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Irving Hamlin (1873- ) Papers, 1912-1938

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Tomson photograph

Seated is spiritual medium Elizabeth Allen Tomson. To the right is Clarence Tomson, husband and spokesman of the medium. The young woman to the left is their daughter Miss Nourhalma Tomson. This photo was taken in 1920.


Irving Hamlin was born in 1873. The date of his death is currently unknown. It is known that he was married, but his wife's name is not identified in these papers. Hamlin lived in Evanston, Illinois, where he conducted his business interests in the Evanston Sound Proof Door Company. He was an avid researcher of the paranormal, traveling frequently to participate in seances. For a time, he was also associated with one of the professional schools at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.


Collection #30

Hamlin, Irving (1873- )
Papers, 1912-1938

.4 linear feet


The personal papers and correspondence of Irving Hamlin of Evanston, Illinois. The papers include personal correspondence, business records, newspaper clippings, and publications relating to seances, spiritualism, and psychical research.





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The Irving Hamlin Papers are arranged into four series, two of which contain sub-series. The four series are Correspondence, Business, Research, and Clippings. Included are personal correspondence, clippings, book orders, and business related documents. In almost every file there are references to the activities of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR).

The Correspondence Series is organized into six sub-series. These sub-series consist of Jean Comerford Letters, L. R. G. Crandon Letters, Philip Frost Letters, Walter Franklin Prince Letters, Personal Letters, and General Correspondence. The Personal Letters series is mainly correspondence with family members. All other correspondence is focused on Hamlin's interests in the paranormal, dealing mostly with seances and psychical research.

The Comerford sub-series contains letters mostly from Irving Hamlin to Jean Comerford. These letters are written from January 29, 1923 to April 14, 1932. These letters discuss Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the locations and circumstances of various seances.

The Crandon sub-series contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence with Dr. L.R.G. Crandon. These letters are written from September 11, 1926 to September 29, 1935 and primarily discuss seances. The focus of these letters is on Dr. Crandon's wife, Margery, a spiritual medium. Also discussed is the idea of "ectoplasm".

The Frost sub-series includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence with Philip Frost. These letters are written from April 20, 1922 to July 8, 1937. These letters mostly concern discussions of the paranormal and Frost's business interests in Vermont, including a resort known as "Canoe Place." Also discussed in these letters are the Evanston Sound Proof Doors, Hamlin's health, and Frost's publications.

The Prince sub-series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence with Dr. Walter Franklin Prince. These letters are written from December 23, 1922 to April 27, 1928. These letters primarily discuss paranormal investigations. Also discussed in the letters are Harry Houdini, Masonic Temples, Dr. James H. Hyslop, and the Hyslop Foundation.

The Personal Letters sub-series contains primarily letters written to various family members. Those most often written to are Aunt Lottie, Cousin Stella Wood, and Edith; Hamlin's niece. These letters contain some information on Hamlin's interests in the paranormal, but more frequently concern the activities of the family members.

The General Correspondence sub-series contains both incoming and outgoing letters from July 24, 1912 to July 11, 1938. These letters concern the paranormal and discuss Tomson seances, Ectoplasmic Materialization, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and excerpts from various, related books and publications. Included in the second folder are letters discussing religion, a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and a brief genealogy of the Hamlin family.

The Business Series contains letters and records of the Evanston Sound Proof Door and the Hamlinized Folding Partition. This series contains letters written between September 1, 1926 and February 6, 1938. A diagram of the doors and a list of where they had been installed are also included. The business correspondence frequently includes discussions of the paranormal and Hamlin's research interests.

The Research Series is broken down into four sub-series. These sub-series being the American Society for Psychical Research, Printed Materials Request Forms, Seance Records, and Scientific Journals. The main focus of the series is psychical research and paranormal activity in general. In particular the Margery Crandon and Elizabeth Allen Tomson seances are discussed. References to paranormal publications often appear in this series.

The American Society for Psychical Research sub-series contains letters written from December 27, 1922 to November 29, 1937. The topic most often discussed is the Tomson seances.

