Skip to main content

Fox, Leah (c. 1818–1890)

Fox, Leah (c. 1818–1890)

Canadian-born medium who was the sister of spiritualists Margaret and Kate Fox. Name variations: Leah Fish. Born Ann Leah Fox around 1818, in the state of New York; died on November 1, 1890, in New York City; eldest of six or more children of John Fox (a farmer) and Margaret (Rutan) Fox; sister of Margaret Fox (c. 1833–1893) and Kate Fox (c. 1839–1892); married to a man named Fish, in the 1840s (possibly died); married Calvin Brown, 1851 (died, 1853); married Daniel Underhill (an insurance executive and a spiritualist), 1858; children: three by first marriage; possibly more.

In most accounts of the spiritualists Margaret and Kate Fox , the role of a third sister, Leah, is significant. She is portrayed variously as opportunistic and ambitious, or concerned and protective, depending on the source. Ruth Brandon , in her book The Spiritualists, quotes one commentator as explaining that Leah exploited her sisters in the interest of founding a new religion. Whatever her motives, Leah appears to have been the most robust and well adjusted of the three sisters, and seemingly capable in dealing with the notoriety that surrounded the family. She was living in Rochester, New York, with her first husband and family around the time of the first rappings at the Fox home in 1848 and, with Eliab W. Capron, managed her sisters during the years of their public demonstrations. After either the death or desertion of her first husband, she remarried twice, and from 1858 lived a quiet life. One source indicates that Leah often providing sanctuary for her troubled sisters, while another maintains that she eventually disowned them. Leah was said to be an adept medium herself, although she only gave private seances, never for money. Upon her death in 1890, she was mourned by spiritualists around the world.


Brandon, Ruth. The Spiritualists. NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983.

James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Fox, Leah (c. 1818–1890)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . 23 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Fox, Leah (c. 1818–1890)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . (April 23, 2019).

"Fox, Leah (c. 1818–1890)." Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.