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Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism Records

Register

Ms. Coll. 412

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Creator:
Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism.
Title:
Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism Records
Date [bulk]:
1884-1887
Date [inclusive]:
1884-1922
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 412
Extent:
8 boxes
Language:
English
Abstract:
Collection consists of 9 series. External Correspondence (3 boxes) includes letters from mediums, spiritualists, and researchers of spiritualistic phenomena. The remaining series in the collection are Commission Correspondence (21 folders), Commission Report (7 folders), Investigation Materials (10 folders), Spiritualist Photographs (3 folders), Newspaper Clippings (6 folders), Publications (17 folders), Miscellaneous (3 folders), and Oversize (2 boxes + 1 large chart).
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Before Henry Seybert died in 1883, he endowed a chair of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, on the condition that the University appoint a commission to investigate “all systems of Morals, Religion, or Philosophy which assume to represent the Truth, and particularly of Modern Spiritualism” ( Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to Investigate Modern Spiritualism in Accordance with the Request of the Late Henry Seybert (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1887), 5). Spiritualism, the belief that it was possible for the spirits of the dead to communicate or interact by various means with the living, had attracted many adherents in the United States since 1850, although spiritualism could not in any way be called a unified movement.

During 1884, the University assembled the Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism. Its members, almost all drawn from the University community, were mostly scientists. The few humanists were Horace Howard Furness, a Shakespeare scholar, a trustee of the University, Acting Chair of the Commission, and the only member of the Commission to express any predisposition in favor of spiritualism; George S. Fullerton, a clergyman, a professor of philosophy, the first holder of the chair endowed by Seybert, and the secretary of the Commission; and Robert Thomas Ellis, another clergyman and a professor of English literature and history. The scientists associated with the University were William Pepper, provost, professor of clinical medicine, and ex officio Chair of the Commission; Joseph Leidy, director of the newly-formed biology department, professor of comparative anatomy and zoology, and member of the Academy of Natural Sciences; George Augustus Koenig, professor of mineralogy and metallurgy; James William White, professor of dentistry; and S. Weir Mitchell, doctor, trustee of the University, and fellow of the College of Physicians. These men were also joined by Calvin B. Knerr, a doctor; and Coleman Sellers, an engineer and a professor of mathematics at the Franklin Institute. The Commission also, at Seybert’s request, had the assistance of Thomas Hazard, a spiritualist and friend of Seybert ( Preliminary Report, 5-6).

Beginning in 1884, members of the Commission investigated various mediums, particularly those who claimed to be able to channel the answers of spirits to questions in sealed envelopes; those who claimed that spirits wrote answers to questions on slates held by the mediums; and those who claimed to materialize spirits at séances. They began by working with mediums recommended to them by Hazard. After observing slate writers Mrs. S. E. Patterson, Henry Slade, and Maud E. Lord, and finding the results unsatisfactory and also after consulting with Henry Kellar, a magician who duplicated the results of the mediums using purely human sleight of hand, they sought more material for research. As described in the Commission’s report, “the following advertisement was, in March, 1885, inserted in The Religio-Philosophical Journal, of Chicago, The Banner of Light, in Boston, and The Public Ledger, in Philadelphia: “‘The Seybert Commission for Investigating Modern Spiritualism,’ of the University of Pennsylvania, hereby requests all Mediums for Independent Slate Writing, and no other at present, who are willing to submit their manifestations to the examination of this Commission, to communicate with the undersigned, stating terms, etc. Horace Howard Furness, Acting Chairman, Philadelphia, Pa.” To this plea, however, they received only three replies, two of which they discarded out of hand. According to the Commission’s report, mediums were advising one another not to cooperate ( Preliminary Report, 14, 90).

