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Series I: Correspondence
Series III: Writings
At a Glance
This collection is arranged into 6 series.
Letters written by and to Harris and his associate, Laurence Oliphant. In addition to the correspondence, these papers include manuscripts of books, miscellaneous biographical materials, and photographs.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
You will need to make an appointment in advance to use this collection material in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room. You can schedule an appointment once you've submitted your request through your Special Collections Research Account.
This collection has not restrictions.
This collection is located on-site.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Harris-Oliphant papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
Related Archival Materials
Collections related by provenance: Harris-Oliphant Papers at English Dept. of Wagner College, Staten Island. This collection duplicates Columbia holdings in part, but therre are items at Wagner which are not in Columbia's Collection.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Existence and Location of Copies
Box 19, Folder 5 (Address book and diary of James Murray Templeton) is on Microfilm. MN#2001-3110-1.
Ownership and Custodial History
The collection was formed in part by the poet Edwin Markham, after whose death it passed to Prof. Herbert Schneider and George Lawton and was used in writing their biography of Harris and Oliphant, A PROPHET AND A PILGRIM.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--Schneider, Herbert O. Method of acquisition--Gift; Date of acquisition--1943. Accession number--M-43.
Gift of Prof. Herbert Schneider, 1943.
Publications About Described Materials
Schnieder, Herbert Wallace. A Prophet and a Pilgrim; being the incredible history of Thomas Lake Harris and Laurence Oliphant; their sexual mysticisms and Utopian communities amply documented to confound the skeptic. New York : Columbia University Press, 1942.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 06/--/89. Processed by Scott Libson.
2010-02-11 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Thomas Lake Harris (May 15, 1823-March 23 1906) - American Christian mystic. Born in Fenny Stratford, England he was brought to the United States as a child. In 1845 he was called to the pulpit of the Fourth Universalist Society in New York City but three years later, deeply impressed by spiritualism, Harris organized the First Independent Christian Society. During that period he dictated long poems for which he said he had received inspiration while in trances. He wove the ideas of Swedenborgianism into his religious teachings. He established The Herald of New Light (1857-1861), a monthly journal.
Under his leadership, the Brotherhood of the New Life established (1861) a community in Wassaic N. Y., later moving it (1863) to nearby Amenia and (1867) to Brocton near Buffalo where it was known as Salem-on-Erie. In that year Laurence Oliphant joined the communal religious settlement. Harris and part of the community moved to Santa Rosa, Calif. in 1875. Oliphant remained behind and in 1881 broke completely with Harris. Ten years later Harris left the Santa Rosa community. His later years were spent in New York. His poetical works include The Epic of the Starry Heaven (1854), A Lyric of the Morning Land (1855) and A Lyric of the Golden Age (1856) His writings include also Hymns of Spiritual Devotion (2 vols. 1861) The Wisdom of the Adepts (1884) Star-Flowers (1887) God's Breath in Man and in Humane Society (1891) and The Song of Theos (1903).
Laurence Oliphant (1829-1888) was a British writer and traveller.