The Printed Materials sub-series deals with Hamlin's various requests to purchase copies of books, journals, and newspapers that are paranormal in nature. Also contained in this sub-series are payments to extend Hamlin's subscriptions to various spiritual or paranormal magazines.

The Seance Records sub-series deals with three personal accounts of seances. These include the Hamlin account, the William T. Stead account, and the Sir Alfred E. Turner account. Also included in this sub-series are letters from Clarence and Elizabeth Tomson.

The Scientific Journals sub-series contains copies of paranormal journals such as Light, Banner of Life, and Reason. Also contained in this sub-series is information about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Clippings Series contains various newspaper articles on paranormal topics. Some articles are unidentified as to source or date. This series includes clippings about Margery Conrad being publicly discredited as a fraud.



The Correspondence Series

f.1 Comerford Letters
f.2 Crandon Letters
f.3 Frost Letters
f.4 Prince Letters
f.5 Personal Letters
f.6 General Correspondence 1912-1928
f.7 General Correspondence 1929-1938

Business Series

f.8 Evanston Sound Proof Door

Research Series

f.9 American Society for Psychical Research
f.10 Printed Materials Request Forms
f.11 Seance Records
f.12 Scientific Journals

Clippings Series

f.13 Clippings, undated, 1923-1935



Abbott, James f.7
Abraham Lincoln Center f.2, 7
Allison, Mrs. f.2
American Society for Psychical Research f.2-5, 8-10
American Society for Psychical Research Journal f.1-3, 6-10, 12
American Wurtzlite Company f.5
Andrews, Mrs. C.S. f.7
Anna Morgan Studios f.6
Atlantic Monthly f.3
Ayers, S.G. f.6
Banner of Life f. 2,6-8, 10, 12-13
Barrett, Sir William f.6
Beckwith, F.H. f.6
Belmont Hall, Chicago, Illinois f.6
Bennett, Arthur G. f.7
Bigelow, Ernest A. f.7-8
Bills, Arthur G. f.7
Bird, J. Malcolm f.1-3, 6-7, 9-11
Blessing, Caroline f.9
Bligh Bond Removal f.2
Bolitho, T.J. f.6
Bond, Bligh f.2,7,9
Borrebach, Mr. B.M. f.2
Boston Building Specialties Company f.2
Boston Society for Psychic Research f.4
Boston Journal f.2
Bradley, Preston f.1, 7
Brighton, Billy f.6
British College of Psychic Science f.6, 10
British Society for Psychical Research f.6
Brown, Hugh Elmer f.7
Brown, Mrs. J.H. f.2, 6
Brownell, Baker f.7, 8
The Brunswick f.6
Bull, Titus f.6, 7
Burnett, Frances Hodson f.7
Buttolph, C.E. f.6, 10
Canoe Place f.3
Carrel, Alexis (1873-1944) f.3
Carrington, Hereward (1880-1959) f.6, 7, 10
Catholic Church of America f.2
The Century f.3
Chalice of Antioch f.7
Chambers, Sam f.6
Chicago Daily News f.6
Chicago Herald-Examiner f.2, 6-7, 10
Chicago Police Department f.4
Chicago Theological Seminary f.7
City and County Hall, Buffalo, New York f.3
Clairvoyance and Materialization f.6
Clark University f.7
Cleveland Chamber of Commerce f.3
Cleveland Terminals Tower f.3
Coburn, Mrs. f.1
Coe, George Albert f.7
Cole, Fay Cooper f.7
College of Psychic Science f.2
Collier's Weekly f.6
Comerford, Mrs. Jean f.1, 3-4, 6-8
