Skip to main content

Allan W. Anderson Papers

Identifier: MS-0478

Scope and Contents

The Allan W. Anderson Papers (1949-2010) document Dr. Anderson’s work as a poet and academic in religious studies. The majority of the material dates from 1970 to 1990 with sparse documentation from pre-1970 and post-2000. These files document some of Anderson’s creative processes for his published works including the children’s book Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and A Little Cove of Nonsense, as well as unpublished materials. His collection includes poems, lectures, correspondence, research papers, student work, newspaper clippings, and audio visual materials. Highlights include drafts of some of his most prominent writings such as Reflections on the I Ching and Self-Transformation and the Oracular, in addition to correspondence concerning the publication of his dialogues with Jiddu Krishnamurti, A Wholly Different Way of Living. The collection consists of five series: Personal Papers (1949-1994), Published and Unpublished Writings (1963-2010), Krishnamurti (1958-2003), San Diego State University Public Lectures (1966-1988), San Diego State University Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments (1964-1993).

The Personal Papers (1949-1994) consist of four sub-series, Correspondence (1969-1974), Graduate and Doctoral Coursework (1956-1960), Jeannette Anderson (circa 1970’s), and Notes and Consultations (1949-1994). The Correspondence sub-series contains letters to friends and organizations, while the Graduate and Doctoral Coursework sub-series is compiled of papers and theses written by Anderson for his graduate and doctoral programs.  The Jeannette Anderson sub-series contains interviews conducted for The Good Life by Jeannette Anderson, a wife of Allan Anderson. Finally, the Notes and Consultations sub-series encompasses a range of materials from a drawing of a broad-nosed crocodile drawn by Anderson in 1949, to I-Ching oracles and accounts of dreams. Materials are arranged alphabetically within their sub-series.

The Published and Unpublished Writings (1963-2010) series is divided into eight sub-series, Poetry (n.d.), Essays and Presentations (1967-1997), Lectures (1968-1980), Books and Manuscripts (n.d.), Notes and References (n.d.), Critiques and Reviews (1963-1992), Forwards and Prefaces (n.d.), and Articles, Journals and Newsletters (1977-2003). The Poetry sub-series contains several sub-sub-series: Poetry by Title, Poetry by Subject, and Drafts and Revisions, and the materials are most commonly of religious and spiritual themes corresponding to Dr. Anderson’s professional work as a religious studies professor. Revised originals of his most recent publication, Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and A little cove of Nonsense, and their accompanying audio and visual materials, can also be found within Drafts and Revisions. The second sub-series, Essays and Presentations, contains copies of papers submitted by Anderson to The International Foundation for New Human Paradigms in Guadalajara, Mexico, and some shorter meditations on religion and philosophical subjects. The Lectures sub-series includes copies and transcripts of lectures and sermons given by Anderson. The fourth sub-series, Books and Manuscripts, includes drafts of the creative process for some of Dr. Anderson’s published and unpublished works of religious thought and fiction, such as The Owl and the Pussy-Cat: Plain Talk on Self-Change, and The Pool, an unpublished novel. The Notes and References sub-series documents Anderson's creative processes on a wide range of spiritual and philosophical subjects. Critiques and Reviews is mainly composed of reviews by Anderson for other authors in his field, with some correspondence with editors. The Forwards and Prefaces sub-series is similarlarly composed of introductions by Anderson for books written by his colleagues. Articles, Journals and Newsletters is a sub-series composed of published materials relating to Anderson's work in religion and spirituality such as the Friends of Jung Newsletter and Inner Directions Journal, both of which featured presentations by Anderson in their publications. Materials are arranged alphabetically within their sub-series.

The J. Krishnamurti (1958-2003) series mainly documents correspondence between Dr. Anderson and the Krishnamurti Foundation regarding his dialogues with Jiddu Krishnamurti in A Wholly Different Way of Living. This series also contains addresses made by Anderson about Krishnamurti and a manuscript of The Kitchen Chronicles: 1001 Lunches with J. Krishnamurti by Michael Krohnen. Materials are arranged alphabetically within this series.

