Unitarian Universalist Women's Heritage
Notable Universalist and Unitarian Women: T - V
Augusta Louise Pierce Tabor (Mar. 29, 1833-1895) Unitarian
She was active in the First Unitarian Church of Denver. In 1857, she married Horace Tabor, who made a fortune in mining in Colorado. He later divorced Augusta to marry a younger woman, "Baby Doe" Tabor (the story is retold in an American opera "The Ballad of Baby Doe"). Augusta is believed to be the first woman involved in mining operations in the Colorado Territory. She was founder and vice-president of the Pioneer Ladies' Aid Society, an organization which offered friendship and financial assistance to women who had accompanied their men into early mining camps and were later left alone by death, desertion, or divorce. In April 1991 she was inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame, and in November of that year she was admitted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. Kansas has a monument in her honor.
Caroline Sturgis Tappan (Aug. 1819-Oct. 20. 1888) Unitarian
She was a great admirer of Margaret Fuller, whom she accompanied on visits to the Emersons in Concord MA. She and her sister, Ellen Sturgis Hooper, wrote for the Dial; Caroline used the signature "Z". She was involved socially with leading figures of both the Unitarian and Transcendentalist movements. In 1847 she married William Tappan. The couple had an estate in Lenox MA which Nathaniel Hawthorne rented while writing The House of the Seven Gables. The estate, called "Tanglewood," was later donated by Caroline's children to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is today a popular site for summer concerts. Caroline published several children's books over the years.
Clementia Taylor (Dates unknown) British Unitarian
A leading figure in the women's suffrage movement, founder of the Women's Society against American Slavery and the Society for Freedom in Italy, she was the first Woman to chair a public meeting in London (in the 1860s). See article by Alan Ruston in 1991 Transactions of the Unitarian Historical Society.
Celia Laighton Thaxter (June 29, 1835-Aug 26, 1894) Unitarian
This poet grew up on the Isles of Shoals in Maine and New Hampshire. At age 16 she married Levi Lincoln Thaxter, 15 years her senior, who was in partnership with her father in the establishment of Appledore House, a favorite summer place of New England Writers and artists, many of whom were Unitarians. They lived for a while with the Thaxter family in Watertown MA, then on Star Island, then in Newburyport, finally settling in Newtonville MA. Homesick for the islands, Celia began writing poetry. Her home on Appledore Island became a popular salon, where she met and entertained writers and artists. Her poems appeared in the Atlantic, the Independent, Scribner's, Harper's, Century, and New England Magazine. Her Writings for children appeared in St. Nicholas and Our Young Folks. With her husband's assistance, she published Poems (1872) and Among the Isles of Shoals (1873). She was one of the better known poets in America and five additional volumes of her poetry were published during her lifetime. Although she never joined a church, toward the end of her life she attended the Unitarian church in Portsmouth NH, and she had many Unitarian friends. See Rosamond Thaxter, Sandpiper. The Life and Letters of Celia Thaxter (1963).
M. Louise Thomas (Dates unknown) Universalist
Daughter of Universalist editor and Publisher, S. N. Palmer, in 1843 she married the Rev. Abel C. Thomas, publisher of Lowell Offering. They adopted a number of children of various ethnic backgrounds, five of them from the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City. Active clubwoman and organizer, she served as the second president of the Woman's Centenary Association from 1880 to 1891. She served two terms as president of Sorosis, an organization based in New York City' that led to the development of the Women's Club of America. She also helped found and served as treasurer of the National Council of Women In the 1870s she and Augusta Chapin, among others, tried to convince the General Convention of Universalists that half of the trustees should be women, since women were the voting majority in almost all parishes. In the 1860s she took up farming with great success and also printed and distributed tracts.
Maude McClennan Thomas (1885-1976) Unitarian Universalist
Daughter of the founder of the first hospital in Charleston SC for African Americans, she was the first Registered Nurse at South Carolina State College and one of the first African American nurses to enter the Public Health Nursing profession. She was an active member of Community Church in New York City. Her nursing career is described in a paper by her daughter, Maude Jenkins.
Anna E. Ticknor (1823-1896) Universalist
She was an advocate for education for women and founded the Society to Encourage Studies at Home.
Anna Churchill Moulton Tillinghast (Feb. 6. 1874-1951) Universalist
A graduate of Tufts University, she was ordained to the Universalist minisrty, in 1913 and served churches in Livermore Falls ME and Saugus MA. Her husband became a Universalist minister in 1895. She was quite active as a public speaker on behalf of women's suffrage, temperance and child labor laws and was appointed state lecturer for the Maine Women's Christian Temperance Union and lecturer for the National Missionary, Association of the Universalist Church President Coolidge appointed her the United States Commissioner of Immigration for New England (l927- 1933), the first woman to hold such a position. She also received honorary degrees from Portia Law School and Calvin Coolidge College. Her papers are at Radcliffe College.
