Sidmouth and London: J. Harvey and Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1836. Softcover. Very good. xvi, 25 pp, in original sewn wrappers Minor soiling and wear to front wrapper; near fine. A separately published extract, with added 16-page preface and 7-page appendix, from A Narrative of the Visit to the American Churches by the Deputation from the Congregational Union of England and Wales, published the same year. Interesting discussion of why American Churches continue to flourish in the absence of state support or established religion, with statistics on the numbers of residents, churches, ministers, and communicants in various parts of the United States at the time. Not recorded in OCLC.
List 13: American Religion
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Milan, IL: Rail Splitter Press. Sixteen pamphlets in original wrappers, averaging around 40 pp each, some with illustrations; all in very good condition, most quite scarce. William Lloyd Clark was a venomous anti-Catholic who founded the Rail Splitter Press to publish tracts, handbills, and postcards elaborating his views and those of like-minded individuals. He proudly claimed to stock "every book of value that is in print dealing with the Roman Catholic menace to our liberties and our free institutions." The pamphlets in this collection cover the standard anti-Catholic tropes (lascivious and druken priests, politicians in thrall to the Pope, etc.) and also focus on specific political concerns -- among them President Harding's "betrayal of the Protestant cause" (by appointing Catholics to various positions within his administration) and the election of 1928, in which Democrat Al Smith was the first Catholic major-party candidate for President of the United States Titles include: Crimes of Priests; Washington in the Grasp of Rome; The Menace of Al Smith; The Devil's Prayer Book, or an Exposure of Auricular Confession as Practiced by the Roman Catholic Church, An Eye-Opener for Husbands, Fathers, and Brothers; The Open Door to Hell; Roman Oaths and Papal Curses; A Kentucky Hell; An Open Letter to President Harding; The Horrible Fate of Victor Lamar; Peoria by Gaslight; One Hundred Reasons Why I Left the Roman Catholic Church; Words of Wisdom; The Sad Story of Mary Lilly; Snap Shots at the Pope; Pat's Grip on the Government; and Free Masonry, The Open Door to Damnation, A Catholic Statement.
Small broadside and cabinet card photo of El-Joseph Robert Raycroft. Undated, but ca. 1905. Broadside measures 5.75 x 12 inches and has some old creases and short tears. Cabinet card is in fine condition and credited to photographer Geo. F. Reil of Chicago. Both of El-Joseph's parents were preachers, and his three younger siblings gave public Bible recitations, but he was clearly the star of this Chicago-based family of traveling evangelists from Chicago. This broadside promotes him as "the greatest wonder of the religious world today," and claims he has "conducted over 300 meetings" unaided and "talked with more people about their personal salvation thatn any child his age ever known." He began preaching at age 3 1/2 and was still at it in his early twenties. Contemporary newspapers record him preaching in Methodist and Baptist churches, leading multidenominational revivals, visiting prisons, and even converting a pair of Chicago thugs who planned to rob and possibly murder his father.
Minneapolis: 1928. First Edition. Hardcover. Fine. 158 pp, with many illustrations from photographs, including portraits and images of places, buildings, etc. Bound in black cloth with title stamped in green on upper board. Fine copy. No dust jacket, presumably as issued. The Zion Society for Israel was one of many nineteenth-century organizations dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity, but the first and only one to emerge from Scandanavian-American churches. It was founded in 1878 by two Norwegian Lutherans -- one from Wisconsin and one from Minnesota -- who "saw in the unfulfilled [Biblical] prophecies the bright future in store for the Jews and the sacred obligation resting upon the Church according to the Word of God." Although this missionary effort initially met with indifference or antagonism in many congregations, it grew slowly but steadily, expanding to include Swedish and Danish Lutherans. When this fifty-year history was published, members were fundraising for a $50,000 Jubilee Fund, to be dedicated to "building and equipping suitable mission stations in New York and St. Paul," and reporting (perhaps inaccurately) that "the attitude of the Jews towards Christianity has changed to a remarkable degree" and "the future prospects of Jewish missions are brighter than ever."
