Was Abraham Lincoln a Apiritualist? by Nettie Colburn Maynard 1917



The reminiscences contained in this volume are given to the public from no desire to proselytise in the cause of Spiritualism.

School privileges were denied me through protracted illness in childhood, and home training did not prepare for authorship; therefore, I beg the indulgence of my readers.

The earnest solicitations of friends that I should place on record the important events in my experience as a medium led me to complete these papers in which, if they have no other merit, are related facts that can be verified by living witnesses. There may be some inaccuracy in dates, as the more prominent events occurred many years ago; but the circumstances as stated are correctly recorded.

Let it be distinctly understood that no claim is made that all persons named in connection with my mediumistic experiences in the White House at Washington, or elsewhere in the several circles of that city, were Spiritualists. I never asked, nor was told their views on the subject of Spiritualism. We met with consideration and kindness wherever invited, and were offered the same welcome and courteous attention extended to the other guests.

Comparatively few of the séances with the President are given, as a number took place with Mrs Lincoln alone as witness. I was not told of the revelations then made, for when in a trance state, I am unconscious and have no knowledge of what transpires or what I have said. But those recorded demonstrate that this great and good man did not hesitate to receive and weigh any suggestions for guidance, when given intelligently, however humble their apparent origin.

Some years ago, at the request of that scholarly writer, the late Prof. S.B. Brittan, I prepared a manuscript, which he had offered to edit for publication, but his death following shortly the manuscript was lost and never recovered. The present one has been prepared at intervals during the past three years by the aid of an amanuensis.

Confined to bed by rheumatism and given up to die by my physician, there have been comparatively few days in which I could dictate these pages; therefore, under such disadvantages, this work must necessarily be imperfect.

From the time that the gift of Mediumship was developed and I became conscious of spirit life, the messengers have never failed in guiding and guarding me under all circumstances. They have advised and directed me in worldly as well as spiritual matters, and in heeding their counsel it has always been well with me.

Of the power, beauty, and intelligence of these unseen guides, who led me, an unlettered girl, from the quiet home circle to the jubilee platform as a religious teacher, and thence through strange and varied experiences, to become the honoured guest of the ruler of our great nation, during the most memorable events in its history, I have given no adequate evidence in these pages.

Looking back over my life, it is a source of undying joy to recall the scenes where I have been the instrument in the hands of the spirit world to carry health to the sick and peace to the sorrowing, and to kindle the light of hope where reigned the darkness of despair. It brings me that peace that passeth understanding, to remember that by the aid of this precious gift I have brought comfort to the bedside of the dying, and more


Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist?

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than once have stayed the suicidal hand; while many souls wandering in the paths of sinfulness have been reclaimed and brought back to a life of virtue and honour. It is also gratifying that the ties of friendship formed in may households, twenty-five or thirty years ago, are still unbroken.

That the memory of my work as a spirit medium is tenderly cherished, and is proven by the letters of kind sympathy that I so frequently receive; but sweeter far than all these memories is the ministry of angels to me in my helplessness and suffering as I now lie upon a bed from which I may not hope to rise in this life. The spirit of my dear mother comes and goes before my spiritual vision as plainly as she appeared to my mortal eyes when living. And I find strength and comfort from the dear ones who wait unseen by my side until I can in truth say, ‘Death’ has lost its ‘sting’ and ‘grave’ its ‘victory’.

I thank God that this spirit knowledge is spreading broadcast through all lands; that mediums with more perfect gifts than mine are developing each day, to carry to all who will receive glad tidings of a demonstrated immortality.

NETTIE COLBURN MAYNARD White Plains, New York, September, 1891.

Early Memories