Coming of the Fairies f.6
Community Church of New York f.7
Comstock, Professor f.3, 5
Concerning Knowing Things f.3, 12
Contact with the Next World f.6
Crandon, Dr. L.R.G. f.1-2, 4, 6-9
Crandon, Margery f.1-2, 4, 6-9, 12
Crew, Henry f.3, 6-9
Crookes, Sir William f.4, 6-8, 11
Danielson, Effie f.6
Danielson, Philip A. f.7
Day, Susanne R. f.6
Dingwall, Mr. f.4
Diocese of Chicago f.7
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan f. 1, 3, 6, 8-10, 12
Doyle, Lady Joan Conan f.8-10
Dudley, Mr. f.2, 5, 7
Dunsmore, Dr. f.6
Edwards, Frederick f.3
Egger, Anton f.6
Eiselen, F.C. f. 6, 7
Elliott, Clyde f. 6
Elliott, T.D. f.5
Endless Cavern f.3
Evans, Ward V. f.7
Evanston Public Library Evanston, Illinois f.7
Evanston Review f.3
Evanston Sound Proof Door f.6, 8
F.H. Faxon and Company f.6, 10
First Methodist Episcopal Church Evanston, IL f.7
First Presbyterian Church, Evanston, Illinois f.1
Fitch, C.W. f.7
Fletcher, Mrs. Duncan U. f.7, 10
Fosdick, Dr. f.8
Foster, George f.6
Frost, Phillip Prescott f.1, 3, 7-9
Frost, Mrs. Phillip Prescott f.3
Fuller, Amasa f.6
Galigher, Maud Fletcher f.7
Gallion, Marshall f.1, 8-9
Garrett Biblical Institute f.6-8
Garrett, Thomas L. f.6
Garrick Hall f.1
Geley, Gustav f.6, 10
George H. Doran Company f.10
George Newnes Ltd. f.10
Gillespie, Professor f.7
Gladstone, William E. f.7
Glastonbury Abbey f.7
Goadby, Arthur f.7, 9
Gordon, Alex R. f.5, 7
Goss, Arthur f.5, 6
Gould, H.P. f.7
Great Demagogue f.3
Gregory, Sir Richard f.6
Gujral, Maud f.6
Hamlin, Irving f.1-13
Hamlin, Mrs. Irving f.1-3, 7
Hamlinized Folding Partition f.5, 7
Hardwicke, Henry S.W. f.7
Harper's Magazine f.3, 7
Harrington, George f.7
Harris Lectures f.4, 6
Harvard University f.6, 8
Hattie f.5
Hect, Maris Armstrong f.6, 9
Helen, Cousin f.5
Herskovitz, Professor f.7, 8
Higgins, Howard f.7
Hill, Cathleen f.4, 6, 9
Hitchcock, Raymond f.3, 6
Holgate, Dean f.8
Holmes, John Haynes f.7
Holt, Henry f.6
Hotel Atlantic, Chicago, Illinois f.1
Hotel Brevoort f.1
Hotel Clinton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania f.6
Hotel Ford, Buffalo, New York f.6
Hotel St. Francis, Newark, New Jersey f.7
Houdini, Harry (1874-1926) f. 1, 4, 6-7, 9-11
Houghton Mifflin & Company f.6
Hyslop, James H. f. 4, 6, 12
Hyslop Foundation f.6-8, 10
International Association of Milk Dealers, Chicago, Illinois f.6
J. Walter Thompson Company f.7
Jastrow, Joseph f.2
James, George ( -1933) f.7
Joad, C.E.M f.7
Johns Hopkins University f.7
Johnston Foundation f.7
Johnston, William Bernard f.7
Jones, Frank f.6
Joseph of Aramithea f.7
Kansas State Teachers College, Pittsburg, Kansas f.8
Kemp, Bruce f.6
Knapp, Harold E. f. 5, 7
Lee, Rensselaer f.7
Light f.2, 7, 10, 12
Lodge, Sir Oliver f. 2-4, 6-8, 10
London Equitable Building f.6
London Morning Post f.10, 13
Lottie, Aunt f.5
Loyd, Will f.5
Lutkins, Mr. f.3
Lyman, E. f.7
Lyman, Mary Riley f.7
Malone, Dudley Field f.6
The Margery Mediumship in Relation to the Problem of Personal Survival and Communication f.2
Materialization Phenomena f.3, 7-8
McComas, Henry Clay f.7
