Collecting area: Metaphysical religion

Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-

Elwood Babbitt Papers

1974-2000
2 boxes 3 linear feet
Call no.: MS 517
Depiction of Elwood Babbitt, 1970.  Photo by Gary Cohen
Elwood Babbitt, 1970. Photo by Gary Cohen

Clairvoyant from youth, Elwood Babbitt developed his psychic abilities at the Edgar Cayce Institute, and by the mid-1960s, was well known in Western Massachusetts through his readings and lectures, often opening his home to other seekers. Charles Hapgood, a professor at Keene State College, worked closely with Babbitt studying the physical effects of the medium’s trance lectures, and by 1967, he began to take on the painstaking process of transcribing and copying them. With communications purporting to come from Jesus, Albert Einstein, Mark Twain, and the Hindu god Vishnu, among others, these lectures formed the basis for several books by Hapgood and Babbitt, including Voices of Spirit (1975) and Talks with Christ (1981). Babbitt ultimately established a non-profit, alternative school, the Opie Mountain Citadel, which was essentially run out of Babbitt’s home in Northfield.

The collection consists of proofs of publications, lectures, some correspondence, film reels, and transcripts of spiritual communications for which Babbitt was the medium.

Language(s): German

Subjects

Channeling (Spiritualism)Hapgood, Charles HMediums–Massachusetts

Contributors

Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-
Diamond, Stephen

Steve Diamond Papers

1960-2004
10 boxes 6.25 linear feet
Call no.: MS 542
Depiction of Steve Diamond and border collie at Montague Farm, ca.1980
Steve Diamond and border collie at Montague Farm, ca.1980

An author and activist, Steve Diamond worked for the newly formed Liberation News Service in 1968 covering stories like the student strike at Columbia University. After more than a year of internal strife resulting from ideological differences, the alternative news service split into two factions, with Marshall Bloom and Raymond Mungo leading a new division of LNS in rural New England. Diamond, among those who left for New England, settled into life in a commune on old Ripley Farm in Montague, Massachusetts. His experiences during the first year on the farm are recorded in his book, What the Trees Said. Diamond later worked as a writer and consultant for Green Mountain Post Films, editor of the Valley Advocate and Boston Phoenix, and as a contributor for The Atlantic Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Village Voice.

This collection consists chiefly of Diamond’s correspondence and writing, including drafts of his book chapters, stories, and articles; research notes; and diary entries. The collection also contains printed articles by and about Diamond, digital images, and audio recordings.

Subjects

Activists--MassachusettsBloom, Marshall, 1944-1969Communal living--MassachusettsLiberation News Service (Montague, Mass.)Liberation News Service (New York, N.Y.)Mungo, Raymond, 1946-

Contributors

Diamond, Stephen
Hapgood, Beth

Beth Hapgood Papers

1789-2005
67 boxes 35 linear feet
Call no.: MS 434
Depiction of Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969
Beth Hapgood and members of the Brotherhood, ca.1969

Daughter of a writer and diplomat, and graduate of Wellesley College, Beth Hapgood has been a spiritual seeker for much of her life. Her interests have led her to become an expert in graphology, a student in the Arcane School, an instructor at Greenfield Community College, and a lecturer on a variety of topics in spiritual growth. Beginning in the mid-1960s, Hapgood befriended Michael Metelica, the central figure in the Brotherhood of the Spirit (the largest commune in the eastern states during the early 1970s) as well as Elwood Babbitt, a trance medium, and remained close to both until their deaths.

The Hapgood Papers contain a wealth of material relating to the Brotherhood of the Spirit and the Renaissance Community, Metelica, Babbitt, and other of Hapgood’s varied interests, as well as 4.25 linear feet of material relating to the Hapgood family.

