Unitarian Universalist Women's Heritage
Notable Universalist and Unitarian Women: B
E. A. Bacon (Dates unknown) Universalist
She grew up in the Cambridgeport (MA) Universalist church and married the Rev. Henry Bacon on Sept. 19, 1836. She shared his ministries in East Cambridge, Haverhill, Marblehead and Providence (RI). Her book, A Memoir of Rev. Henry Bacon, was published in 1857 (Boston: A. Tompkins).
Emma Eliza Bailey (Sept. 18, 1844-Nov. 23, 1920) Universalist
Born in Wilmington VT, she moved with her family as her father, who was a minister, served different congregations. After his death she and her mother joined her brother who was settled in Titusville PA. Emma began writing for the Christian Leader and later for the Star in the West. She began supply preaching and was licensed by the Universalist Missionary Board of the Miami (OH) Association. She considered herself a missionary and worked with many churches. However, Emma spent a total of over twenty years at Mansfield PA in three different settlements. Her autobiography, Happy Day, or the Confessions of a Woman Minister (New York: European Publishing Company, 1901), provides a fascinating look at the life of a woman in ministry and includes the texts of several of her sermons.
Florence Christiansen Bailey (May 30, 1925-Nov. 15, 1995) Unitarian Universalist
Born in New Jersey of Danish backgrounds, "Chris" worked in the chemistry laboratory of an oil company alter finishing high school. At the same time she attended County Junior College full time. Later she graduated from the State University of Iowa where she met and married Gerald Bailey and converted to Unitarianism. While raising six children, she served Unitarian Universalist churches in Ann Arbor MI and Montclair NJ as Director of Religious Education. When her marriage ended, she enrolled in Starr King School for the Ministry and received her Masters of Divinity in 1978. She served churches in Cleveland Heights OH and Fayetteville AR.
Harriet S. Baker (Sept. 11, 1820-?) Universalist
She was born in Norridgewock ME, far from any organized church, but was a life-long Universalist. An invalid for nearly forty years, she never married, but wrote for the Gospel Banner and New Covenant. Because there was no Sunday school nearby, she organized classes in her home and taught local children for over twenty years.
(Sara) Josephine Baker (Nov. 15, 1873-Feb. 22, 1945) Unitarian
Children's health reformer, physician, public health administrator, she was for many years a Unitarian. After beginning her medical career in private practice in New York City, she was appointed a city medical inspector working in poor African American and Irish American neighborhoods. As Assistant to the health commissioner in 1907, she helped find "Typhoid Mary." Her advocacy of breast-feeding among Italian immigrants contributed significantly to a lowering of the infant death rate and led to the establishment of the Bureau of Child Hygiene. A popular speaker, she published three books in 1920: Healthy Babies, Healthy Mothers, and Healthy Children. Later a she added The Growing Child (1923) and Child Hygiene (1925). She wrote over 200 articles for the popular press and some 50 articles for the American Journal of Public Health. Her autobiography is called Fighting for Life (1939).
Emily Greene Balch (Jan. 8, 1867-Jan. 9, 1961) raised Unitarian
She grew up in the Jamaica Plain Unitarian Church in Boston MA. but later in life joined the Quakers. The first recipient of the Bryn Mawr European Fellowship, she went to the Sorbonne to study political economy and published the results of her research. Public Assistance of the Poor in France (1893).. After further study and travel, she became an economics professor at Wellesley College in 1896, teaching about socialism, Marxism, immigration, consumption, and the economic roles of women. She also served on numerous public commissions, including the first one on minimum wage. Her major work, Our Slavic Fellow Citizens (1902), includes economic analysis and first-hand viewpoints of immigrants and counters nativist racial assumptions common at that time. She was a pacifist, became active in international peace work, and helped found the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), while also writing for The Nation (1917-18). Because of her radical activism, Wellesley chose not to renew her contract in 1919, so she became a full-time worker for WILPF. Based on a special mission to Haiti, she wrote and edited Occupied Haiti (1927), recommending removal of troops and restoration of self-government. In 1939, she circulated Refugees as Assets, an appeal to the United States to welcome refugees from Nazi Germany. In 1946, she won the Nobel Peace Prize. She was cited for peace work by the American Unitarian Association in 1955, and affirmed her connection to Unitarianism in her acceptance speech. One of her poems, "Letter to the Chinese People"(1955), was translated and circulated in China; it affirmed that ideological differences need not be a barrier to love. Her papers are in the Swarthmore College Peace Collection. A complete list of her prolific writings is in Beyond Nationalism: The Social Thought of Emily Greene Balch. by Mercedes. M. Randall (1972).
