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Joseph Peace Hazard: Rhode Island Spiritualist


This exhibit includes letters, notes, and other documents which paint a portrait of an avid 19th century Spiritualist.

Joseph Peace Hazard (1807-1892) was born into a wealthy Rhode Island family.  When he failed in the family's textile manufacturing business, Hazard's family supported him in pursuing his personal interests, which included travel, architecture, and Spiritualism. 

Hazard considered himself clairvoyant and clairaudient (capable of seeing and hearing spirits) from a young age, and pursued Spiritualism throughout his life.  In his later years, Hazard kept a journal in which he painstakingly recorded instances of his pocket watch "ringing", which he believed to be proof of the presence of his deceased friends and relatives.  Hazard also recorded his experiences with the supernatural in personal memoranda and letters to friends.  Hazard's experiences include seeing, hearing, and sensing spirits, and communicating with spirits through the movements of a table during a seance.

Hazard's papers are part of the Nathaniel Terry Bacon collection, held by the Special Collections department of Adams Library, Rhode Island College.  The digitized documents in this exhibit also may be viewed online at DigitalCommons@RIC.

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