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In November 1852, a shy and sickly young spinster in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, glimpses a blinding rush of angel wings. Restored to health and given an urgent mission by these guardians, she embraces the Spiritualist movement and embarks on a seven-year crusade across America. Though publicly rejecting the doctrine of Free Love embraced by many Spiritualists, she secretly struggles against the growing love she feels for the married man she calls her “Evil Genius.” Seven Years of Grace is a dramatized account of the life of Achsa Sprague (1827–1862), who in the decade preceding the American Civil War lectured to audiences of thousands on Spiritualism, the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, and prison reform. She presented herself as a medium, lecturing and singing hymns in a state of trance. Alone on stage, she drew acclaim and admiration but also jeers, ridicule, and condemnation. A skeptic in Oswego, New York, asked, “Why is it that all the world should run nightly mad to hear her in a pretended trance?” A Milwaukee newspaper proclaimed her words “profound twaddle from beginning to end.” Yet Achsa’s crowds continued to grow in size and enthusiasm. Grounded in the extensive collection of Achsa Sprague’s papers at the Vermont Historical Society, Seven Years of Grace is both a fascinating tale and a revealing window into the past.
|Publisher:||Vermont Historical Society|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Sara Rath is the author of fifteen books, including H.H. Bennett, Photographer: His American Landscape. The Vermont Historical Society awarded her its Weston A. Cate Fellowship to support her research on Achsa W. Sprague. She lives in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 Part One: (1827 – 1856) Weary Wanderer To Suffer and Be Strong Thoughts of a Long-tried Heart Passing Strange Slave or Butterfly The Day of Small Things Part Two: (1856– 1859) Floating on the Billows A Convention of Moral Lunatics All the World Should Run Nightly Mad At Darling’s Gap Songs Without Words The Heart’s Dream Home Again Darkeyed Lass Part Three: (1860– 1862) Misanthrope Birds of Passage No Unholy Kiss Angry and Sorry By Turns My Burning Thought Leaps Up Like Some Bright Evening Star Afterword Author’s Notes Acknowledgments