Maynard, Henrietta Sturdevant (1841-1892)

views updated

Maynard, Henrietta Sturdevant (1841-1892)

American inspirational speaker known as Nettie Colburn before her marriage. She was born in Bolton, Connecticut, in 1841. Abraham Lincoln had a high opinion of her gift and was, to an appreciable extent, influenced by her trance exhortations in the issue of the antislavery proclamation. Maynard described her meetings with the president in her book Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist? (1891).

She visited Washington in spring 1862 in order to see her brother, then in the Federal Army hospital. Lincoln's wife had a sitting with Maynard and was enormously impressed. The next day she sent a carriage to bring the medium to see the president.

In a state of trance, the medium delivered a powerful address relating to the forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation, forcefully urging Lincoln "not to abort the terms of its issue and not to delay its enforcement as a law beyond the opening of the year; and he was assured that it was to be the crowning event of his administration and his life," even though he was being strongly counseled by certain individuals to defer the matter. According to reports, President Lincoln acknowledged the pressures upon him and was deeply impressed by the medium's message.

Maynard died at White Plains, New York, June 27, 1892.


Maynard, Henrietta S. Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist? Philadelphia, Pa.: R. C. Hartranft, 1891. Reprint, London: Psychic Book Club, 1917.