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(līsē`əm), gymnasium near ancient Athens. There Aristotle taught; hence the extension of the term lyceum to Aristotle's school of philosophers, the Peripatetics.


(līsē`əm, lī`–), 19th-century American association for popular instruction of adults by lectures, concerts, and other methods. Lyceum groups were concerned with the dissemination of information on the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs. The National American Lyceum (1831) developed from the lectures given by Josiah Holbrook at the first lyceum group in Millbury, Mass. (1826). The movement spread through groups formed in other states and was a powerful force in adult education, social reform, and political discussion. Many of the ablest leaders of the time lectured to lyceum audiences, and public interest in general education was greatly stimulated by the movement. The lyceum movement waned after the Civil War, but much of its work was later taken up by the Chautauqua movementChautauqua movement,
development in adult education somewhat similar to the lyceum movement. It derived from an institution at Chautauqua, N.Y. There, in 1873, John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller proposed to a Methodist Episcopal camp meeting that secular as well as religious
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See C. Bode, The American Lyceum (1956, repr. 1968).


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The National Spiritualist Association of Churches defines the Lyceum as “The school of a liberal and harmonious education” whose object is “the unfoldment of the faculties in their due order and degree.” The word Lyceum comes from the Greek Lukeios. The Greek Lyceum was in a grove near Athens and it was there that Aristotle and other philosophers taught. The students made their own rules and, every ten days, elected one of their number to supervise the school.

The first Spiritualist Lyceum in America was started by Andrew Jackson Davis on January 25, 1863. It was located at Dodsworth Hall, 806 Broadway, New York. Davis intended to bring lessons pertaining to Nature to children. He had a vision of children grouped together, studying lessons about the natural sciences and the laws of Nature. He saw these lessons freeing the children from fears and superstitions. Davis said that the teachings of the Lyceum would include “healthful development of the body, the exercise of the reasoning faculties, the unfolding of the social and spiritual affections by harmonious and happy methods.”

In 1864, The Progressive Lyceum was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1866, the Chelsea Lyceum was organized in Masachusetts. In 1897, at the Fifth Annual National Convention, the first National Spiritualist Lyceum Association was organized. 1898 saw Lyceums come into being in Boston, East Boston, Charlestown, and the following year at Cambridgeport, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Providence, New York, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Chicago, Springfield, and Rockford.

The Lyceums have an official publication called the Spotlight, which was started by Rev. Elsie Bunts and ran as The Spot Light from 1945 to 1947. There is also an official Spiritualist Lyceum Manual.

The first Lyceum in England began in 1866 in Nottingham. Others followed in 1870, 1871, and 1876. The British Spiritualists’ Lyceum Union formed in 1890, and published the British Lyceum Manual, The Spiritual Songster, and Spiritualism for the Young. The official periodical was The Spiritualists’ Lyceum Magazine starting in January 1890, and then the magazine The Lyceum Banner appeared in November 1890.


Spiritualist Lyceum Manual. Lily Dale: National Spiritualist Association of Churches, 1993



an ancient Greek philosophical school near Athens, founded by Aristotle and existing for about eight centuries. The school received its name from the temple of Apollo Lyceius, near which stood the gymnasium where Aristotle taught in the last years of his life (335–323 B.C.).


A building for general education by means of public discussions, lectures, concerts, etc.
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