Born on 2 August 1832, he was the oldest son of a businessman Henry Wyekoff Olcott and Emily Steel Olcott. His parents moved from Orange to New York City at some point of time, and at age fifteen the boy entered the New York University. He had to leave that after a year, when his father could not afford the tuition fee. He took up share-farming a 500 acre plot near Elysia, Ohio, in the vicinity of his maternal uncle who, fortunately, introduced him to Spiritualism too.
Helena Petrovna Von Hahn, later known as Madame Blavatsky (HPB, to be brief and reverentially called) was born at Ekaterinoslav, a town on the river Dnieper, in Southern Russia on the 12 August 1831. She was the daughter of Colonel Peter von Hahn and Helena de Fadeyev. Her mother passed away in 1842 and HPB was brought up by her maternal grandparents. Her grand father was a Civil Governor.