Maynard, Henrietta Sturdevant (1841–1892)
American inspirational speaker known as Nettie Colburn
before her marriage. She was born in Bolton, Connecticut, in
1841. Abraham Lincoln had a high opinion of her gift and was,
to an appreciable extent, influenced by her trance exhortations
in the issue of the antislavery proclamation. Maynard described
her meetings with the president in her book Was Abraham Lincoln
a Spiritualist (1891).
She visited Washington in spring 1862 in order to see her
brother, then in the Federal Army hospital. Lincoln’s wife had
a sitting with Maynard and was enormously impressed. The
next day she sent a carriage to bring the medium to see the
In a state of trance, the medium delivered a powerful address
relating to the forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation,
forcefully urging Lincoln ‘‘not to abort the terms of its issue and
not to delay its enforcement as a law beyond the opening of the
year; and he was assured that it was to be the crowning event
of his administration and his life,’’ even though he was being
strongly counseled by certain individuals to defer the matter.
According to reports, President Lincoln acknowledged the
pressures upon him and was deeply impressed by the medium’s
Maynard died at White Plains, New York, June 27, 1892.
Maynard, Henrietta S. Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist
Philadelphia, Pa. R. C. Hartranft, 1891. Reprint, London Psychic
Book Club, 1917.