Spiritualists’ suspicions of the Commission could not have been relieved by an attack by Hazard on the Commisssion in the May 18, 1885, issue of The North American. In a letter to the editor, Hazard complained that the Commission was not honoring Seybert’s intentions and that Fullerton, Thompson, and Koenig should be stricken from the Commission for bias against spiritualism. A few weeks later he sent an apology to Fullerton and he continued to correspond with the Commission. Readers seemed to follow mentions of the Commission with great interest. Although Pepper was ready to see the investigation concluded as early as 1885, interest in the Commission in the wider world ran high. Articles concerning the investigation appeared in both spiritualist and mainstream newspapers and generated many letters of inquiry, recommendations, offers of volunteer assistance, and requests for money from the public. Twice there were “leaks” serious enough that Furness wrote members of the Commission reminding them of the need for secrecy.

By the summer of 1886, a first version of the Commission’s preliminary report had been set in type to be read and corrected by members of the Commission. In May of 1887, all members of the Commission signed their names to the report, and in June the J. B. Lippincott Company published the Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to Investigate Modern Spiritualism in Accordance with the Request of the Late Henry Seybert. When the Commission’s negative results (as the Commission reported, “we beg to express our regret that thus far we have not been cheered by the discovery of a single novel fact” ( Preliminary Report, 25) were reported in the press, Mitchell noted, “Of course we please no newspaper” (letter to H. H. Furness, 16 June 1887, Folder 217). But requests from newspaper readers for copies of the report soon began arriving, some from as far away as Puerto Rico, St. Petersburg, Leipzig, and Lodi. Furness noted in a letter, “Although we call this a ‘Preliminary Report’ I have all along supposed that no second one would follow. But I find that the interest in it is so much greater than I anticipated that I am half inclined to think that next winter will find us at work again, if we find some promising subjects” (letter to C. Sellers, 22 June 1887, Folder 217).

No further report ever followed, but for a time some members of the Commission continued to collect material on spiritualist topics and to attend séances. Furness, who as a trustee of the University served on the Library Committee, continued to be involved with the Henry Seybert Library of Modern Spiritualism, a collection in the University’s library.

Scope and Contents

The Seybert Commission Records at the University of Pennsylvania provide a snapshot of American spiritualism on the East Coast and in the Midwest–persons, practices, and publications–in the mid- to late 1880s. The collection includes 8 boxes of documents, photographs, a few objects from the investigations, newspaper clippings, and publications. The documents are primarily correspondence (mostly addressed to Furness or forwarded to him by other members of the Commission), along with versions of the Commission’s report, some examples of spirit writing, and a handwritten catalog of the holdings of the Seybert Library (collection) at the University of Pennsylvania. Several slates used in the Commission’s investigations are also in the collection.

The External Correspondence series consists of approximately 200 folders containing letters from approximately 175 correspondents not serving on or working for the Seybert Commission. Correspondents include mediums and former mediums such as Joseph Caffray, Fred Evans, Margaret Fox, Maud Lord, J. V. Mansfield, Mrs. R. C. Simpson, and Henry Slade; individuals associated with spiritualist periodicals, such as John C. Bundy of Chicago’s Religio-Philosophical Journal and Luther Colby of Boston’s Banner of Light; other investigators of spiritualist phenomena, such as Sir William Crookes, Richard Hodgson, William James, and Robert Pearsall Smith; and many doctors, both supporters and opponents of spiritualism. This series also includes numerous single letters requesting information about the Commission’s work, recommending or criticizing mediums, or seeking financial assistance; and letters from individuals and libraries interested in obtaining copies of the Commission’s report.

The Commission Correspondence series consists of 21 folders containing approximately 150 items of correspondence between Commission members, with Furness, Fullerton, and Sellers being most prominently represented. Letters addressed to Sellers were a later addition to this collection by means of an acquisition of de-accessioned material from the Franklin Institute. Non-members appearing in this series are Thomas Hazard, a spiritualist and friend of Seybert who acted as an advisor to the Commission; William Eliot Furness (H. H. Furness’s cousin), who investigated the medium Mrs. Simpson in Chicago on the Commission’s behalf; and Thomas Yost, who investigated mediums in the Midwest for the Commission. The correspondence in this series covers the invitation of some members to the Commission; the sharing of information and reports of experiences among Commission members; secrecy concerns; and the writing, editing, and publishing of the report. Also in this series are three memoranda written by Furness to the whole committee, one concerning physicality and mechanisms of belief at materialization séances, the other two concerning the spirit photographer W. M. Keeler and his brother, a materializing medium.

