Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
George Bush papers, 1830-1859

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, February 1989

Summary Information
Title: George Bush papers
Creator: Bush, George, 1796-1859
Inclusive dates: 1830-1859
Extent: 53 items
Abstract:
The George Bush papers consist of letters addressed to Bush, an active member of the New Jerusalem Church, about Swedenborgian beliefs and practices including a few letters about abolition.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1988. M-2431.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

No copyright restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

George Bush Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biographical/Historical Note

George Bush (1796-1859) was a prominent biblical scholar, preacher and controversialist. After graduation from Dartmouth in 1818 and study at Princeton Theological Seminary, Bush was ordained at the Salem Presbytery in Indiana (1825) and was appointed pastor of a church in Indianapolis. His religious views, described as 'liberal' or 'progressive,' rapidly came into conflict with those of his more conservative parishioners and in 1828, this conflict culminated in his termination, following a statement in which he disputed the scriptural authority of Presbyterian church government.

From 1831 to 1847, Bush was Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Literature at New York University and pursued a prolific publishing career that established a strong scholarly reputation. His contributions include The Life of Mohammed (1830), A Grammar of the Hebrew Language (1835), an extensive series of commentaries on books of the Old Testament, and the highly controversial Anastasis: or, the doctrine of the resurrection of the Body, rationally and scripturally considered (1844), all showing the marks of Bush's encyclopedic knowledge and his highly rationalistic approach to theological and scriptural questions. His fame as a preacher and educator blossomed at N.Y.U., and during this time he also became a committed advocate for the immediate abolition of slavery.

In the early 1840's, Bush developed what was to become a lifelong interest in spiritualism and mesmerism. 1845 he converted to the New Jerusalem Church (also know as The Swedenborgian Church in North America) based on the writing of Emanuel Swedenborg. Although Bush rejected ecclesiastical rites, he consented to ordination in the New Church in 1848. With an international reputation already established in the basis of his scholarship, Bush soon became one of the most prominent spokesmen of New Church views, and he made significant contributions to the spread of the church in both the U.S. and Britain. Bush served as editor for the New Church Review and the spiritualist magazine, The Hierophant , and he authored and helped disseminate a large number of Swedenborgian tracts, including the widely read Statement of reasons for believing the doctrines and disclosures of Emanuel Swedenborg (1846) and Mesmer and Swedenborg (1847). Bush continued his promotional work for the New Church until his death, following a protracted and debilitating illness, in 1859.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The George Bush papers consist of letters addressed to Bush, an active member of the New Jerusalem Church, about Swedenborgian beliefs and practices including a few letters about abolition.

The Bush collection is strongest in documenting the beliefs and practices of Swedenborgians, mystics and spiritualists during the 1840's and 50's. The correspondence provides insight into Swedenborgian religious views (e.g., their conception of the soul (item 13) and documents a diversity of viewpoints among members of this 'non-traditional' sect (e.g., items 2, 18). The papers also provides insight into how New Church views were propagated and received in the US and Britain (e.g., items 23, 43, 20).

Although the collection contains only four items concerning anti-slavery movements, these represent a wide range of opinion. Thus Joseph Tracy (of the American Colonization Society; item 14) has very negative comments for the tactics of William Lloyd Garrison, while the New Church clergyman Richard K. Crallé suggests that the evil ("if evil it be") of slavery does not warrant imperiling the spread of the New Church in the south by taking a strong, public pro-abolition stance.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Book reviewing.
    • Evangelistic work.
    • Gifts.
    • New Jerusalem Church.
    • Preaching.
    • Publishers and publishing.
    • Spiritualism.
    • Swedenborgians.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Box   59, Small Collections Folders   1-13
    George Bush papers,  1830 March 26-1859 July 20 [series]
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Many of George Bush's publications are at the Clements Library and other University of Michgian Libraries.

