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Thomas Lake Harris Correspondence

A description of his correspondence at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: LMD
Date: 5 May 2010

Biographical History

Thomas Lake Harris (1823-1906) was an American mystic, prophet, and poet. Harris' family immigrated to the United States while he was a child and settle in Utica, New York. He was a Universalist preacher for a short time, but soon developed his own idiosyncratic beliefs influenced by spiritualism and the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg. He founded a utopian religious community--the Brotherhood of the New Life--in Brocton, New York in 1861. Later, after 1875, much of the community moved to Santa Rosa, California to found the community of Fountain Grove.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Thomas Lake Harris Correspondence mainly contains letters written by Harris' followers, most of it discussing spiritual matters. Many are to or from Harris' wife, Jane Lee Waring Harris. Some letters appear to be original, but many are copies or extracts that have been rewritten by an unknown individual.

Arrangement of the Collection

Items are arranged in chronological order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center also holds many of Harris' published writings. Please be sure to search the Classic Catalog for these related materials.

Subject Headings


Harris, Jane Lee Waring.
Harris, Thomas Lake, 1823-1906.

Corporate Bodies

Brotherhood of the New Life.


Brocton (N.Y.) -- History.
Santa Rosa (Calif.) -- History.
Utica (N.Y.) -- History.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Thomas Lake Harris Correspondence,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 1970.

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