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Uel Merrill Fisk Lectures


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Uel Merrill Fisk was a white Universalist pastor and lecturer on the radical abolitionist lecture circuit in New York and New England in the years leading up to and during the American Civil War. Fisk was born in Vermont in 1823 to Asa Fisk and Hanna Fassett. He married Ruth Annette Hollister (1828-1863) in 1850, with whom he had four children: Harold, Stella, Clarens, and Shelley. After his first wife died, Fisk married Lillie Crittenden (1834-1885) in 1864, with whom he had four more children: Lillie, Edwin Merrill, Theodore Parker, and Almer. Following his second wife's death, he married her sister, Hattie Crittenden, in 1887. Fisk lived mostly in Wyoming County and other locations in western New York, aside from a brief stint as pastor in Taunton, Massachusetts, in the late 1850s. In 1872, he relocated to Galena, Missouri, where he served in various local government positions and later died in 1911.

Consists of a series of manuscript lectures by U. M. (Uel Merrill) Fisk, a white Universalist pastor and lecturer on the radical abolitionist lecture circuit in New York and New England in the years leading up to and during the American Civil War. The lectures in the collection from this period argue for the abolition of slavery, and another from the Reconstruction Era advocates for voting rights for Black men.

The earliest material is a series of lectures in three parts titled "Review of the Recent Strife between Freedom and Slavery, and the Indications of the Future," which were first delivered in Potsdam, New York, in December 1856, and then on six occasions in 1857-1859 and 1866. These lectures provide a detailed history of the anti-slavery movement and the powerful institutional forces which suppressed it from the 1830s through the 1850s, as well as predict the coming Civil War. There is also a lecture titled "Secession No. 3: The True Foundation of Government," first delivered in Taunton, Massachusetts, in May 1861, and then on four other occasions through 1864. There are also fragments of other lectures, including two discussing the recent Emancipation Proclamation, circa 1863; a lecture delivered in LeRoy, New York, in October 1864; and another discussing secession, circa 1864. The latest material is an untitled lecture about the upcoming November 1868 election that makes an argument for voting rights for Black men.

Purchased from Swann Auction Galleries in 2021 (AM 2022-013).

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This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in October 2021. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in October 2021, incorporating some description written by the dealer.

No materials were separated from the collection during 2021 processing.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Kelly Bolding
Finding Aid Date
Processing of this collection was sponsored by the Delafield fund.
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Open for research.

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Collection Inventory

Uel Merrill Fisk Lectures, 1856-1868. 2 folders.
Physical Description

2 folders

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