Several smaller series follow. The Commission Report series contains the published version of the report in good condition and several earlier galley proofs. These belonged to Coleman Sellers and were purchased after being de-accessioned by the Franklin Institute. The Investigation Materials series consists of objects used or collected by the Commission in their inquiries. Most of its folders hold slates used by mediums practicing independent (spirit) slate writing and the “anti-spiritualist” Harry Kellar, who claimed to reveal the tricks mediums used in slate writing. These slates were used in meetings with mediums described in the Commission’s report. Also in this series are ties that were used to restrict a medium’s movements and to seal slates; “spirit photographs,” in which figures of spirits supposedly appeared in developing the film; and examples of spirit writing, in which a medium, frequently in a trance, would write messages from the spirit world. The Spiritualist Photographs series contains approximately 32 photographed or engraved portraits of mediums or prominent spiritualists. Photographs of individuals having correspondence in the External Correspondence series have been filed with the correspondence.

The final series in the collection focus on printed materials. The Clippings series consists of two subseries: clippings concerning the Seybert Commission in particular and clippings concerning other issues related to spiritualism. The Publications series consists of pamphlets and periodicals related to spiritualism Articles about the Seybert Commission allow the tracing of mainstream and spiritualist media interest in the Commission and articles and periodicals about other spiritualist topics provide context for the work of the Commission. The Periodicals series includes several issues of The Banner of Light and The Religio-Philosophical Journal, periodicals whose editors corresponded with the Commission.

A small Miscellaneous series consists of a copybook containing records of spirit messages to Henry Seybert from his father, his daughter, and others; a manuscript catalog of the "Seybert Library" at the University of Pennsylvania;  "The Dark-Circle Cabinet," a manuscript poem without author or date; and a large, annotated  "Phrenological Chart," which is stored in a flat drawer.

Following Seybert’s agreement with the University of Pennsylvania, the Henry Seybert Library of Modern Spiritualism was established in the University’s library. Many of the books from this collection are still in the Rare Book Collection of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Seybert Commission Records may be examined by researchers in the reading room of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania. Permission to quote from and to publish unpublished materials must be requested in writing from the Curator of Manuscripts.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Rare Book & Manuscript Library,  April 2002

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Amey A. Hutchins

Revision Description

 September 2008

Source of Acquisition

Donated by H. H. Furness with additions from the Academy of Natural Sciences.

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Collection Inventory

I.  External Correspondence, 1884-1922. 3 boxes.

Series Description

Arranged alphabetically by external correspondent, then chronologically for each correspondent. Items of incoming and outgoing correspondence are interfiled. Includes correspondence from mediums, journalists, doctors, other investigators of spiritualist phenomena, the University of Pennsylvania library, and the general public. Unidentified correspondence is filed at the end of the series.

Box Folder

Adams, John S., (John Saul), d. 1893Banner of Light (Boston, Mass.), 1885. 1 item (2 leaves).

1 1

Allen, H. P., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 2

American Philosophical Society, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 3

American Society for Psychical Research, 1885-1887. 3 items (5 leaves).

1 4

Andrews, D. O., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 5

Archer, SamuelLight in the West, 1887. 1 item (3 leaves).

1 6

Astor Library, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 7

Baker, W. J., 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 8

Baynard, William H., [1887]. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 9

Bean, M. Q., 1885-1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 10

Beane, Frank D., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 11

Bellerjeau, John, 1886-1887. 2 items (3 leaves).

1 12

Benedict, W. H., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 13

Bentley, W. W., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 14

Berry, E. Gertrude, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 15

Betton, W. W., 1885. 2 items (3 leaves).

1 16

Bissette, A. H., 1887. 1 item (2 leaves).

1 17

Bliss, James A., undated. 2 items (5 leaves).