Adeline Boardman Todd (Dec. 5, 1815-?) US/Canadian Universalist connections
Born in Newburyport MA, she married Freeman H. Todd of St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Although educated in the orthodox faith, she became interested in Universalism. She wrote stories for her own children, two of which, "Ida Wilmot" and "Ed. Lee", were published in the Round Hill series by the Universalist Publishing House of Boston.
Marion Marsh Todd (Mar., 1811-post 1914) Universalist
Daughter of Universalist preacher Abner Kneeland Marsh, she was born in Plymouth NH but moved to Michigan with her family at age 10. In 1868 she married Richard Todd, a reform-minded lawyer who urged her to join him in his work. She lectured on temperance, woman suffrage, and the need for political and economic reform. After moving to California in the 1870s, she went to Hastings Law College in San Francisco. Because of her husband's death, she left the college without a degree but was admitted to the bar in 1881 and opened her own law office in San Francisco. She was the Greenback Party's nominee for state attorney general, and, though not elected, she continued to work for the Greenback Party and helped to found the Union Labor Party. Her published works include Protective Tariff Delusions (1886), Railways of Europe and America (1893), and later novels of political and social protest, Rachel's Pitiful History (1895), Phillip: A Romance (1900), and Claudia (1902).
Ada Tonkin (Dates unknown) Canadian Unitarian
Ada Tonkin, with her husband, J.B. Tonkin, preached both in Vancouver (for 25 years) and Victoria (1926-1927), was the first woman minister to serve a Canadian Unitarian church. She was also the director of the Women's Protective Division of the Vancouver Police Force.
Laura Matilda Towne (May 3, 1825-Feb. 22, 1901) Unitarian
Influenced by William Henry Furness, her Philadelphia minister, Laura became an abolitionist. Interested in homeopathic medicine, she studied at the Women's Medical College in Philadelphia. She responded to the call to work with people who had been slaves and then abandoned by their masters on the islands off the coast of South Carolina. With the idea of making the Sea Islands a showcase for the cause of emancipation, she and her partner Ellen Murray founded the Penn Center School, one of the earliest and most enduring of the schools for those who had been released from slavery, which she describes in "Pioneer Work on the Sea Islands," in Southern Workman (July, 1901). Some of her writings appear in Letters and Diary of Laura M. Town (ed. Rupert S Holland, 1912). Excerpts from these writings are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000). Her papers are located at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and at the Houghton Library at Harvard.
Gladys Emily Townsend (Dec. 9, 1897-Mar. 19, 1997) Unitarian Universalist
Born in western NY and raised a Baptist, she attended Simmons College and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Rochester Theological Seminary. With her friend, Marguerite Poheck, she moved to Massachusetts where both were ordained as Unitarian ministers. Gladys served First Parish Church in Barre MA from 1930 to 1933. A three-month sabbatical with the Friends Service Committee convinced her to begin study at the Pennsylvania School of Social Work. She did not return to parish ministry, but moved to Philadelphia where she worked for the Children's Aid Society. During World War II she was employed as Director of Services for the Traveler's Aid Society in New York. Later she was a supervisor of field work for Columbia University School of Social Work. In the early 1960s she moved to Glen Head, Long Island, where she became active in what became the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock. She served on the Board of Trustees, the Veatch Board of Governors and many other committees.
Helen Tucker (1905-?)
She was the first president of The Voice of Women, which protests war.
Martha Turner (1873-?) Australian Unitarian
She was a Unitarian minister in Melbourne.
Helene Ulrich (June 14, 1890-Sept. 7, 1965) Universalist
Sarah Elizabeth Van De Vort (1838-1895) Universalist
This powerful and effective speaker saw herself as a religious reformer, "preaching deliverance to the toiling captives of our land." Political activist and active suffragist, she was associate editor of New Forum, superintendent of Lansing (MI) Universalist Sunday School for 15 years, and active Populist speaker and writer. In 1888 she published "Seven Financial Conspiracies," of which the Farmer's Alliance distributed 400,000 copies.
Eleanor Vendig (June 18, 1909-Dec. 7, 1995) Unitarian Universalist
In 1941 Eleanor and her husband, Malcolm, were one of eight founding couples of what is now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock NY. She was instrumental in setting goals for the small society and developing programming for it. She served on the Unitarian Universalist Association's Fellowship Committee and the UUA Council on Education. When the Veatch legacy was left to the congregation, Eleanor became the Veatch representative, working to further the goals of Unitarian Universalism by using the income to help local congregations and other organizations, as well as the UUA itself.
Mary Phinney von Olnhausen (1818-1902) Unitarian
A Civil War nurse honored with the Iron Cross for her work in the Franco-Prussian War, she was a member of First Parish in Lexington MA.
Gertrude von Petzoid (1876-c1947) British Unitarian
She is reputed to be the first recognized woman minister in England.