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Andrew Jackson Davis Collection

Identifier: Coll. 2

Scope and Contents

This collection includes artifacts, correspondence, legal records, photographs, and writings primarily related to Davis's publishing contracts. Letters between Davis and his lawyer Frederick Atherton form the bulk of the correspondence. In addition, the collection includes personal papers of Davis' wife, Delphine Markham Davis (1839-1928). Delphine, a graduate of the United States Medical College in New York, married Davis in 1885.


  • 1840 - 2011


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use. Reproduction is permitted with written permission from the Edgar Cayce Foundation.

Biographical / Historical

Andrew Jackson Davis was born August 11, 1826 in Blooming Grove, New York. After a series of psychic experiences, he moved to Poughkeepsie, New York and became an ardent Spiritualist known popularly as "The Poughkeepsie Seer." Davis was a prolific writer and lecturer on Spiritualist and socially progressive topics. He served briefly as editor of the Banner of Light, a Spiritualist newspaper based in New England. In 1843, Davis attended a lecture on mesmerism given by Dr. Dr. J. S. Grimes, professor of jurisprudence in the Castleton Medical College. Soon after the lecture, a local tailor named William Livingston guided Davis into a trance state, where he discovered he could see the inside of the human body and diagnose illness. According to the Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, "In 1844 Davis had a strange experience that was to have an enduring effect on his life. In a state of semitrance he wandered away from home and awoke the next morning 40 miles away in the mountains. There he claimed to have met two venerable men - whom he later identified as the ancient physician Galen and the Swedish seer Emmanuel Swedenborg - and experienced a state of mental illumination" ( In 1845, he partnered with Dr. Silas Lyon and the Reverend William Fishbough to explore his abilities on a deeper level. Lyon guided his trance state and Fishbough recorded the sessions. From November of 1845 to February of 1847 they gathered the material that would become The Principles of Nature, Her Divine Revelations, and a Voice to Mankind (1847). Through the following years Davis would publish several other works on Spiritualism and philosophy. In 1860 he started the Herald of Progress magazine. He later ran a small bookshop in Boston and earned a medical degree. He was an important influence in the development of Spiritualism as well as a supporter of progressive political movements such as divorce reform. Davis died on January 13, 1910.


1.2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Andrew Jackson Davis's materials are followed by Delphine Markham Davis's materials in the collection arrangement.

Custodial History

The Association for Research and Enlightenment Library acquired the collection in 1977 from Maude Kline, friend of Edgar Cayce. The collection of books that accompanies this manuscript collection is housed in the A.R.E. Library.

Andrew Jackson Davis's lawyer Frederick Atherton originally owned the collection. After Atherton's death, it passed to a Mrs. McCullem who willed the collection to Maude Kline. (see A.R.E. News, vol. 13 no. 3, March 1978).

Fred Kolb, member of the A.R.E. Board of Trustees, Dr. John Bullard and Dr. Craig McAndrews advised the Library on the purchase.

Related Materials

Andrew Jackson Davis collection of publications located in the A.R.E. Library reserve room and available for research upon request and appointment.
Andrew Jackson Davis Collection
Jessica Newell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Edgar Cayce Foundation Repository

215 S. 67th Street
Virginia Beach VA 23451 United States