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Special Collections: Religion Resources: Spiritualism Resources

This guide will help you navigate the Religion collections in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP)

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Spiritualism Resources

RBSCP holds and collects materials directly related to the Fox Sisters and, more broadly, to the development of the American spiritualist movement from 1848 to the present. Mainly a print collection, holdings include works regarding: the material culture of spiritualism; accounts by/about mediums and other seers; spirit writing/automatic writing, and phrenology.

Archival Collections

Isaac and Amy Post Family Papers

The Posts were abolitionists, suffragists, Quakers, and early Spiritualists.  Includes correspondence from the Fox sisters to the Posts, exemplars of Spirit Writing, and letters mentioning both of these topics. These materials are accessible online.

CX131 Diary of Ira Van Dusen

Brief diary with scant entries describing spiritualist séances, including table tipping and contact with deceased friends and relatives, Jan and March 1884 by VanDusen of Glen Falls, NY.

Bragdon Family Papers: See Box 68 for exemplars of automatic writing by Eugenie Macaulay Bragdon, some of which appeared in the published work Oracle.

Several collections include phrenological charts. These include: Helen Aldrich De Kroyft Papers, William Henry Seward Papers, Fletcher Steele Papers, and Thurlow Weed Papers.  See also published phrenological books.

Print / Rare Books Collections

Published works, including books, periodicals, and broadsides, are represented in the Library catalog. 

Various Spiritualist newspapers from the Post Family Papers. To see a list of titles/issues held, search the Library catalog for “Post family newspapers.”

Digital materials

Post Family Papers Project

The Posts were abolitionists, suffragists, and early Spiritualists.  The collection includes correspondence from the Fox sisters to the Posts, exemplars of Spirit Writing, and letters mentioning both of these topics.

RBSCP holdings of Spiritualist newspapers published in NY State are available in NYS Historic NewspapersTitles include: Olive Branch, The Principle, Spiritual Clarion, Spiritual Telegraph, The Spiritualist at Work, Truth Seeker.

International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals

A US-based private organization focused on the digital preservation of Spiritualist and occult periodicals published between 1914-1945.

Assistant Director, Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation

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Autumn Haag

Areas of Expertise

  • 19th Century Social Justice and Activism
  • Black History and Culture
  • Rochester and Monroe County History
  • Women’s History
  • Political Collections - William Henry Seward, Thurlow Weed, and Midge Costanza
Contact:
Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation
Rush Rhees Library
Room 225
755 Library Road
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627
585-275-9327
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