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L. Ron Hubbard prints

Identifier: MS0764-UA

Collection Scope and Content

Materials in this collection include prints from science fiction works such as Battlefield Earth.

These prints were donated to Special Collections in four accessions between 1999 and 2004 by Author Services, Inc. of Hollywood, California.

The original donation included books that have been cataloged in the Aladin system and added to the book collection.


  • Creation: undated


Restrictions on Access

Some records may be restricted.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical Note

L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) was the founder of the Church of Scientology and attended The George Washington University from 1930-32, studying engineering but not receiving a degree. While at GW he was a member of the Phi Theta Xi engineering fraternity and American Society of Engineers. Lafayette Ron Hubbard was born on March 13, 1911 in Tilden, Nebraska. At the age of two, he and his family took up residence on a ranch outside Kalispell, Montana, and from there moved to the state's capital, Helena. Under his mother's tutelage, Hubbard was reading and writing at an early age, and soon satisfying his insatiable curiosity about life with the works of Shakespeare, the Greek philosophers, and other classics. When his father's naval career necessitated that the family leave Montana for a series of cross-country journeys, Hubbard's mother was also on hand to help him make up what he missed in school. In early 1923, when Hubbard was twelve, he and his family moved to Seattle, Washington, where his father was stationed at the local naval base.

At the end of that year, young Hubbard traveled to the nation's capital via the Panama Canal, meeting Commander Joseph C. Thompson of the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. Commander Thompson was the first officer sent by the U.S. Navy to study under Sigmund Freud, and took it upon himself to pass on the essentials of Freudian theory to his young friend. Although keenly interested in the Commander's lessons, Hubbard was also left with many unanswered questions.

In 1927, at the age of sixteen, Hubbard took the first of his several voyages across the Pacific to Asia. There, both on his own and in the company of an officer attached to the British legation, he took advantage of this unique opportunity to study Far Eastern culture. By the age of nineteen, long before the advent of commercial airplane or jet transportation, he had traveled more than a quarter of a million miles, including voyages not only to China but also Japan, Guam, the Philippines and other points in the Orient. In a very real sense, the world itself was his classroom, and he studied in it voraciously, recording what he saw and learned in his ever-present diaries, which he carefully preserved for future reference.

Returning to the United States in 1929, Hubbard resumed his formal education. After attending Swavely Prep School in Manassas, Virginia, he was graduated from the Woodward School for Boys in Washington, D.C. He enrolled at George Washington University in 1930. His major subject should probably have been ethnology, since he was already an expert in many different cultures. But fate and his father placed him, fortunately, in mathematics and engineering instead. With his knowledge of many cultures and his growing awareness of the human condition, his background in engineering and mathematics would serve him well in undertaking a scientific approach to solving the riddles of existence and man's spiritual potential.

Theorizing that the world of subatomic particles might possibly provide a clue to the human thought process, he enrolled in one of the first nuclear physics courses taught in the United States. Moreover, he was concerned for the safety of the world, recognizing that if man were to handle the atom sanely for the greatest benefit, he would first have to learn to handle himself. His aim, then, was to synthesize and test all knowledge for what was observable, workable and could truly help solve man's problems. And to that end, he set out to determine precisely how the mind functioned. In one of his first pioneering experiments on the subject, he employed a sound wave measuring device called a Koenig photometer. Two students read poetry from extremely different languages – Japanese and English – into the device. He found that the device identified the speech as poetry regardless of language. When haiku was read in the original Japanese, the wavelengths produced by the Koenig photometer were the same as those produced when English verse was read. Here, then, he concluded, was scientific evidence that people were not so different as he had been led to believe, that there was indeed a meeting ground, and all minds did in fact respond identically to the same stimuli.

Deciding that formal study had nothing more to offer, L. Ron Hubbard left college in the depths of the Depression, again taking his quest to learn about life out into the world. He said of this period, “. . . my writing financed research and this included expeditions which were conducted in order to investigate primitive peoples to see if I could find a common denominator of existence which would be workable.” He married in 1933 and settled down to a career as a writer, which spanned various genres - from westerns to horror and science fiction - and he was a popular contributor to pulp magazines. Hubbard had also developed an interest in exploring. In 1940 he was elected to the Explorer's Club and during the winter of 1940–41 was awarded his licenses as a Master of Steam and Motor Vessels and Master of Sail Vessels; ships would later play a critical role in the operation of the Scientology church.