1 18

Bosler [?], John Adams, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 19

Braman, C. A., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 20

Brown, C. M., 1887. 3 items (5 leaves).

1 21

Buddington, Thomas Cushman, 1885-1889. 13 items (42 leaves).

1 22

Bundy, John C., 1884-1889. 59 items (103 leaves).

1 26-34

Butcher, William B. Occult Science Association, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 35

Butterfield, R., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 36

Caffray, Joseph, undated. 6 items (7 leaves).

1 37

Carpenter, H. A., 1922. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 38

Century Magazine, 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 39

Church, Marius C. C., 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 40

Clark, J. B., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 41

Clarke, William H., 1886. 3 items (4 leaves).

1 42

Cochran, Harriet Purdy, 1887. 7 items (38 leaves).

1 43-44

Cochrane, Harriet B., 1885. 2 items (3 leaves).

1 45

Colby, LutherBanner of Light (Boston, Mass.), 1884-1887. 12 items (15 leaves).

1 46-47

Collyer, Robert H., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 48

Columbia University. Library, [1887?]. 1 item (1leaf).

1 49

Conway, Moncure Daniel, 1888. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 50

Coues, Elliott, 1885. 6 items (6 leaves).

1 51

Craird, James, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 52

Crookes, William, Sir, 1884. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 53

Crowell, Eugene, 1885. 1 item (2 leaves).

1 54

Cunningham, Frank O., 1888. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 55

Cutler, C. E., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 56

Daland, Judson, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 57

Davis, Andrew Jackson, 1886. 1 item (2 leaves and 1 engraved portrait).

1 58

DeLong, Henry C., 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 59

Dercum, Francis X., 1886-1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 60

Dick, Emily B., [1885?]. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 61

Douglas, M., 1887. 1 item (3 leaves).

1 62

Dugan, R. W., 1885. 1 item (4 leaves).

1 63

Eastman, Sophia A., 1888. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 64

Easton, Morton William, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 65

Evans, Fred, [after 1886]. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 66

Everts, George S., 1885. 2 items (2 leaves).

1 67

Feldwisch, Henry L., 1887. 1 item (2 leaves).

1 68

Fletcher, John William, 1887, [undated]. 3 items (3 leaves and 1 photograph).

1 69

Flint, R. W., [undated]. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 70

Flower, B. O., 1890. 1 item (1 leaf).

1 71

Forum (Metcalf, Lorettus Sutton, 1837-1920), 1889. 3 items (3 leaves).

1 72

Fox, Margaret, 1884-1889. 8 items (11 leaves).

1 73

Furness, [?], [1884]. 1 item (2 leaves).

1 73

Gage, Omar F., Mrs., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 74

Galusha, C. C., 1885. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 75

Genth, F. A., 1885. 1 item (4 leaves).

2 76

Gerhard, [?], 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 77

Gerrish, Millard F., 1887. 1 item (4 leaves).

2 78

Gibbons, Rodmond, 1887. 2 items (9 leaves).

2 79

Gilmore, Laura Edmonds, 1885. 2 items (3 leaves).

2 80

Glading, Adeline M., 1886. 1 item (2 leaves).

2 81

Gleason, W. W., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 82

Goddard, Ella W., 1884. 2 items (7 leaves).

2 83

Gordon, Elizabeth Margaret, 1885. 1 item (2 leaves).

2 84

Green, Alfred A., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 85

Gregory, Caspar René, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 86

Haley, C. S., ( Chares Stanwood)Heald’s College Journal, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 87

Hall, Arethusa, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 88

Hall, H. L., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 89

Hare, Robert H., 1884. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 90

Harris, J. Smith, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 92

Haskells, Nathan, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 92

Haynes, W. T., 1888. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 93

Hayward, A. S., 1887. 5 items (10 leaves).

2 94

Healy, A. Augustus, 1885-1886. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 95

Henry, [Edwin?], 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 96

Hobbs, Wilson, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 97

Hodgson, Richard, 1855-1905. American Society for Psychical Research, 1889. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 98

"Hope" , [1887?]. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 99

Hovey, William A., 1884. 1 item (3 leaves).

