Hubbard, L. Ron (Lafayette Ronald), 1911-1986

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Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (March 13, 1911 – January 24, 1986), more commonly known as L. Ron Hubbard, was an American author of science fiction and fantasy stories who founded the Church of Scientology. In 1950, Hubbard authored Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and established a series of organizations to promote Dianetics. In 1952, Hubbard lost the rights to Dianetics in bankruptcy proceedings, and he subsequently founded Scientology. Thereafter Hubbard oversaw the growth of the Church of Scientology into a worldwide organization.

Born in Tilden, Nebraska, in 1911, Hubbard spent much of his childhood in Helena, Montana. After his father was posted to the U.S. naval base on Guam, Hubbard traveled to Asia and the South Pacific in the late 1920s. In 1930, Hubbard enrolled at George Washington University to study civil engineering but dropped out in his second year. He began his career as a prolific writer of pulp fiction stories and married Margaret "Polly" Grubb, who shared his interest in aviation.

Hubbard was an officer in the Navy during World War II, where he briefly commanded two ships but was removed from command both times. The last few months of his active service were spent in a hospital, being treated for a variety of complaints.

Scientology became increasingly controversial during the 1960s and came under intense media, government and legal pressure in a number of countries. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hubbard spent much of his time at sea on his personal fleet of ships as "Commodore" of the Sea Organization, an elite quasi-paramilitary group of Scientologists.

Hubbard returned to the United States in 1975 and went into seclusion in the California desert after an unsuccessful attempt to take over the town of Clearwater, Florida. In 1978, Hubbard was convicted of fraud after he was tried in absentia by France. In the same year, eleven high-ranking members of Scientology were indicted on 28 charges for their role in the Church's Snow White Program, a systematic program of espionage against the United States government. One of the indicted was Hubbard's wife Mary Sue Hubbard, who was in charge of the program; L. Ron Hubbard was named an unindicted co-conspirator.

Hubbard spent the remaining years of his life in seclusion in a luxury motorhome on a ranch in California, attended to by a small group of Scientology officials. He died at age 74 in January 1986. Following Hubbard's death, Scientology leaders announced that his body had become an impediment to his work and that he had decided to "drop his body" to continue his research on another plane of existence. Though many of Hubbard's autobiographical statements have been found to be fictitious, the Church of Scientology describes Hubbard in hagiographic terms and rejects any suggestion that its account of Hubbard's life is not historical fact.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Pulp Science Fiction and Detective Fiction Periodical Collection, 1940-1983 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Scientology at the Marina Collection, 1947-1973 Graduate Theological Union
referencedIn Papers, 1889-1990 (bulk 1922-1989) University of Kansas Kenneth Spencer Research Library Kanas Collection
creatorOf Robert Vaughn Young memorial Scientology collection, 1929 - 2003. Graduate Theological Union, Flora Lamson Hewlett Library
referencedIn James Free Papers, 1929-1996, (bulk 1951-1979) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Collection of Material Related to the Church of Scientology, ca. 1954-ca. 1982 University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
referencedIn Miller, Russell. Black Magic and Betty, 1988. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library and Archives
referencedIn Ashby, Grant E., Mrs. Mrs. Grant E. Ashby rodeo collection, 1924-1983. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
creatorOf Hubbard, L. Ron (La Fayette Ron), 1911-. Science fiction collotype prints, 1987. Temple University Libraries, Paley Library
creatorOf Hubbard, L. Ron (La Fayette Ron), 1911-1986. Scientology at the Marina Collection. Graduate Theological Union, Flora Lamson Hewlett Library
referencedIn R. Buckminster Fuller papers, ca. 1920-1983 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916-2001. Claude Elwood Shannon papers, 1932-1995 (bulk 1938-1989). Library of Congress
referencedIn American Family Foundation. [Scientology]. College of Southern Idaho
referencedIn Fort, Charles, 1874-1932. Papers of Charles Fort [manuscript], 1920-1951. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn A Collection of material related to the Church of Scientology, ca. 1954-ca. 1982. University of California, Los Angeles
referencedIn Claude Elwood Shannon Papers, 1932-1995, (bulk 1938-1989) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Hubbard, Ron. Condor / Ron Hubbard. University of North Texas Library, UNT
referencedIn Free, James. James Free papers, 1929-1996 (bulk 1951-1979). Library of Congress
Relation Name
associatedWith Ashby, Grant E., Mrs. person
founderOf Church of Scientology International. corporateBody
associatedWith Church of Scientology (Los Angeles, Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Fort, Charles, 1874-1932. person
associatedWith Free, James. person
associatedWith Free, James. person
associatedWith Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983 person
associatedWith Hays, Russell Randolph, 1904-1989 person
associatedWith Kiplinger, Harry Dell person
associatedWith Miller, Russell. person
correspondedWith Shannon, Claude Elwood, 1916-2001. person
associatedWith United States. Marine Corps corporateBody
memberOf United States. Navy corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Nebraska NE US
California CA US
Bremerton WA US
Helena MT US
Fantasy fiction
Religious belief
Science fiction
Religious leaders


Birth 1911-03-13

Death 1986-01-24






Ark ID: w68d0cpz

SNAC ID: 42789754