The San Diego State University Public Lectures (1966-1988) series contains records of presentations by Dr. Anderson at SDSU, and includes several highlights such as Patience: The Spiritual Warrior's Virtue from the SDSU Philosophy Colloquium and On the Nature of Religious Language from the Humanities Division Lecture Series. Materials are arranged alphabetically within this series.

The San Diego State University Philosophy and Religious Studies Departments (1964-1993) series is divided into four sub-series, Course Materials (1970-1981), Student Lecture Notes (1964-1983), Student Coursework (1978-1993), and Department and Faculty Materials (1966-1988). The Course Materials sub-series contains references and materials used by Dr. Anderson in his religious studies courses at San Diego State, some of which were written by him specifically for the courses. The Student Lecture Notes sub-series contains notes and transcriptions by students regarding Dr. Anderson's lectures. This sub-series also includes tape recordings of lectures in 1977, which are arranged chronologically. They have been digitized, and are available in virtual folders. The digitized lectures are physically housed on CDs, which are listed in the finding aid above their corresponding tapes as items. The Student Coursework sub-series includes student writing assignments with annotations and recorded class lectures by Dr. Anderson while teaching at SDSU, and focus on the analysis of religious writings such as those used in Christianity, Taoism, and the use of I-Ching hexagrams. The Religious Studies Department and Faculty Materials sub-series is mainly composed of inter-departmental correspondence on faculty and courses, and includes a humorous letter on the usage of ‘FERP’ in the department. Materials are arranged alphabetically within their sub-series.


  • Creation: 1949-2010
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1970-1990


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Dr. Allan W. Anderson was born in Hastings, New Zealand on July 18, 1922 but grew up in England. He moved to the United States in 1936 where he remained the majority of his life. He received a B.A. in history and general science in 1944 from Washington Missionary College, an M.A. in English literature from Trinity College in 1951, and a Ph.D. in philosophy of religion from Columbia University in 1960. He was an instructor at the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington DC from 1947-1949, and was later a radio newscaster and announcer in Hartford, Connecticut, where he also worked as a social worker.

Anderson began teaching at SDSU in 1962 and retired in 1985. He was a founder of the Department of Religious Studies, established in 1969. He taught courses on philosophy of religion, metaphysics, ethics, scripture, and psychology with a focus on Hindu and Chinese canons. Additionally, he received the 1970 California State Distinguished Teaching Award and the Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award for 1982 and 1983.

His published works range from religious writings to children’s literature and fiction. Some of his works include Oracles of Love, Sonnets Toward Self-Change, The Hastings Papers, and Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and a little cove of Nonsense. Perhaps his most well-known works are the eighteen one-hour dialogues between Anderson and Jiddu Krishnamurti entitled A Wholly Different Way of Living. The talks were broadcast every Sunday on KPBS from January to April, 1975, and were later published as a book.

In addition to his accomplishments in academia, Anderson founded Metanoia, a group for the study of self-transformation in La Jolla. He also participated in the Berkeley Regional Seminar in Confucian Studies and lectured regularly for the San Diego Friends of Jung organization.

Allan W. Anderson died in 2013.


5.85 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

2010-024, 2011-043

Related Materials

Jiddu Krishnamurti Papers, 1935-1975

Other Descriptive Information

An oral history of Allan Anderson was recorded on July 17, 2009. Dr. Anderson's oral history documents his teaching philosophy, his love of language and literature, and his interests in Eastern philosophy and the wisdom tradition. Especially noteworthy are Dr. Anderson's readings of two poems from his children's book of poetry titled, Songs from the Mifflinger Sea and a Little Cove of Nonsense. Dr. Anderson also describes his ideal student-teacher relationship, and his teaching methods.

Allan W. Anderson Papers
Priscilla Lopez & Rosanna Smith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US