2 100

Hunt, R. W., 1885. 1 item (4 leaves).

2 101

J. B. Lippincott Company, 1884. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 102

James, Abraham, undated. 1 item.

2 103

James, William, 1886-1887. 4 items (4 leaves).

2 104

Jastrow, Joseph, 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

2 105

Jewell, J. Grey, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 106

Kase, Simon P., 1885. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 107-108

Keeler, W. M., 1885, undated. 3 items (5 leaves).

2 109

Kellar, Harry, 1885-1888. 3 items (3 leaves).

2 110-112

Kiddle, Henry, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 113

Kling, A. H., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 114

Lewis, G. F. Old Soldiers’ Advocate, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 115

Livezey, Abraham, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 116

Lord, Maud E., undated. 8 items (6 leaves and 2 photographs).

2 117

Mansfield, J. V., 1885, undated. 17 items (23 leaves and 1 photograph).

2 118-122

Martin, Eleanor A., 1885. 8 items (26 leaves).

2 123-124

Maxwell, E. H., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 125

May, Mayer, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 126

McClean, William J., 1886. 1 item (3 leaves).

2 127

Meylert, G. W., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 128

Miller, Benjamin F., 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 129

Morse, C. S., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 130

Morse, Stephen A., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

2 131

Muhlhauser, F., 1888. 1 item (2 leaves).

2 132

Newton, A. E., 1884-1885, [undated]. 6 items (30 leaves and 1 photograph).

3 133-134

Newton, Henry J., 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 135

Nichols [?], Catherine, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 136

Norbury, Frank Parsons, 1863-1939. Illinois Central Hospital for the Insane, 1888. 1 item (2 leaves).

3 137

North, H. E., 1885. 3 items (5 leaves).

3 138

O’Sullivan, I. L., 1884-1885. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 139

Owen, James J., 1887-1889. 5 items (7 leaves).

3 140

Parker, Andrew J., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 141

Parsons, J. I., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 142

Pascoe, W. H., 1888. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 143

Pennock, F. M., 1884. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 144

Perot, Thomas Morris, 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 145

Philadelphia Mediums’ Protective Association, undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 146

Pike, E. J., Mrs., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 147

Pike, William A., [after 1883]. 1 item (2 leaves).

3 148

Poole, Hester M., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 149

Potter, William H., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 150

Ramborger, Annie D., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 151

Randall, B. F., 1888. 2 items (4 leaves).

3 152

Richmond, A. B., 1889-1890. 2 items (3 leaves).

3 153

Robbins, James J., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 154

Robinsire [?], J. C., 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 155

Rodgers, A. M., Mrs., 1885. 1 item (2 leaves).

3 156

Roth, M., undated. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 157

Sanford, Carlton E., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 158

Sartori, Giuseppe, 1887. 2 items (4 leaves).

3 159

Savage, Minot J., 1884. 2 items (5 leaves).

3 160

Semke, M., 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 161

Sherer, John Calvin, 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 162

Silkman, James B., 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 163

Simpson, R. C., 1884-1885. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 164

Slade, Henry, 1884-1886. 21 items (51 leaves).

3 165-168

Smith, C. B., 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 169

Smith, Robert Pearsall, 1884-1887. 3 items (5 leaves).

3 170

Snyder, John, 1889. 1 item (2 leaves).

3 171

Starr, C. W., undated. 1 item (2 copies, 1 leaf each).

3 172

State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Library, 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 173

Stevenson, Elizabeth M., 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 174

Stoddard, A., Mrs., 1888. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 175

Swan, Sam[uel], 1889. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 176

Swann, James V. R., 1887. 2 items (3 leaves).

3 177

Theosophical Society. American Board of Control, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 178

Tice, William R., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 179

Titus, O. R., 1885 and undated. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 180

Towner, H. C., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 181

Truesdell, John W., 1885. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 182

Truth Seeker (new York, N.Y.), 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 183

Tuttle, Hudson, 1836-1910, 1887. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 184

Univeristy of Pennsylvania. Library, 1889-1922. 4 items (4 leaves).

