The Touch of Secularism

in Secularism in Antebellum America

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780226533230
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226533254 | DOI:
The Touch of Secularism

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This chapter examines the role of true religion in organizing the population of the women's wing of Sing Sing State Penitentiary in New York. It analyzes the works and views of Eliza Farnham and John Edmonds, who both embraced séance spiritualism in the 1850s. This chapter describes the criminal reform instituted by Farnham and Edmonds in the mid-1840s which replaced an evangelical program of instruction with a phrenological one and extended the metaphysics of secularism in a new key.

Keywords: true religion; women prisoners; Sing Sing State Penitentiary; New York; Eliza Farnham; John Edmonds; séance spiritualism; securalism

Chapter.  16745 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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