Au­thor Sara Rath writes his­tor­i­cal novel about a Ver­mont Spir­i­tu­al­ist

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Barre, VT

The Ver­mont His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has pub­lished Seven Years of Grace, a dra­ma­tized ac­count of the life of Achsa W. Sprague (1827–1862), who 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. From Ply­mouth Notch, Ver­mont, Achsa em­braced the Spir­i­tu­al­ist move­ment and em­barked on a seven-year cru­sade across Amer­ica. Though she pub­licly re­jected the doc­trine of Free Love sup­ported by many Spir­i­tu­al­ists, she se­cretly strug­gled against the grow­ing love she felt for a mar­ried man.

“Grounded in the ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of Sprague’s pa­pers at the Ver­mont His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety, Seven Years

of Grace is a fas­ci­nat­ing tale that takes you deep into the heart of an­te­bel­lum Amer­i­can cul­ture,” says VHS Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Steve Perkins. “Sara Rath is the au­thor of fif­teen books. Au­to­graphed book­plates will be avail­able dur­ing our Third Thurs­day lun­cheon talk on May 19 at the Ver­mont His­tory Mu­seum in Mont­pe­lier.”

John B. Buescher, au­thor of The Other Side of Sal­va­tion, re­viewed Seven Years of Grace, “A won­der­ful his­tor­i­cal novel. Sara Rath has deeply re­searched the small but highly in­flu­en­tial num­ber of itin­er­ant woman lec­tur­ers dur­ing the mid-nine­teenth cen­tury, and she has found a bril­liant way to tell Achsa Sprague’s story.”

This book was pub­lished in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin Press. The Ver­mont His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety awarded Sara Rath its We­ston A. Cate Fel­low­ship to sup­port her re­search on Achsa W. Sprague. She lives in Spring Green, Wis­con­sin.

More in­for­ma­tion about the Ver­mont His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and this book can be found at ver­mon­this­tory.org/store or call (802) 828-1414.

photo courtesy VHS

Ver­mont His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety pub­lishes book about Spir­i­tu­al­ist Achsa Sprague of Ply­mouth Notch, Ver­mont.

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