Estero, Florida: Guiding Star Publishing House, 1944. Single issue, 9.25 x 12.25 inches, 12 pp. Old vertical folding creases; very good. Publication of the utopian community founded by Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed (a.k.a. "Koresh") in Estero, Florida, and based on his new religion, Koreshan Universology or Koreshanity. Among other pseudoscientific ideas, Koreshans adhered to Cellular Cosmogony, the belief that the universe exists inside a giant, hollow sphere. This issue has articles on doctrinal matters (e.g., The Law of Theocrasis Specifically and Scientifically Defined"), but also includes an article titled "The Koreshan Unity, Its Aims and Objectives," that discusses qualifications for membership and includes a description and photographs of the Estero colony. The colony existed until 1961, when the last four members deeded 305 acres of their land to the state of Florida as a park and memorial.
Autograph letter, signed, from Reverend Alanson Darwin of Tecumseh, Michigan Territory, to Reverend Absalom Peters, Corresponding Secretary of American Home Missionary Society (AHMS), 1830. Approximately 300 words, with integral address panel. Many corrections and sections crossed out (but fully legible), presumably to indicate the parts that Peters selected for publication in the Society's report. The AHMS was founded in 1826 by members of the Presbyterian, Congregational, Associate Reformed, and Dutch Reformed churches in order "to assist congregations that are unable to support the gospel ministry, and to send the gospel to the destitute within the United States." Much of their early work was done on what was then the western frontier -- in small communities in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois that had little in the way of established religious institutions or organization. In this letter, Rev. Darwin reports that while no religious revival has yet occurred in his territory, progress is encouraging. His sermons on temperance have been well received, and "the use of ardent spirits and their introduction in social circles has been almost wholly abandoned. At a late military election no ardent spirits were drunk. A man lately purchased some liquor at a store, poured a tumbler full & an invited the people in the store to drink but no one would accept his invitation...." The small settlement of Sabine, 14 miles north of Tecumseh, has "7 or 8 professors of the Presbyterian Church," but no actual congregation of meeting place, and he plans to visit them again and "stir them up to suitable exertions for the enjoyment of religious privileges." Darwin concludes with a not-so-subtle hint, noting that "the most discouraging circumstances that I meet with arise from my embarrassed pecuniary circumstances, but I think the Lord will provide for me as long as he shall see fit to employ me in his vineyard."
Carte de visite photograph of Frances Coryell (here spelled Coryel), "a Hindoo girl buried alive by her heathen parents," sold to raise funds for the Women's Foreign Missionary Society. The Woman's Foreign Missionary Society was a Protestant woman's missionary organization founded by Methodists in Boston in 1869. The story of Frances Coryell (raised in an orphanage, nursed by a goat, now learning to sing hymns) is told on the back of the card by Clementina Butler, a missionary to India and zealous supporter of the Society. By 1870, a woman in Ithaca, NY, had taken up Frances's cause and was paying for her education. Although you could purchase one for 25 cents in 1869, we have been unable to locate any other example of this card.
1892. Two short, handwritten letters, each about 1.25 pages, dated in June and August of 1892. Both with folds from mailing, otherwise very good. Helen Wilmans (1831-1907) began her career as a journalist in San Francisco, but made a name for herself writing about the use of the mind in Healing and drawing wealth and success to oneself. In the first of these letters, she acknowledges receipt of $3.00 from someone with an ailing mother. The correspondent is directed to faithfully follow the enclosed instructions (not present here) and to "not fear but trust your hopes and desires always." In the second letter, two months later, she acknowledges receipt of another $2.00 and says, "I feel certain that your mother will come out all right. I am treating her faithfully and know that the organized life forces within her are stronger than any and all forms of disease....". Together these offer an interesting glimpse of a mental science practitioner in action.
