History of the Lyceum Manual

Lyceum was the name that was given originally to a gymnasium and garden with covered walks near the temple of Apollo Lyceus at Athens. Aristotle taught there, which is how the name was applied to his school of Philosophy.

Andrew Jackson Davis used this name for Spiritualist Sunday Schools, which he inaugurated in 1863. The Lyceum was first published in 1887. It was what the Church of United Spiritualism of Australia was proclaimed on.

It is designed to be a thoroughly practical work book and incorporates the ideas of the progressive and Spiritual teachings of the day. It is a guide and a reference as a Teacher. It is a book of gathered information on our basic understanding of Spiritualism.

Andrew Jackson Davis (1826 -1910)
Founder of the Lyceum Movement The young Andrew Jackson Davis was a trance Medium who enabled his Spirit helpers to dictate books that were then transcribed and printed. He was able to ‘Journey’ when in the trance state and visit the Spiritual planes. He compared the way children were educated in the Summerland (Spirit-world) to the way they were educated on Earth and it was his belief that the methods used by Spirit were superior to those here. Andrew Jackson Davis spoke of this in a lecture at Dodsworth Hall on January 25th 1863; the Lyceum was inaugurated at that meeting. The first British Lyceum was opened in Nottingham, in June 1866 by Mr. J Hitchcock.The 25thof January the Anniversary of the founding of the Spiritualist Children’s Progressive Lyceum by Andrew Jackson Davis, 1863 is celebrated. It opened a new world to the adult as well as the child; to break the bonds of ignorance and superstitions of old religious ideas; that the child was a repository of infinite possibilities and not born in sin, but needed training and an avenue of expression.
Alfred Kitson 1855 – 1934
First Secretary of the Spiritualists’ Lyceum Union
(became known as Dad Kitson, the Father of the British Lyceum Movement)Born in Gawthorpe, West Riding Yorkshire, the young Alfred Kitson was a strictly brought up Methodist. His Father investigated Spiritualism, expecting to find evidence of fraud, instead he developed as a Medium. Alfred became convinced that the Spiritualist religion could help mankind and he devoted his efforts, and his heart, to work for children and the Lyceum. Alfred wrote several books and some are still available to buy.
Harry Kersey
First President of the Spiritualists Lyceum UnionHarry Kersey came from Newcastle upon Tyne and collaborated with Alfred Kitson and Emma Hardinge Britten on the production of the Lyceum Manual. He paid for this to be printed and later worked on the Spiritual Songster with his sister.
Emma Hardinge Britten
who co-produced the Lyceum ManualEmma Hardinge Britten was a famous Medium of the 19th century who spoke publically and wrote prolifically to support the growth of the Spiritualist movement. Emma received the Principles of Spiritualism from the communicating Spirit of Robert Owen. A copy of the original Principles, in the bound volume of ‘Medium and Daybreak’ 1871, is on view at the Lyceum museum library in the U.K