    Partial Subject Index
    Actors--United States
    • 15 January 1857
    African Americans--Colonization
    • 20 June 1833
    American Colonization Society
    • 20 June 1833
    Ammidon, Hollis
    • 26 September 1856
    Animal magnetism
    • 7 November 1845
    Ann Arbor (Mich.)--Description
    • 8 November 1852
    Ballou, Adin, 1803-1890. Practical Christian Socialism
    • 25 December 1854
    Bereavement
    • [1859 or 1860?]
    Book reviewing
    • 11 June 1839; 4 July 1843; 25 December 1854; 19 January 1858
    Boys des Guay, Jean-François-Étienne, 1794-1864
    • 14 July 1848
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Anastasis
    • 1 April 1845
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Grammar of the Hebrew Language
    • 4 February 1835
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
    • 4 December 1830
    Bushnell, Horace, 1802-1876
    • 3 August 1848
    Church controversies
    • 3 August 1848
    Clissold, Augustus, 1797?-1882
    • 14 July 1848
    Crystals
    • 12 November 1850; 5 July [1850]
    Davidson, Samuel, 1806-1898. Hermeneutics
    • 4 July 1843
    Death
    • 15 December 1848; [1859 or 1860?]
    Debts
    • 20 July 1849
    Douglass, Frederick, ca.1817-1895
    • 9 September 1847
    Evangelistic work
    • 2 December 1847; 8 October 1848; 9 March 1853; 25 April 1853
    Evangelistic work--Great Britain
    • 5 July [1852]; 19 October 1853; 2 June [1854]
    Free love
    • 25 December 1854
    Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
    • 20 June 1833; 9 September 1847
    Gifts
    • 14 July 1848; 11 June 1853; 26 November 1853; 12 July 1856; 15 January 1857; 28 August 1858
    Hebrew language
    • 4 December 1830; 4 February 1835
    Immigrants
    • 13 April 1853
    Immigration
    • 16 April 1846
    Immortality
    • 1 April 1845
    Mesmerism
    • 8 November 1852
    Mourning customs
    • [1859 or 1860?]
    New Church Repository
    • 14 July 1848; 8 October 1848; 25 August 1852; 3 January 1853; 11 June 1853; 26 November 1853; undated
    New Jerusalem Church
    • 11 June 1839; 1 April 1845; 7 November 1845; 8 November 1852; 3 January 1853; 9 March 1853; 25 April 1853; 19 October 1853; 10 November 1853; 18 May 1858
    New Jerusalem Church literature--Publication and distribution
    • 2 December 1847; 8 October 1848; 18 March 1853; 20 July 1859; undated
    New Jerusalem Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
    • 2 June [1854]
    New Jerusalem Church--France
    • 31 March 1853
    New Jerusalem Church--Great Britain
    • 2 December 1847; 5 July [1852]
    New Jerusalem Church--Italy
    • 17 February 1853
    New Jerusalem Church--Publications
    • 25 August 1852
    Preaching
    • 26 March 1830; 12 March 1831; 9 September 1847; 25 April 1853; undated; undated
    Presbyterian Church
    • 11 June 1839
    Presbyterian Church--Clergy
    • 3 August 1848
    Presbyterian Church--Clergy--Appointment, call and election
    • 12 March 1831; undated
    Presbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
    • 4 December 1830
    Princeton Theological Seminary
    • 4 December 1830; 12 July 1856
    Princeton University
    • 26 November 1853; 28 August 1858
    Publishers and publishing
    • 4 July 1843; 19 October 1853; 29 August 1857; 19 January 1858
    Resurrection
    • 1 April 1845; 10 November 1853
    Rutgers University
    • 12 January 1852
    Slavery--United States
    • 3 January 1853
    Slavery--United States--Anti-slavery movements
    • 20 June 1833; 9 September 1847; 3 January 1853
