In Search of Maria B. Hayden - Sharon DeBartolo Carmack

Some day, when these matters have found their true proportion to other events, Mrs. Hayden's visit will be regarded as historical and epoch-making.

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The History of Spiritualism

Who was Maria B. Hayden?

She was revered—and disdained. Maria B. Hayden of Boston and later New York City was the first American medium to introduce the religion of Spiritualism to the U.K. in 1852–53. Through her séances in England and America, Maria’s spirit communication convinced many of the elite and upper classes, as well as scientists and the clergy, that there is life after death. In a day when women were to be deferential to men, Maria forged ahead despite her critics, managing successful careers as a spirit medium, a healing medium, a clairvoyant physician, a psychometrist, and a medical doctor.

In this definitive biography, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (CSNUi d/s) rescues Maria from the mists of Spiritualist history, not only returning her to her rightful place as an important pioneer, but also providing an engaging portrait of this remarkable woman. Carmack masterfully weaves together previously undiscovered archival, historical, and family documents with the social history of the Spiritualist movement to tell Maria’s life story.

This biography also includes accounts of more than thirty of Maria’s seances, 130 illustrations, and appendixes with reproductions of her medical articles, a handwritten spirit communication from one of Maria’s private sittings, and fully documented Trenholm and Hayden genealogies.



Author Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is a thirty-plus-year veteran Certified Genealogist' with an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing, a Diploma in Irish Studies from the National University of Ireland-Galway, a Certificate from the Spiritualists' National Union International in inspired speaking and demonstrating mediumship, and an Advanced Academic Diploma from the Spiritualists' National Union in the U.K.

She is the author of numerous books, including the essay collection Inheriting the Gordon Hips, and the guides Tell It Short: A Guide to Writing Your Famz1y History in Brief and You Can Write Your Family History.


*****Fantastic Book about a great lady

A fantastic book about Maria B Hayden, a great Pioneer for all Spiritualists. Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has gathered so much information about Maria over the years and has completed her mission to a great standard, job well done, fantastic book.

***** A book you not only read but EXPERIENCE!!!!!

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has not only written a book that you can read but has given us a book we can experience! With her exceptional skill with the written words, allows you to experience, feel, know and be enthralled in the events of Maria B. Hayden's life!!! I knew when I purchased this book that it would also be an excellent reference for mediumship, but never expected to find myself turning page after page and loving it!! Learning what it was like for Maria as a medium, a healer and then a medical doctor is incredible. In that time when women had to overcome many hurdles to be recognized, Maria overcame these obstacles with strength, conviction and her belief in Spirit! She not only overcame but she pioneered --forging the way for many!!

The author's way with words allows you to become Maria and then at other times "being the fly on the wall" as we often wish we could be!! Sharon DeBartolo Carmack has dipped this book in intrigue, mystery, historical events and pure enjoyment!! I honestly did not want this book to end!!! Magically written in a way that you get to know Maria inside and out!! Thank you Sharon Debartolo Carmack, for all your extensive research and presenting it in an exciting context, that allows us to be part of Maria's journey and how she has impacted our world!!!

***** At Last! The life of this remarkable 19th century woman comes to light!

In the process of researching an article I was writing about the life and accomplishments of the pioneering spiritualist and later early female American medical doctor and educator Maria B. Hayden, I ran across Sharon B. Carmack in cyberspace. Ms. Carmack was reportedly working on the first complete biography of this woefully neglected and iconic 19th century woman, whose life and progress in many ways represents the struggles of 19th century women for recognition, autonomy and legitimacy in a world still dominated by men. My article was only a brief patchwork of history and ideas I was able to extract from a variety of short mentions in books and online articles, and I was saddened to see what was so obviously an amazing life so largely ignored by history. I looked forward, then, with great anticipation to reading Ms.Carmack's book, which was due to be released toward the end of 2020. Well, this was certainly the book I was looking for, and it brought me more than I had hoped to find! Major props to the author for her diligent and fruitful research, and for organizing all this information into an engrossing and entertaining work that held my interest from beginning to end.

She has truly done Dr. Hayden proud, and I must offer my heartfelt thanks and congratulations for this work. Whatever your feelings about spiritualism, it was an historical phenomenon directly related to the major social upheavals happening in the Victorian age, particularly in the status of women. Dr. Hayden's journey from spiritualist pioneer on both sides of the Atlantic, to pioneering woman physician in New York City toward the end of the 19th century, should be of interest to a wide variety of feminists, sociologists, spiritualists and students of modern Western history. Highly recommended!

Featured in...

In Search of Maria B. Hayden is a featured article in the Feb issue of SNU Today, if your interested in reading more about the book grab yourself a copy of our magazine!