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


Biography

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   1  
    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
    • 42
    African Americans--Colonization
    • 4
    American Colonization Society
    • 4
    Ammidon, Hollis
    • 41
    Animal magnetism
    • 9
    Ann Arbor (Mich.)--Description
    • 26
    Ballou, Adin, 1803-1890. Practical Christian Socialism
    • 39
    Bereavement
    • 48
    Book reviewing
    • 6, 7, 39, 44
    Boys des Guay, Jean-François-Étienne, 1794-1864
    • 13
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Anastasis
    • 8
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Grammar of the Hebrew Language
    • 5
    Bush, George, 1796-1859. Lexicon of the Hebrew Language
    • 2
    Bushnell, Horace, 1802-1876
    • 14
    Church controversies
    • 14
    Clissold, Augustus, 1797?-1882
    • 13
    Crystals
    • 19, 24
    Davidson, Samuel, 1806-1898. Hermeneutics
    • 7
    Death
    • 16, 48
    Debts
    • 18
    Douglass, Frederick, ca.1817-1895
    • 11
    Evangelistic work
    • 12, 15, 29, 33
    Evangelistic work--Great Britain
    • 24, 35, 38
    Free love
    • 39
    Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879
    • 4, 11
    Gifts
    • 13, 34, 37, 40, 42, 46
    Hebrew language
    • 2, 5
    Immigrants
    • 32
    Immigration
    • 10
    Immortality
    • 8
    Mesmerism
    • 26
    Mourning customs
    • 48
    New Church Repository
    • 13, 15, 25, 27, 34, 37, 49
    New Jerusalem Church
    • 6, 8, 9, 26, 27, 29, 33, 35, 36, 45
    New Jerusalem Church literature--Publication and distribution
    • 12, 15, 30, 47, 49
    New Jerusalem Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
    • 38
    New Jerusalem Church--France
    • 31
    New Jerusalem Church--Great Britain
    • 12, 24
    New Jerusalem Church--Italy
    • 28
    New Jerusalem Church--Publications
    • 25
    Preaching
    • 1, 3, 11, 33, 49, 52
    Presbyterian Church
    • 6
    Presbyterian Church--Clergy
    • 14
    Presbyterian Church--Clergy--Appointment, call and election
    • 3, 52
    Presbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
    • 2
    Princeton Theological Seminary
    • 2, 40
    Princeton University
    • 37, 46
    Publishers and publishing
    • 7, 35, 43, 44
    Resurrection
    • 8, 36
    Rutgers University
    • 21
    Slavery--United States
    • 27
    Slavery--United States--Anti-slavery movements
    • 4, 11, 27
    Spirit World
    • 20
    Spirits
    • 24, 36, 44
    Spiritualism
    • 19, 20, 24, 29, 36, 38, 44
    Statues
    • 17
    Swedenborg, Emanuel, 1688-1772
    • 9, 15, 36
    Trance
    • 24
    Union College
    • 22
    University of Michigan
    • 26
    Utopias
    • 39
    Visions
    • 24
    Wilkinson, James J. G., 1812-1899
    • 23
    Writer Name Index
    [ ], Mrs.
    • 49
    Alexander, Adam, 1772-1851
    • 2
    Alexander, James Waddel, 1804-1859
    • 40
    Alexander, Joseph Addison, 1809-1860
    • 6
    Arthur, Timothy Shay, 1809-1885
    • 18
    Ballou, Adin, 1803-1890
    • 39
    Beecher, Lyman, 1775-1863
    • 3
    Bellows, Henry Whitney, 1814-1882
    • 9
    Bohn, Henry George, 1796-1884
    • 43
    Braunhardt, L.F., b. ca.1799
    • 10
    Brown, Samuel Gilman, 1813-1885
    • 16
    Bush, Lewis C.
    • 21
    Bush, Mary W. Fisher
    • 48
    Bushnell, Horace, 1802-1876
    • 23
    Carnahan, James, 1775-1859
    • 1
    Chivers, Thomas Holley, 1809-1858
    • 15
    Clapp, Otis
    • 47
    Clissold, Augustus, 1797?-1882
    • 35, 38
    Coquinal, A.H., ?
    • 50
    Crallé, Richard K., d. 1864
    • 27
    Crawford, Thomas, 1813?-1857
    • 17
    Davidson, Samuel, 1806-1898
    • 7
    Davis, Alexander Jackson, 1803-1892
    • 33
    Dawes, Rufus
    • 41
    Felton, Cornelius Felton, 1807-1862
    • 51
    Folsom, Nathaniel Smith, 1806-1890
    • 14
    Forrest, Edwin, 1806-1872
    • 42
    Frelinghuysen, Theodore, 1787-1862
    • 21
    Gordon, William Robert, 1811-1897
    • 44
    Green, William Henry, 1825-1900
    • 37
    Harris, Thomas Lake, 1823-1906
    • 36
    Haworth, Miss
    • 19
    Haworth, Stanley
    • 24
    Hodge, Charles, 1797-1878
    • 46
    Holmfeld, Derekinck, ?
    • 25
    Hough, Richard K., ?
    • 17
    Huntingdon, Frederic Dan, 1819-1904
    • 45
    Illegible
    • 48
    Kellogg, Miner K., 1814-1889
    • 28
    LeBoys des Guay, Jean-Francois-Etienne, 1794-1864
    • 31
    Lewis, Tayler, 1802-1877
    • 22
    May, Samuel Joseph, 1797-1871
    • 11
    Noble, S.
    • 52
    Pond, Enoch, 1791-1882
    • 13
    Sears, Edmund Hamilton, 1810-1876
    • 29
    Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
    • 34
    Smith, John Pye, 1774-1851
    • 8
    Stanhope, Philip Henry, 1781-1855
    • 19
    Stowe, Calvin Ellis, 1802-1886
    • 5
    Sunderland, La Roy, 1804-1885
    • 20
    Tafel, Emanuel, 1796-1863
    • 30
    Tappan, Henry Philip, 1805-1881
    • 26
    Toepfer, C.
    • 32
    Tracy, Joseph, 1793-1874
    • 4
    Wilkinson, James J.G., 1812-1899
    • 12
    Wohlmann, Elise
    • 48