    Spirit World
    • 22 August 1851
    Spirits
    • 5 July [1852]; 10 November 1853; 19 January 1853
    Spiritualism
    • 12 November 1850; 22 August 1851; 5 July [1852]; 9 March 1853; 10 November 1853; 2 June [1854]; 19 January 1858
    Statues
    • 10 March 1849
    Swedenborg, Emanuel, 1688-1772
    • 7 November 1845; 8 October 1848; 10 November 1853
    Trance
    • 5 July [1852]
    Union College
    • 15 January 1852
    University of Michigan
    • 8 November 1852
    Utopias
    • 25 December 1854
    Visions
    • 5 July [1852]
    Wilkinson, James J. G., 1812-1899
    • 4 June 1852
    Writer Name Index
    [ ], Mrs.
    • undated
    Alexander, Adam, 1772-1851
    • 4 December 1830
    Alexander, James Waddel, 1804-1859
    • 12 July 1856
    Alexander, Joseph Addison, 1809-1860
    • 11 June 1839
    Arthur, Timothy Shay, 1809-1885
    • 20 July 1849
    Ballou, Adin, 1803-1890
    • 25 December 1854
    Barnes, Albert, 1798-1870
    • 23 April 1836
    Beecher, Lyman, 1775-1863
    • 12 March 1831
    Bellows, Henry Whitney, 1814-1882
    • 7 November 1845
    Bohn, Henry George, 1796-1884
    • 29 August 1857
    Braunhardt, L.F., b. ca.1799
    • 16 April 1846
    Brown, Samuel Gilman, 1813-1885
    • 15 December 1848
    Bush, Lewis C.
    • 12 January 1852
    Bush, Mary W. Fisher
    • [1859 or 1860?]
    Bushnell, Horace, 1802-1876
    • 4 June 1852
    Carnahan, James, 1775-1859
    • 26 March 1830
    Chivers, Thomas Holley, 1809-1858
    • 8 October 1848
    Clapp, Otis
    • 20 July 1859
    Clissold, Augustus, 1797?-1882
    • 19 October 1853; 2 June [1854]
    Coquinal, A.H., ?
    • undated
    Crallé, Richard K., d. 1864
    • 3 January 1853
    Crawford, Thomas, 1813?-1857
    • 10 March 1849
    Davidson, Samuel, 1806-1898
    • 4 July 1843
    Davis, Alexander Jackson, 1803-1892
    • 25 April 1853
    Dawes, Rufus
    • 26 September 1856
    Felton, Cornelius Felton, 1807-1862
    • undated
    Folsom, Nathaniel Smith, 1806-1890
    • 3 August 1848
    Forrest, Edwin, 1806-1872
    • 15 January 1857
    Frelinghuysen, Theodore, 1787-1862
    • 12 January 1857
    Gordon, William Robert, 1811-1897
    • 19 January 1858
    Green, William Henry, 1825-1900
    • 26 November 1853
    Harris, Thomas Lake, 1823-1906
    • 10 November 1853
    Haworth, Miss
    • 12 November 1850
    Haworth, Stanley
    • 5 July [1852]
    Hodge, Charles, 1797-1878
    • 28 August 1858
    Holmfeld, Derekinck, ?
    • 25 August 1852
    Hough, Richard K., ?
    • 10 March 1849
    Huntingdon, Frederic Dan, 1819-1904
    • 18 May 1858
    Illegible
    • [1859 or 1860?]
    Kellogg, Miner K., 1814-1889
    • 17 February 1853
    LeBoys des Guay, Jean-Francois-Etienne, 1794-1864
    • 31 March 1853
    Lewis, Tayler, 1802-1877
    • 15 January 1852
    May, Samuel Joseph, 1797-1871
    • 9 September 1847
    Noble, S.
    • undated
    Pond, Enoch, 1791-1882
    • 14 July 1848
    Sears, Edmund Hamilton, 1810-1876
    • 9 March 1853
    Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
    • 11 June 1853
    Smith, John Pye, 1774-1851
    • 1 April 1845
    Stanhope, Philip Henry, 1781-1855
    • 12 November 1850
    Stowe, Calvin Ellis, 1802-1886
    • 4 February 1835
    Sunderland, La Roy, 1804-1885
    • 22 August 1851
    Tafel, Emanuel, 1796-1863
    • 18 March 1853
    Tappan, Henry Philip, 1805-1881
    • 8 November 1852
    Toepfer, C.
    • 13 April 1853
    Tracy, Joseph, 1793-1874
    • 20 June 1833
    Wilkinson, James J.G., 1812-1899
    • 2 December 1847
    Wohlmann, Elise
    • [1859 or 1860?]