• [Spiritualist] 19th Century Belfast, Maine, Woman Writes Poetry About Loved Spirits Around Her, Communion With The Blest

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    7 x 8 1/4, 120 pp, hardcover, Belfast, Maine, Manuscript Poetry book, 1843-1861, belonging to Mary Park Salmond (1815-1868), who, according to some of her writings, may have been a spiritualist as she speaks of conversing with the departed.  During the mid-part of the 19th century, there were many spiritualists, magnetic doctors, clairvoyants and many others in Maine who engaged in such practices, some while living standard lives.  The previous owner of the book has written a note claiming that Salmond was a Quaker, but there is no evidence to support that. An original news clipping included has coverage of John Brown’s execution, noting that the court refused to award a writ of error. “The execution therefore takes place December 2d [1859].”

     

    The final poem in the book was written in 1843. She concluded it with a note, “This is the first and only poetry I ever attempted until I was impressed by the spirit power,” indicating she may have been a spiritualist.  The poem, written in honor of her departed sister, begins with a note, “This impression came to me in the night after the marriage of a sister. Think it must have been from spirit power who did not know it at the time,” a possible reference to a communication from her sister.

     

    Many of the poems are about death and loss.

     

    One of the more direct references to spiritualism appears at the top of a poem written on August 11, 1859.  “What is more soothing to the soul then to feel loved spirits around you...Weary pilgrim now a wanderer/Come return for you there rest/For within the spirit shrine/You can hold communion with the blest/Angels from God throne of glory/Are opening the portal doors/That you may hold converse/With the loved from celestial shores...”

     

    On August 31, 1859, she writes, in small part, “Why should sad moments of the past/Ore your life sorrow cast/Time has borne them far away/Still your memory oft they stray/And your eyes are filed with tears/Reflecting on former years...”

     

    On May 22, 1859, she writes, “Death restores the soul to glory/And ushers it into the munition of rest/Death dread angel that so often surround you/Are kind messengers from the home of the blest/They come in love to release the try’d spirit/And to sever the tie that bind it to earth/That it may soar to a higher region/There to roam free in its Heavenly birth...”

     

    In another poem, written in 1859, she concludes with this stanza, “...Do not doubt the spirit power/Nor feel your friends are lost to you/In faith believe the loved are near/And they will teach what is true...”

     

    On December 11, 1859, she begins, “...Heed the spirit that falls on thine ear/And your eyes shall see they teachers are near...”

     

    In a poem entitled “Spirit Musing,” she writes, “...The unseen we come and oft draw near/To hold communion with those we love dear/To bring glad tidings from Heaven’s bright home/And to comfort the heart that in sadness mourns...”

     

    Beautifully written in blue and black ink. Light rubbing and wear, but overall excellent and a wonderful example of Americana, indicating clearly the thoughts and practices of the day.

     

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