3 185

Vincent, James, 1888. 1 item (2 leaves).

3 187

Wallace, Alfred Russel, 1823-1913, 1884. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 187

Walkey, S. J., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 188

Walker, Joseph B. (Joseph Beck), 1840-1917, 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 187

Weiss, R[emigius?], 1885. 3 items (4 leaves).

3 190

Welles, C. S., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 191

Wheeler, M. L., Mrs., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 192

Wild, Edward A., 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 193

Wilkie, A., 1886. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 194

Williams, M. E., 1884-1889. 8 items (8 leaves).

3 195

Wills, T., 1887. 3 items (19 leaves).

3 195

Winner, W., undated. 3 items (3 leaves).

3 197

Wood, H. C. (Horatio C.), 1841-1920, 1885. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 198

Woodward, Joseph G. (Joseph Gurley), 1887. 1 item (1 leaf).

3 199

Wolff, John B., 1888; undated. 3 items (4 leaves).

3 200

Unidentified correspondents. 2 items (2 leaves).

3 201

II.  Commission Correspondence, 1884-1889. 21 folders (1884-1889).

Series Description

Correspondence between Commission members, arranged chronologically. Includes memoranda from Acting Chairman H. H. Furness addressed to the whole commission. Undated correspondence is filed at the end of the series.

Box Folder

1884, 1884. 20 items (29 leaves).

4 202-203

1885, 1885. 53 items (91 leaves).

4 204-212

1886, 1886. 12 items (14 leaves).

4 213

1887, 1887. 55 items (82 leaves).

4 214-219

1888, 1888. 5 items (16 leaves).

4 220

1889, 1889. 3 items (15 leaves).

4 221

Undated correspondence. 7 items (9 leaves).

4 222

III.  Commission Report, 1886-1887. 7 folders.

Series Description

Published copy of the Preliminary Report of the Commission Appointed by the University of Pennsylvania to Investigate Modern Spiritualism in Accordance with the Request of the Late Henry Seybert, followed by materials that had been inserted in that copy of the report and by galley proofs of the report at various stages.

Box Folder

Coleman Sellers’s copy of the published report.

4 223

Insertions from Sellers’ copy of the report.

4 224

Galley proofs of the report.

4 225-229

IV.  Investigation Materials, 1884-1885; undated. 10 folders.

Series Description

Includes examples of spirit writing, slates used by mediums to transmit messages from the spirits, photographs of messages on the slates, ties used to restrict mediums or secure slates from tampering, and spirit photographs.

Box Folder

Spirit writing.

5 230

Slates for Harry Kellar’s demonstrations of how slate writing might be done.

5 231-233

Slates for slate writing– "Mrs. Patterson" .

5 234

Slates for and photographs of slate writing–Henry Slade.

5 235-237

Spirit photographs.

5 238

Ties for securing mediums and slates.

5 239

V.  Spiritualist Photographs, undated. 3 folders.

Series Description

Photographic portraits and a few engravings of spiritualists, arranged alphabetically by name of sitter. Unidentified photographs are filed at the end of the series.

Box Folder

"Miss [H.?] Berry".

5 240

“J. M. Brown”.

5 240

“Tennessee C. Claflin, now Lady Cook”.

5 240

“[Mr.?] Colville”.

5 240

“R. Cooper”.

5 240

“W. Eglinton”.

5 240

“Mrs. Endurance [?]”.

5 240

“Mrs. Everitt”.

5 240

“Mrs. Fay”.

5 240

“Charles H. Foster”.

5 240

“Mrs. Makdougall [?] Gregory”.

5 240

“Thomas R. Hazard in his 83rd year”.

5 241

“Mrs. Heine [?]”.

5 241

“P. L. O. A. Keeler”.

5 241

“D. B. McCarter, M. D.”. 2 photographs and 1 envelope.

