Ernest Louis Selleger (1876-1967)

Ernest Louis Selleger (Tenno for short) was a likely contact for Farwerck. He was an interesting character, though a bit elusive for the interests of this website. He has been mentioned a few times before. I decided to see if I could find some more information about the man.

Selleger was born on 2 Augustus 1876 in Pemalang, Dutch Indonesia. He had three brothers and three sisters. In some ways, his wife Johanna Madeleine (Nancy for short) Elout (1875-1957) was more famous than Tenno, at least, with the general audience. Elout would become a rather famous writer of children’s books later in her life. The couple met each other in Switzerland in 1905. They had two sons, one of them died at an early age in Laren, a place name you will run into more often on this website.

Selleger studied in the Netherlands and apparently stayed there. In 1908 he started a paper factory together with C.W.J. Hoyer in Nijmegen in the East of the Netherlands. Selleger was director for over 40 years and -like Farwerck- he was to help found and chair an umbrella organisation, in this case for paper factories of course. The factory named “Gelderland” (later “Gelderland Tielens” which suggests a merging) and was mostly famous for having invented this paper to be used for Bibles.

Selleger was deeply involved in paper manufacturing and even got a professors chair for paper manufacturing at the university (at the time a “hogeschool”, not yet a university) of Delft (where he had graduated himself 37 years earlier) in 1937.

Like Farwerck, Selleger was involved in different businesses, such as the glass factory that Farwerck and Marijn Cochius were involved in.

More interesting, Selleger and his wife were known Theosophists. Selleger even helmed the Dutch department in 1945 and 1946. Of the numerous publications I can find of the man, most are about paper manufacturing (or business in general), a handful are Theosophical.

Selleger, like Farwerck, was involved in the Universal Sufism movement of Hazrat Inayat Khan. That is to stay, Khan stayed in his home during one of his three visits to the Netherlands in 1921 and he was one of the contacts for information about the lectures in Den Haag (The Hague) in the Masonic building. Selleger translated Khan’s English to Dutch.
Khan wasn’t the only such person who stayed at the Sellegers. Rudolf Steiner supposedly did as well, even Krishnamurti. On Youtube there is a video made by Selleger (2) on which you can see Khan, Krishnamurti, Besant and Leadbeater.

Another thing that Selleger shared with Farwerck was the Rotary. So the two shared business (at least the glass factory), Theosophy, Sufism, Rotary and the vegetarian league. That makes it likely that Farwerck also frequented Selleger’s (spiritual) gatherings and met some of the famous people in that corner from his time.

Selleger passed away just a few years before Farwerck, in 1967, 90 years of age, having survived his wife by a decade.


(1) Source for the photo

(2) Youtube (accessed 14/7/2021)

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