Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 139
Laura A. Sunderlin Nourse (1836-1899)
Papers, circa 1890s, undated

Descriptive summary


Nourse, Laura A. Sunderlin (1836-1899)




circa 1890s, undated


0.21 linear feet (1 half-document box)

collection number:

MS 139


Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

Laura A. Sunderlin Nourse Papers, MS 139, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

Laura A. (Barney) Sunderlin Nourse was born 9 April 1836 in Independence, New York. She was educated in the public school in Independence and showed an early talent for writing poems, some of which were published in the Christian Ambassador (Auburn, N.Y.). She continued writing for several papers after she married.

At age nineteen she married Dr. Samuel Sunderlin of Potter County, Pennsylvania. The couple had a son and two daughters. Following financial reverses, the Sunderlins moved to Grand Mound, Clinton County, Iowa. They later moved to Maquoketa and then to Calamus, Iowa. Dr. Samuel Sunderlin died in Calamus in 1886.

While living in Grand Mound, Laura Sunderlin and her husband became interested in "the science of life and immortality." She was a medium and held seances in her home. She wrote two books: Pencilings from Immortality: A Collection of Writings from Inspiration. Also Writings Copied From Words Seen Clairvoyantly Upon the Wall... by Laura A. Sunderlin (Maquoketa, Ia.: Swigart & Sargent, printers, 1876) and The Lyric of Life: Unfolding Principles of Immortality in the Seen and Unseen Forces of Nature, New Thought in Planetary Motion and the World Life of Suns by Laura A. Sunderlin Nourse (Buffalo: Charles Wells Moulton, 1892). She also published a series of articles on the science of life in the Liberal Freepress (Wheatland, Ia.).

She married her second husband, Dr. William Nourse, of Moline, Illinois, in 1888.

Laura A. Sunderlin Nourse died in 1899.


Collection description

This collection (circa 1890s, undated) contains biographical information about Laura A. Sunderlin Nourse and drafts of her book The Lyric of Life... (Buffalo: Charles Wells Moulton, 1892). A copy of the author's edition of The Lyric of Life... is the rare books collection and may be found by searching the library catalog.


Container list







Biographical information




The Lyric of Life..., first draft

circa 1890s



The Lyric of Life..., second draft

circa 1890s