McComb, S.D. f.6
Mc Dougall, W.F. f.4, 6
Mc Govern, William Montgomery f.8
McIntosh Apples f.7
Metropolitan Magazine f.3
Military Training Camps Association f.7
Morgan, Professor f.7
Morosco Theater f.4
Myers, Frederick f.5
Myron, Uncle f.5
Nelson's Perpertual Loose-Leaf Encyclopedia f.6
Nevitt, Charles f.6, 8
Newell, Mr. f.5
New Orleans Times-Picayune f.6-7
New York State Experiment Board f.7
New York Times f.6
Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois f.2-3, 6, 8-9
Northwestern University Library, Evanston, Illinois f.2
Oaten, Ernest W. f.7
On the Cosmic Relations f.6
Oursler, Mr. f.1, 3, 6
Outlook f.2-3
Overstreet, Harry f.3, 7, 9
Pacific Coast Sales and Manufacturing Agency f.5
Paine Thrift Bank, Oshkosh, Wisconsin f.6
Paranormal f.1-13
Peet, Edith f.5
Perlman, George f.10
Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas f.7
Poltergiest Phenomena and Dissociation f.9
Prince, Walter Franklin f.1-9
Progressive Thinker f.6
Psychic Bookshop f.6, 10
Psychical Research Review f.12
Psychic Research Society of New York f.7
Psychic Science f.2, 10
Psychical Research f.1-13
Purple Heart f.3
Quarterly Transactions of the British College of Psychic Science f.6, 10
Radio, 1924 f.3
Ray f.5
Rayleigh, Lord f.6
Reichert, Minnie f.7, 11
Richardson, Dr. f.2
Richet, Charles f.6
Riddle Mrs. Theodate Pope f.7
Rob f.5
Roberts, Janet f.7
Rockefeller, John D. f.7
Rogers, A.C. f.6
Saturday Evening Post f.3
Schrenck-Notzing f.3, 7, 8
Scientific American f.3, 6, 8 12
Scientific American Investigating Committee f.1, 9
Scott, T.A. f.7
The Scripts of Cleophas f.6
Seances f.1-9, 11-13
Searles, Mrs. f.6
Smith, Langdon f.7
Sophie Newcomb College f.5
Sperry, Willard L. f.8
Spiritualists f.1-13
Spookology f.3
St. Charles Hotel, Mound City, Illinois f.1
St. Luke's Parish, Evanston, Illinois f.6
Stead, William T. f.4, 6, 11
Stewart, George Craig f.6, 8
Stewart, Mrs. f.3
Stinson, Mrs. f.2
Stow, Bond f.8
Swaffer, Hannen f.7
A Test Materialization Seance f.3
Thirty Years of Psychical Research f.6, 7
Thompson, Eva f.4
Thornrose, Gustav f.7, 10
Tichnor, John f.5
Tittle, Ernest f.7
Tomson, Clarence H. f.1, 3, 6-9, 11
Tomson, Elizabeth Allen f. 1-4, 6-11
Tomson Phenomena f.1-3, 6, 11
Thornrose, Mrs. f.1
The Thorogood Opus f.2
Tubby, Gertrude f.3, 10
Turner, Sir Alfred E. f.11
Two Worlds Publishing Company, Ltd. f.7, 10
Under Fire in Reims f.3
United States, Department of Agriculture f.7
United States, Radio Service f.6
University of Chicago f.7
University of Chicago, Divinity School f.5
University Club of Evanston f.6-7, 9
University Psychology Laboratory, Evanston, Illinois f.1
Utley, Mrs. Reigh A. f.7-8
Waite, Maggie f.7
Wallace, Alfred Russell f.7
Walker, Ruddie f.6
Watters, R.A. f.7
Webb, Captain f.6
Welborn, Mr. f.6
Wellman, Adele f.7-9
Wessel, Mark f.6
Whipple, James f.7
Whittlesey, Mark f.6
Wood, Stella f.5
World's Fair, 1933 f.7
Wounded in Action f.3
Zellmer, George R. f.6
Zenith Foundation Radio f.7


Selected local material

Last Modified: Aug 27, 2007 - 12:53

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