The Reluctant Spiritualist: The Life of Maggie Fox

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 393 pages
* Nominated for a New York Historical Society Book Prize in American History * Honorable Mention in General Nonfiction from the American Society of Journalists and Authors Here is the first authoritative biography of Margaret Fox, the world-famous medium and cofounder of the Spiritualism movement that swept America in the mid-1800s. In 1848, fifteen-year-old Maggie and her sister Katy created rapping sounds by manipulating their toe joints, practicing until they convinced their parents that their farmhouse was haunted. What started as a prank soon transformed into a movement: By 1853 more than thirty thousand mediums were at work, with Maggie among the most famous. But when she denounced the faith in 1888-appearing before a packed auditorium in her stocking feet to demonstrate-Spiritualism withered almost as quickly as it had bloomed.

Through the memoirs of the Fox sisters, the letters of Maggie's Arctic explorer husband, contemporary newspaper accounts, and other primary sources, Nancy Rubin Stuart creates a vibrant portrait of a Victorian-era woman at the heart of the tumults of her time.

 

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THE RELUCTANT SPIRITUALIST: The Life of Maggie Fox

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Diligently researched biography of the young woman responsible in the mid-1800s for the growth of spiritualism, sympathetically addressing her ambivalence about the practice and her legacy.Maggie Fox ... Read full review

Contents

Humble Beginnings
1
The Spirit of a Dream
19
A Mere Fraud Could Not Live So Long
42
So Continuously in the Public Eye
60
Justice is sure though sometimes very slow
79
Remember then as a sort of dream
95
But for the Polar Ices
119
Hope Deferred
145
That You May Know the Sacred Love
198
A Cloud of Reproach
219
The Highest Right
242
Great Magnetism and Remorse
268
A Clean Breast of All Her Miracles and Wonders
286
An Unmistakable Individual Intelligence
307
acknowledgments
323
INDEX
377

A Sort of Sanctuary
171

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About the author (2005)

NANCY RUBIN STUART is an award-winning author, journalist, and producer who specializes in women and social history. She also serves as one of the directors of the Women Writing Women's Lives Seminar at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She lives in New York City.

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