1904.  pp, with illustrations from photographs, in original wrappers. Spine covered with archival tape, line in ink on the margin of one page, otherwise clean and sound. In 1898, the Salvation Army undertook a project intended to relocate urban working poor people to rural areas and enable them to become productive farmers. The idea for the project came from Salvation Army founder William Booth, who described the concept in his book In Darkest England and the Way Out (1890). General Booth's daughter, Emma, and son-in-law, Fredrick St. George de Lautour Booth-Tucker, took charge of the Salvation Army in the United States in 1896, and they took it upon themselves to put General Booth's plan into action. The plan was characterized by Frederick Booth-Tucker as an experiment in “domiculture,” or the cultivation of families on family farms. The Booth-Tuckers appointed Col. Thomas Holland as the National Colonization Secretary, and together they chose sites in California, Colorado, and Ohio, for the colonies. (Source: Schemp, Fort Amity, An Experiment in Domiculture, 2011). The Amity colony was settled by thirty families from Chicago and Iowa, each of whom received ten acres of land, livestock, and tools. By 1903, the colony had 450 residents. In 1904, when this collection of testimonials was produced--presumably as both a fundraising tool and a response to naysayers--the project still seemed like it might succeed. That it did not (closing in 1909) was apparently not due to any failure in selecting worthy colonists, but because the Salvation Army officials had purchased land that was so alkaline that sustainable farming was impossible. Three copies located in OCLC.
8" x 13" ledger containing ca. 110 pp of chronological monthly entries recording the doings of this church in New York's Finger Lakes region, accompanied by more than 50 additional manuscript letters and documents relating to church business. The ledger is in fair condition, with backstrip gone, sewing loose, and some leaves detached; text pages generally in good condition and legible. The records start with the formation of the church on April 11, 1820, and include a 15-article Declaration of Faith and list of founding members. After this are monthly entries detailing church business, which included assigning people to attend conference meetings, admitting new members, authorizing letters of reference for members in good standing who were moving to another church, handling complaints and disputes among members, and occasionally disfellowshipping those who had either misbehaved (most often by "excessive use of ardent spirits" or failure to attend church) or developed beliefs that were contrary to those stated in the Declaration of Faith. Because the church was often a primary arbiter for interpersonal disputes, the complaints, rebuttals, and resolutions recorded here offer considerable insight into the social life of the community. This record book is also of particular interest because the church was located squarely within the region known as the "Burned-Over District" for having so often been lit by the "fires" of religious revival. Between about 1800 and 1840, a time in American religious history known as the Second Great Awakening, skillful preachers brought new converts pouring into the ranks of the evangelical denominations (primarily the Methodists, Presbyterians, and Baptists), and at the same time, many new religious movements were born or flourished in the area (including Mormonism, Adventism, Shakerism, and Spiritualism), and several utopian communities also thrived. Although it is not explicitly stated, it appears likely that the Fourth Baptist Church of Hector experienced a revival in late 1829, when the meeting minutes record a surge in new people seeking and being granted membership in the church. Previously, new members were added only occasionally (one or two per meeting at most), and generally by presenting a letter of reference from another church. But in November 1829, 11 members were added and in December the Church met twice and admitted 10 new members. In all of these cases, the members "came forward and gave a relation of [his or her] Christian experience" and expressed a desire to be Baptized -- indicating they were newly converted. A careful reading of these records is likely to reveal much of interest to local historians as well as scholars interested in the process and impact of religious revival in the early nineteenth century. Augmenting the record book are more than 50 related documents, many of them letters of reference received from other churches in the area and queries regarding the status of former or potential members.
Battle Creek, MI: National Religious Liberty Association, 1892-1893. Sammelband in recent green buckram binding, titled on the spine "Religious Liberty Library Volume 1." Unused card pocket on rear pastedown, law library bookplate on front pastedown, otherwise quite clean. Alonzo T. Jones (1890-1923) was a prominent Adventist preacher and editor who became a vocal advocate for religious liberty after speaking in Congress in opposition to a bill that would have established Sunday as an official day of rest. This collection of pamphlets--of which he is the author of four--includes "Due Process of Law" and the Divine Right of Dissent; Religious Intolerance in the Republic: Christians Persecuting Christians in Tennessee; Church and State (by Ringgold); The National Sunday Law: Argument of Alonzo T. Jones before the United States Senate Committee on Education and Labor at Washington, D.C., Dec. 13, 1888; Sunday Laws in the United States (by Ringgold); and The Captivity of the Republic: A Report of Hearing by House Committee on Columbian Exposition, January 10-13, 1893, and the Present Status and Effect of the Legislation on Sunday Closing of the World's Fair.
