Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey

by Melissa Daggett


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Modern American Spiritualism blossomed in the 1850s and continued as a viable faith into the 1870s. Because of its diversity and openness to new cultures and religions, New Orleans provided fertile ground to nurture Spiritualism, and many séance circles flourished in the Creole Faubourgs of Tremé and Marigny as well as the American sector of the city. Melissa Daggett focuses on Le Cercle Harmonique, the francophone séance circle of Henry Louis Rey (1831-1894), a Creole of color who was a key civil rights activist, author, and Civil War and Reconstruction leader. His life has so far remained largely in the shadows of New Orleans history, partly due to a language barrier.

Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans focuses on the turbulent years between the late antebellum period and the end of Reconstruction. Translating and interpreting numerous primary sources and one of the only surviving registers of séance proceedings, Daggett has opened a window into a fascinating life as well as a period of tumult and change. She provides unparalleled insights into the history of the Creoles of color and renders a better understanding of New Orleans's complex history. The author weaves an intriguing tale of the supernatural, of chaotic post-bellum politics, of transatlantic linkages, and of the personal triumphs and tragedies of Rey as a notable citizen and medium. Wonderful illustrations, reproductions of the original spiritual communications, and photographs, many of which have never before appeared in published form, accompany this study of Rey and his world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496818379
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Publication date: 03/16/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 228
Sales rank: 1,167,949
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Melissa Daggett, Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, is an instructor of United States history at San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. Her work has appeared in Louisiana History.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction xiii

Timeline of Henry Louis Rey and Modern American Spiritualism xxi

Prologue: A New Day 3

1 Father and Son 8

2 Echoes from Another World 19

3 Early Forays into Spiritualism 39

4 Steppingstones 61

5 Stormy Days in Louisiana 78

6 Windows of the Soul 95

7 Le Cercle Harmonique 101

8 Transitions 116

9 The Spiritual Rubicon 137

Epilogue 149

Notes 158

Bibliography 185

Index 194

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Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: The Life and Times of Henry Louis Rey 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
brf1948 More than 1 year ago
I received a free electronic copy of this biography from Netgalley, Melissa Daggett, and University Press of Mississippi in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your hard work with me. This is a book that will go on my research shelf and will be read again at my leisure. Melissa Daggett does a wonderful job of bringing us to the table on New Orleans history involving American Spiritualism, Reconstruction, and the impact of Afro-Creole free blacks in education and integration from 1860 through World War I. There is a bit of back and forth that I at first found confusing but the information is all there to make a complete circle of racial, educational and financial oppression from the passing of the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States in 1865 to the passing of the Louisiana Separate Car Act on July 10, 1890. I enjoyed the look into American Spiritualism, and especially into the lifetime contributions of Henry Louis Rey. I loved watching New Orleans grow, and become the belle of the south that she will always be. New Orleans is definitely a fully integrated state of mind. Long may she live and prosper.