During World War II Hubbard served in naval intelligence as a lieutenant (junior grade) in Australia and aboard several vessels off the U.S. coast. In 1945, left partially blind with injured optic nerves and lame from hip and back injuries, Hubbard was hospitalized at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. Among the 5,000 naval and Marine Corps patients at Oak Knoll were hundreds of former American prisoners liberated from Japanese camps on South Pacific islands. In case after case, he found that by utilizing techniques he had developed, previously unresponsive patients immediately improved with medical treatment once the mental blocks were removed. As Hubbard noted at the time, “Thought is boss.” This was a revolutionary concept, cutting across misconceptions which had plagued Eastern philosophy and science for centuries.

After the war he began a personal quest for a science of the mind. His initial conclusions appeared in The Original Thesis (1948), prior to a more mature presentation in Dianetics. These and Hubbard's other Scientology writings, both published and unpublished, are considered scriptures by the church. The first published article on Dianetics, entitled Terra Incognita: The Mind, appeared in the Winter/Spring 1949–1950 issue of the Explorers Club Journal. Shortly thereafter, Hubbard found himself literally deluged with letters requesting more information on the application of his breakthroughs. Hoping to make his discoveries available to the broad public, and at the insistence of those working with him at the time, he offered his findings to the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association. The response was most enlightening. Not only did the healthcare establishment claim no interest in his work, they declined to even examine his results.

National columnist Walter Winchell wrote on January 31, 1950, “There is something new coming up in April called Dianetics. A new science which works with the invariability of physical science in the field of the human mind. From all indications, it will prove to be as revolutionary for humanity as the first caveman's discovery and utilization of fire.” What pushed Hubbard from Dianetics to Scientology was his understanding, among other things, of the experience of “exteriorization,” the separation of individual consciousness from the body. This experience allowed him to see the spiritual self, the thetan, as the true self that can exist apart from the body. He also came to believe that thetans had inhabited other bodies before their present one, a concept not unlike that of reincarnation in Eastern religions. The new focus on the thetan led Hubbard to postulate a comprehensive vision of the cosmos that had much in common with Eastern faiths and closely resembled the western Gnostic tradition.

“For countless ages,” he wrote, “a goal of religion has been the salvage of the human spirit. Man has tried by many practices to find the pathway to salvation. He has held the imperishable hope that someday in some way he would be free.” Consequently, the most sacred teachings of Scientology (the Operating Thetan, or OT, levels) are concerned with assisting the individual to operate as a fully conscious and functioning thetan. According to the church, as individual Scientologists become aware of the four higher dynamics and experience God, they are free to reach their own conclusions as to God's nature. But this freedom does not mean that belief in God is irrelevant or unimportant.

On September 1, 1966, with Scientology established as a worldwide religion, Mr. Hubbard resigned his position as Executive Director of the Church and stepped down from the boards of all Church corporations in order to fully devote himself to researches into the highest levels of spiritual awareness and ability. On the threshold of breakthroughs that had never before been envisaged, he took to the sea, in part to continue his work in an undistracted environment. L. Ron Hubbard described his philosophy in more than 5,000 writings, including dozens of books, and in 3,000 tape-recorded lectures. Scientology missions and churches have been established on six continents.

Hubbard continued to write and travel. In 1980, he found time to resume his fiction career. Celebrating his 50th anniversary as a professional writer, he turned his prodigious energy to the authoring of Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000. This epic science fiction novel was followed by the ten-volume Mission Earth opus, a satirical romp through the foibles of our civilization. All eleven books went on to become New York Times and international bestsellers, a consecutive bestseller record unmatched by any writer in history. Today the Church of Scientology remains a subject of controversy but operates in more than 150 countries. L. Ron Hubbard died on January 24, 1986 in San Luis Obispo, California.

The collections were donated to the University Archives in four accessions between 1999 and 2004 by Author Services, Inc. of Hollywood, California.

N.B. This history note was written in 2005


2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Materials in this collection include prints from science fiction works such as Battlefield Earth.

Acquisition Information

These prints were donated to Special Collections in four accessions between 1999 and 2004 by Author Services, Inc. of Hollywood, California.

Prelminary Guide to the L. Ron Hubbard prints,
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

George Washington University Gelman Library
2130 H Street NW
Washington DC 20052 United States of America