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HIST 193J Seances & Spirits: Science & the Occult in the Long 19th Century: Collection Materials Used in Class

Collection Materials Used in Class

The following entries highlight the archival collections and published materials used in the class session held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library on Thursday, February 24th, 2022.

Materials from archival collections are listed in the left-hand column and published materials in the right-hand column.

Mary Dillman Papers (MS 2119) - Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Research files, interview materials, correspondence, class materials, presentations, conference papers, and photographs related to Jane Roberts, a spiritualist who claimed to channel a spirit known as Seth. This material details Dillman's research into Jane Roberts and Seth and documents Dillman's relationships with the larger network of Seth researchers. Also included are materials created by members of the community that surrounded Roberts, Seth, and Roberts' husband, Robert Butts. 

Collection material used in class session:

Charles H. Hapgood Papers (YAL MSS 283) - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Correspondence, manuscripts, and research materials related to Hapgood's research projects and publications on earth science, archeology, ancient history, parapsychology, and spirit communication. The bulk of the material is letters from and to a wide array of people interested in Hapgood's work and theories, or, in some cases, those in whom he hoped to create an interest.

Collection material used in class session:

Viola Baxter Jordan Papers (YCAL MSS 175) - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Collection contains letters to Jordan from Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, H.D. and Bryher, as well as manuscripts of poems by Pound and Williams and a small quantity of personal papers. 

Collection material used in class session:

Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy Papers (YCAL MSS 1090) - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Correspondence, writings, professional papers, research files, personal papers, photographs, audiovisual materials, and electronic media documenting the lives and work of American writers Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy.

Collection material used in class session:

James Merrill Papers (YCAL MSS 580) - Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Writings, correspondence, photographs, audiovisual material, artwork, printed material, computer disks and other papers by or relating to James Merrill and documenting aspects of his work as a poet and writer. Some of the material was created and accumulated by J. D. McClatchy, who served as executor of Merrill's estate and who co-edited several volumes of Merrill's works.

Collection material used in class session:

P.D. Ouspensky Memorial Collection (MS 840)) - Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: P. D. Ouspensky was a journalist based in Russia, and travelled extensively in Europe and the Near East. He met George I. Gurdjieff in 1915 and became his follower. Ouspensky broke with Gurdjieff in 1918, left Russia in 1920 and went to Constantinople, and then went to London in 1921 where he founded the Historico-Psychological Society. The collection consists of reports of meetings of P. D. Ouspensky with his followers in London (1921-1947) and his manuscripts of books and articles in Russian, French, and English.

Collection material used in class session:

Jane Roberts Papers (MS 1090) - Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Jane Roberts (1929-1984) was an author of fiction, and of non-fiction works dealing with Seth, a spirit personality, and her role as a channeler. Roberts married Robert Butts, Jr. (1919-2008) in 1954. The papers consist of correspondence, printed material, audio and videotapes, journals, poetry, and other material documenting her personal life and literary career. Many of the documents are photocopies of originals.

Collection material used in class session

John Ferguson Weir Papers (MS 550) - Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library

Link to the online finding aid for this collection in Archives at Yale

Overview: Correspondence, addresses and writings, papers relating to the Yale School of the Fine Arts, and other papers of John F. Weir, artist, painter and first director of the Yale School of the Fine Arts, serving from 1869-1913. Correspondents include many persons prominent in the art world between 1870 and 1920. There is also much material on the origins and development of art education in this country and at Yale.

Collection material used in class session

Published Material: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The following published items are from the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (BRBL), the largest of the Yale Library's seven special collections. These items do not circulate and must be requested and used in the BRBL reading room. At present you do not need a seat reservation to use the BRBL reading room, but you will need your Yale ID to access the building.

  • Testimony of the authenticity of the prophecies of Richard Brothers, and of his mission to recall the Jews / by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed / London: H.D. Symonds, (1795). Bound with 8 other pamphlet publications. Call number: Mhc9 B795 R4
  • Spirit rapping unveiled! : an exposé of the origin, history, theology and philosophy of certain alleged communications from the spirit world, by means of "spirit rapping," "medium writing," "physical demonstrations," etc. : with illustrations / by H. Mattison / New York: Mason Brothers (1853). Call number: College Pamphlets 2060 3
  • Supernal theology and life in the spheres : deduced from alleged spiritual manifestations / by Owen G. Warren / New York: Fowlers and Wells (1852). Call number: College Pamphlets 2052 1
  • Return of Frank R. Stockton : ... stories and letters which cannot fail to convince the reader that Frank R. Stockton still lives and writes through the instrumentality of Miss Etta de Camp / Frank Richard Stockton (Spirit) / Call number: Shirley 8084

Published Material: Library Shelving Facility (Restricted Circulation)

The following published item is from Yale's general collections housed off-site at the Library Shelving Facility (LSF) in Hamden. These items do not circulate and must be requested and used in the Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) reading room. You'll need to make a seat reservation at least 24 hours before you come to use materials in the MSSA reading room.

  • Spirit drawings: a personal narrative / by W. M. Wilkinson / London: Chapman & Hall (1858). Call number: Ktk3 858w

Published Material: Library Shelving Facility (Circulating Collection)

The following published items are from Yale's general collections housed off-site at the Library Shelving Facility (LSF) in Hamden. These items do circulate and you can request them for delivery to any Yale campus library pickup location.

  • Oscar Wilde from Purgatory : psychic messages / edited by Hester Travers Smith ; with a preface by Sir William F. Barrett / New York: H. Holt and Co. (1926). Call number: Ip W644 S926S
  • Life and labor in the spirit world : being a description of localities, employments, surroundings, and conditions in the spheres / by members of the spirit-band of Miss M.T. Shelhamer / Boston: Colby & Rich (1891). Call number: WB 8288
  • Letters from a living dead man / written down by Elsa Barker / New York: Mitchell Kennerley (1916). Call number: Kth 914b
  • Seth speaks : the eternal validity of the soul / [channeled] by Jane Roberts ; notes by Robert F. Butts / Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall (1972). Call number: BF1301 R595
  • Hafed, prince of Persia : his experiences in earth-life and spirit-life / being spirit communications received through David Duguid, the Glasgow trance-painting medium ; with an appendix, containing communications from the spirit artists, Ruisdal and Steen / London: W. Foulsham (1935). Call number: WB 22022
  • Crusade of the faithful / by Henry Nathan / Guildford: England (approximately 1956). BF1286 N36
  • The life and sufferings of Jesus Anointed, our Holy Savior and of our Blessed Mother Ann : in two parts / written by inspiration, envolved thru the inner consciousness of William Leonard, in the Church at Harvard, Mass., October 1841 ; prepared for publication, with notes and appendix / by A.G. Hollister. / Published anonymously in Mount Lebanon, N.Y. (1904). Call number: BX9778.S7 J47 1904