Subjects

Brotherhood of the SpiritChanneling (Spiritualism)Communal living--MassachusettsGraphologyHapgood family--CorrespondenceMassachusetts--Social life and customs--20th centuryMediums--MassachusettsNineteen sixties--Social aspectsOccultism--Social aspectsPopular culture--History--20th centuryRenaissance CommunityRock music--1971-1980Warwick (Mass.)--History

Contributors

Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-Boyce, Neith, 1872-1951Hapgood, Beth--CorrespondenceHapgood, Charles HHapgood, Elizabeth ReynoldsHapgood, Hutchins, 1869-1944Hapgood, Norman, 1868-1937Metelica, Michael
Hapgood, Charles H.

Charles H. Hapgood Papers

1955-1996
6 boxes 2.75 linear feet
Call no.: MS 445

Charles Hutchins Hapgood (1904-1982) was working toward a doctorate in French history at Harvard when the Great Depression derailed his plans. After a succession of jobs and wartime service, however, Hapgood returned to the academy, teaching history at Springfield College and Keene State for over three decades. He is best remembered as an advocate of several scientifically heterodox ideas, arguing that the earth’s outer crust shifts on geological time scales, displacing continents, and that the earth’s rotational axis has shifted numerous times in geological history. A long time friend and supporter of the medium Elwood Babbitt, he was author of several books, including The Earth’s Shifting Crust (1958), Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings (1966), The Path of the Pole (1970), and Voices of Spirit : Through the Psychic Experience of Elwood Babbitt (1975). Hapgood died in Fitchburg, Mass., on Dec. 21, 1982, after being struck by an automobile.

The Hapgood Papers contain a small grouping of correspondence and writings that offer a glimpse into some of Charles Hapgood’s late-career interests. Although the correspondence is relatively slight, relating primarily to publications in the last two or three years of his life, the collection is a rich resource for the lectures and writings of Elwood Babbitt.

Subjects

Channeling (Spiritualism)Mediums--Massachusetts

Contributors

Babbitt, Elwood, 1922-Hapgood, Charles H
Hill, Aurin F.

Aurin F. Hill Papers

1885-1929
8 boxes 6 linear feet
Call no.: MS 579
Depiction of Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,<br />ca.1928
Aurin and Izetta Hill at Lake Pleasant,
ca.1928

The self-styled “insane architect” Aurin F. Hill (b. 1853) was a free thinking carpenter and architect in Boston who waged a concerted campaign for his vision of social reform at the turn of the twentieth century. A Spiritualist, social radical, and union man, Hill carried the torch for issues ranging from the nationalization of railroads and corporations to civil rights and women’s rights, and joined in opposition to vaccination, Comstockery and censorship, capital punishment, and lynching. A writing medium, married to the Spiritual evangelist Izetta Sears-Hill, he became President of the National Spiritual Alliance in 1915, a Spiritualist organization based in Lake Pleasant, Mass.

Esoteric, rambling, and often difficult to follow, the Hill papers provide profound insight into the eclectic mind of an important Boston Spiritualist and labor activist at the turn of the twentieth century. Whether written as a diary or scattered notes, a scrapbook, essays, or letters to the editor, Hill’s writings cover a wide range of topics, from spirit influence to labor law, from his confinements for insanity to police strikes, hypnotism, reincarnation, and housing. More than just a reflection of one man’s psychology, the collection reveals much about broader social attitudes toward gender and race, sexuality, urban life, politics, and religion, and the collection is a particularly important resource for the history of the American Spiritualist movement between 1890 and 1920.

Subjects

Architects--Massachusetts--BostonBoston (Mass.)--HistoryCarpenters--Labor unionsHypnotismLabor unions--MassachusettsLake Pleasant (Mass.)--HistoryMediums--MassachusettsMontague (Mass.)--HistoryNational Spiritual AllianceSpiritualismUnited Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Contributors

Hill, Aurin F.Sears-Hill, Izetta B.

Types of material

DiariesScrapbooks
Lake Pleasant (Mass.)

