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House of David

Image - Benjamin Purnell

Benjamin Purnell


These are materials related to the Israelite House of David community founded by Benjamin and Mary Purnell in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The Israelite House of David, and The Israelite House of David as Reorganized by Mary Purnell (commonly called Mary's City of David), communities are active at present. Popularly known for their athletic teams (baseball and basketball), amusement parks and jazz bands, the Israelites are a fascinating and understudied part of American history. The faith that underpins the public face of the Israelites is rooted in the Bible, and mystical Christianity from Jane Leade through the six messengers of the Christian Israelite tradition beginning with Joanna Southcott in the late eighteenth century.


This collection consists of thousands of manuscripts, imprints, ephemera, visual materials, audio/video materials, and artifacts documenting the entire history of the Israelites. Printed materials can be researched through ALEX:


External Resources


Christian Goodwillie, Director and Curator of Special Collections and Archives
Telephone: (315) 859-4447


Special Collections
Burke Library
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

(Reviewed: February 20, 2014)



Visual Materials