as Ariosophy. Ariosophy, like Theosophy, had relied on intellectual expositions of racial evolution. The Thule Society preached Aryan supremacy and acted to achieve it. It provides the final link between occult racial theories and the racial ideology of Hitler and the emerging Nazi party."