Lake Pleasant (Mass.) Collections

ca.1885-1975
4 boxes 2 linear feet
Call no.: MS 914
Independent Order of Scalpers club
Independent Order of Scalpers club, ca.1900

One of five villages comprising the western Massachusetts town of Montague, Lake Pleasant was founded by the New England Spiritualist Campmeeting Association in 1870 as a rustic summer resort. Formally incorporated in 1879 under the guidance of Henry A. Buddington and Joseph Beals, Lake Pleasant grew into a community of nearly 200 small cottages, hotels, train station, and a Spiritualist temple on the edge of a serene lake, with a high-season population approaching 2,000. The village began a slow decline in fortunes after a disastrous fire in 1907, but retains its small cottage feel to the present.

The collection includes an assortment of materials relating to the history of Lake Pleasant, including over forty 8×10 glass plate negatives taken by local photographer George L. Scott (ca.1900-1907), other assorted photographs (ca.1885-1905), deeds to village properties, publications, and materials relating to the Lake Pleasant Water Commission. The collection also includes a handful of other images taken by Scott from elsewhere in Franklin County.

Subjects

Fires--Massachusetts--Lake Pleasant--PhotographsLake Pleasant (Mass.)--HistoryLake Pleasant (Mass.)--PhotographsLakes--MassachusettsSpiritualists--MassachusettsSummer resorts--Massachusetts

Contributors

Scott, George L., 1868-1952

Types of material

Glass plate negativesPhotographs
Shattuck, Louise F.

Louise F. Shattuck Papers

1881-2006
34 boxes 24 linear feet
Call no.: MS 563
Depiction of Louise Shattuck
Louise Shattuck

A life-long resident of Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts, and a third-generation Spiritualist, Louise Shattuck was an artist, teacher, and noted breeder of English cocker spaniels.

Shattuck’s work as a teacher, writer, artist, and dog breeder are documented in this collection through decades of correspondence and diaries, artwork, publications, and newspaper clippings. Of particular note are the materials associated with the Spiritualist history of Lake Pleasant, including three turn of the century spirit slates, samples of Louise’s automatic writing, a ouija board and dowsing rods, and an excellent photograph album with associated realia for the Independent Order of Scalpers, a Lake Pleasant.

Subjects

Dogs--BreedingEnglish Cocker spanielsLake Pleasant (Mass.)--HistoryMediums--MassachusettsMontague (Mass.)--HistorySpiritualism

Contributors

Shattuck, Louise FShattuck, Sarah Bickford

Types of material

DiariesPhotograph albumsPhotographsSpirit slatesSpirit writing
Willis, F. L. H. (Frederick Llewellyn Hovey), 1830-1914

F. L. H. Willis Papers

1806-1974 Bulk: 1856-1921
13 boxes 7.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 1116
Depiction of F. L. H. Willis, ca.1887
F. L. H. Willis, ca.1887

In 1857, Frederick L. H. Willis earned the singular distinction of being expelled from Harvard Divinity School for acting as a spirit medium. An important figure in the post-Civil War Spiritualist movement, Willis lived a long and eclectic life in which he was at turns an intimate of the family of Bronson Alcott, an ardent proponent of Spiritualism, a lecturer, preacher, homeopathic physician, and writer.

A wide-ranging intellect and steadfast opposition to orthodoxy suffuse the Willis Papers. The heart of the collection is an extensive collection of sermons, lectures, and essays by Frederick L. H. Willis dating from the late 1850s to the turn of the twentieth century. These works veer into commentary on ancient history, art and aesthetics, medicine, astrology, Eastern religion, and social reform, but are rooted firmly in the framework of a Spiritualist worldview. The collection also includes a large number of family photographs, some correspondence, and a few works by Willis’s wife, Love, and daughter, Edith.

Acquired from Michael Brown, Jan. 2020

Subjects

AstrologySpiritualism--MassachusettsUnitarian churches--Clergy

Contributors

Forbes, Edith Willis Linn, 1865-1945Willis, Love M. Whitcomb

Types of material

LecturesPhotographsSermons