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The Rise of 19th-Century American Spiritualism, 1854–1873

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During an initial period of rapid expansion, American Spiritualists did not form churches or settle ministers. As a result, something other than numbers and locations of churches and ministers must chart the 19th-century rise of this religious movement. Fortunately, the leading Spiritualist newspaper of the period, the Banner of Light, published extensive lists of public meetings, lectures, and prospective lecturers. In addition, both the Banner and the Spiritual Telegraph newspapers published early lists of their subscription agents. Even though they do not directly address the central Spiritualist activity of the séance, these lists offer a detailed view of where and when the initial and rapid growth of American Spiritualist activity occurred. Data gathered from these lists put explanations about the rise of this 19th-century Spiritualist movement on a better empirical foundation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Independent Scholar

Publication date: June 1, 2010


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