5 241

“Mrs. Ross”.

5 241

“E. P. Sargeant”.

5 242

“Mrs. Shelham[m?]er”. 2 photographs.

5 242

"E. W. Wallis".

5 242

“Mrs. Williams”.

5 242

“Victoria Claflin Woodhull, now Mrs. John Biddulph Martin” (engraving).

5 242

Victoria Claflin Woodhull, "Washington, D. C.–The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives Receiving a Deputation of Female Suffragists, January 11th–A Lady Delegate Reading Her Argument in Favor of Woman’s Voting, on the Basis of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Constitutional Amendments" (engraving).

5 242

Unidentified. 1 engraving and 4 photographs.

5 242

VI.  Newspaper Clippings. 6 folders.

Box Folder

Seybert Commission, 1885-1887; undated. 1 folder.

6 243

Spiritualism, 1884-1892; undated. 5 folders.

6 244-248

VII.  Publications, 1872-1893?. 17 folders.

Series Description

Printed pamphlets, booklets, and periodicals, concerning the Seybert Commission and spiritualist topics, filed alphabetically by title and then chronologically if there are multiple issues of a periodical.

Box Folder

"The American" , Vol. 5, No. 245, April 18, 1885.

6 249

"Brief Sketches of the Life of Victoria Woodhull" , [1893?].

6 250

"A Discourse Delivered Before the Willimantic Spiritualist Society" , John Hooker, 1886.

6 251

"Faith by Science" , Mrs. Bloomfield H. Moore, 1892.

6 252

Lucifer Theosophical Monthly, September 1892.

6 253

Moonly Voice, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1872.

6 254

"Mrs. Etta Roberts, the So-Called Cage Medium" , undated.

6 255

"Physical Proofs of Another Life" , Francis J. Lippitt, 1888.

6 256

"A Pioneer in an Unknown Realm" , Mrs. Bloomfield H. Moore, after 1878.

6 257

"Reopening of the Order of the White Cross" and  "Reopening of the White Cross Society" , Augusta W. Fletcher, undated.

6 258

"A Review of the Report of the Seybert Commission" , Henry Kiddle, 1887.

6 259

"Second Report on Experimental Psychology: Upon the Diagram Tests" , Charles Sedgwick Minot, undated.

6 260

"The Signs of the Times: From the Standpoint of a Scientist" , Elliott Coues, 1889.

6 261

"Some Questions and Answers in Regard to Spirit Photography" , R. L. Green, undated.

6 262

"Spiritualische Philosophie ist erweiterer Realismus" , Lucian Pusch, 1888.

6 263

"Truth, or Nature’s Unveiling" , 1892.

6 264

"Zöllner: An Open Letter to Professor George S. Fullerton" , Charles Carleton Massey, 1887.

6 265

VIII.  Miscellaneous. 3 folders.

Series Description

A blank book containing manuscript transcriptions of messages from the spirits to Henry Seybert, a catalog of the Seybert Library at the Library of the Unversity of Pennsylvania, and a manuscript poem without author or date.

Box Folder

Copybook of spirit messages to Henry Seybert (Seybert Library bookplate).

6 266

Catalog of the "Seybert Library" at the University of Pennsylvania, after 1886.

6 267

"The Dark-Circle Cabinet" , undated.

6 268

IX.  Oversize, 1881-1893. 2 boxes (+ 1 flat item).

A.  Newspaper Clippings, 1885-1893; undated. 17 items.

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically, with undated articles at the end.

Box

Seybert Commission, 1885-1887. 5 items.

7

Spiritualist Topics, 1885-1888; 1891-1893; undated. 12 items.

7

B.  Periodicals, 1881-1891. 36 items.

Description & Arrangement

36 issues of 5 spiritualist periodicals. Arranged alphabetically by title, then chronologically within each title.

Box

Issues of The Banner of Light and  The Index.

7

Issues of The New York Beacon of Light,  The Religio-Philosophical Journal, and The Spiritual Offering.

8

C.  Phrenology Chart, undated.

Map-case
see map-case