Cincinnati: H. Watkin, Printer, 1888. 4" x 5.75" booklet, 15 pp, in original printed wrappers. Chipped at corners, wrappers split at spine, contents very good. Although Spiritualists were often zealous promoters of their beliefs, they rarely called themselves missionaries.This may not have been the only Spiritualist missionary society, but if not, it was one of very few. The Association was incorporated "For the purpose of inculcating the doctrine and promoting the principles of Spiritualism, in its moral and religious aspects, by employing missionaries through whose powers and labors the demonstrations of a life beyond the grave may be manifested in a most unquestionable manner." Most of the Articles of Incorporation are standard rules regarding the appointment and duties of officers and trustees, quorum, minutes, etc. However, Article XII, notes that the Society will employ "Speakers or Mediums...who shall endeavor to awaken an interest in neighborhoods where Spiritualism has not yet taken a foothold, organize new Societies, strengthen weak ones, and perform the rites of marriages and interment within the limits of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky." And Article XIII says that "any person holding to the doctrine of communication of spirits with mortals may become a member of this Society" upon payment of annual dues of one dollar. Most intriguing are the formal rules for conducting spirit circles (gatherings of people wanting to contact the dead). These include instructions for selecting the individuals who compose the circle (they should not be diseased or "marked by repulsive points of either physical or mental condition," nor should any "person of a strong positive temperament" be included, "as any such magnetic spheres emanating from the circle will overpower that of the spirits"). recommendations for lighting and heating of the room, length of seance, and handling of interruptions. The medium is advised to always follow any "strong impression to write, speak, sing, dance, or gesticulate," and given instruction in how to handle dark or evil spirits ("strive to elevate them, and treat them as you would mortals under similar circumstances"). And more. Not recorded in OCLC.
No publication information given, but 1850s. Single sheet, 7.5 x 10.5 inches, with three columns of densely printed type, totaling approximately 1,350 words, signed in type "H.B.S." at the conclusion. One penciled correction of a typo. Folding creases, a few small splits, light foxing; very good. An apparently unrecorded stand-alone edition of this piece, the first appearance of which has been challenging to pin down, but may have been a letter to the editor published in The Independent in 1857 or 1858. After the death of her 18-month-old son Charley in 1848, Stowe became deeply interested in Spiritualism, seeking comfort in the idea that she might still be able to communicate with him. She approached the concept with an open mind, exploring the literature and attending seances, but ultimately concluded that what passed for communication with the dead was no more than wishful thinking and parlor tricks. Her views are clearly laid out in this essay, in which she points to the absurdity of the idea that dead loved ones would "juggle, and rap, and squeak, and perform mountebank tricks with tables and chairs" and asserts that, having read many long passages of purported communication "from Bacon, Swedenborg and others, and long accounts from divers spirits of things seen in the spirit land" she can "conceive of no more appalling prospect than to have them true." She concludes by positioning Jesus as "the true bond of union between the spirit world and our souls," with whom one moment of loving communion "is better than all those vain, incoherent, dreary glimpses with which longing hearts are cheated."
Deadwood, SD: Edward L. Senn, 1939. Softcover. Very good. Pamphlet, 4 x 7 inches, 23 pp, in original self-wrappers. Some staining to front wrapper, otherwise very good. Scarce biography of the first preacher of any denomination in the gold camps of the Black Hills. A Methodist preacher and Civil War veteran originally from Connecticut, Smith (1827-1876) began preaching in the Black Hills in May, 1876. Just three months later, he was murdered while walking from Deadwood to preach. "He had not been robbed, causing his death to be generally attributed to Indians, although some still believed he was killed by thieves. Another theory, however, held that he was murdered by a person or persons representing the saloons, brothels, casinos, and other 'vice dens' of Deadwood, who feared that his preaching would cut into their income" (wiki). Senn reviews the known facts about the case and concludes that the questions of who committed the murder and why "probably never will be answered to a certainty." He also describes the funeral arrangements and the erection of a monument to Smith in 1914.