Maria Louise Baldwin (Sept. 13, 1856-Jan. 9, 1922) Unitarian
Educator, civic leader, and the first African American woman principal and master in Massachusetts, Maria was known for the dedicated and disciplined manner in which she pursued her personal goals and enhanced the educational environment for children. Educated in Cambridge schools, she dedicated over four decades to the Agassiz School and was well known for innovative projects in mathematics, science, and fine arts. She moved easily in the cultural and social circles of Boston and was active in organizations such as the Twentieth Century Club, the Cantabrigia Club (Harvard), the Teachers Association, and the Church of the Disciples in Boston. She served on the council of the Robert Gould Shaw House, a Boston social settlement house for African Americans. A widely sought-alter speaker on women's suffrage, poetry, history, and historical personages, she was the first woman to deliver the annual Washington's Birthday memorial address before the Brooklyn Institute (1897). Her funeral services were conducted at the Arlington Street Church (Unitarian).
Lucy Hunt Ballou (Oct. 31. 1810-Aug. 7, 1891) Universalist
A descendent of one of the founders of Concord MA, Lucy was educated in the Milford, MA, schools and in Providence RI. She was called home to minister at the bedside of Rev. Adin Ballou, whom she married on Mar. 3, 1830. She assisted Adin in his labors as editor and author, and also cared for him on his deathbed. When she died a year later, she left $2000 to the Universal Peace Union of Philadelphia.
Anna Laetitia Aiken Barbauld (June 20, 1743-Mar. 9, 1825) British Unitarian
Writer, social activist, poet, critic, she collaborated with her brother John on publication of her poems and Miscellaneous Pieces of Prose (1774). From a family of radical dissenters, she married a Unitarian minister, Rochemont Barbauld and helped run a nonconformist boarding school. Her writings include Lessons for Children (1778); Hymns in Prose (1781); Civic Sermons to the People at Home (1792) on popular rights and religious toleration; Sins of Government (1793); selections in Evenings at Home (1792-95); A False Spring. She edited Collin's Political Works (1797); Selections from the Spectator, Tattler, Guardian and Freeholder (1804); Correspondence of Samuel Richardson (6 vols.); The British Novelists (50 vols.); The Female Speaker (1811), a selection of prose for girls. See Wendy Lamont's thesis at Emerson College. William McCarthy has republished her "Address to the Opposers of the Repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts" in The Meridian Anthology of Early Women Writers (New American Library, 1987). Excerpts from her 1824 essay `Mrs. Barbauld's Thoughts on Public Worship," are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform. 1776-1.936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
Margaret Bowers Barnard (June 22, 1860-Aug. 24, 1950) Unitarian
Her essay, "A Woman's Experience in the Ministry," published in Annual Meeting Records (Deerfield, MA: Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1942), gives an excellent description of her experience as a woman in ministry. Anna Garlin Spencer gave her ordination sermon in Chelsea MA, in 1897. There is a memorial garden dedicated to her next to the church in Rowe MA.
Sarah Merrill Barnes (June 20, 1824-Jan. 6, 1901) Universalist
Born into a Universalist family in South Andover MA, she married Alfred Barnes, a minister whose ill health forced him to resign from his parish. They lived in Rhode Island and then in Peoria IL, where Alfred reentered the active ministry and served several midwestern parishes. Sarah Barnes was a Civil War nurse, leaving Vicksburg just before the surrender. She lectured for the temperance movement, was active in the Sunday School and Home Mission, and wrote "Doctrinal Teaching." In 1875 she was licensed by the Kansas Universalist Convention after supplying her husband's pulpit in Lawrence for several months. She traveled thousands of miles as an itinerant preacher and was finally ordained in Junction City KS in 1894.
Lucy Barns (Mar. 6, 1780-Aug. 29, 1809) Universalist
The daughter of a Methodist minister, Rev. Thomas Barnes (who also became a Universalist), she left Methodism because of her belief in the doctrine of universal salvation and wrote probably the first defense of Universalism by a woman. Soon after her death, her writings were printed in a 71-page pamphlet, The Female Christian. Later her writings were collected and published as Familiar Letters and Poems Principally on Friendship and Religion (Akron OH: Aunty Brown, 1904). Excerpts from her writing are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
Margaret Barr (Mar. 19, 1897-1973) British Unitarian
This Unitarian minister was an educator, administrator, and midwife. A friend of Gandhi, she worked for 35 years in India, founding schools for children of all religions and helping to create a Unitarian church movement in the Khasi Hills. In 1971, she was made an honorary fellow of Manchester College, Oxford University, the first woman to be so honored. Just before she died, she wrote A Dream Come True. The Story of Kharang (ed. Roy Smith, London: Lindsey Press, 1973). The Davenport IA church archives contain a few of her letters in response to shipments of sweaters from the Women's Alliance. See Spencer Lavan Unitarians and India (Boston: Skinner House, 1978, p. 149ff),
Katherine Isabel Hayes Chapin Barrows (Apr. 17, 1845-Oct. 25, 1913) Unitarian
Ophthalmologist, stenographer and reformer, she was born in Irasburg VT, of Scotch Presbyterian emigrants who later moved to Derry NH. She accompanied her physician father on his rounds and graduated from Adams Academy in Deny, NH. Married at 18 to William Wilberforce Chapin, a Congregational minister, she accompanied him to a mission in India where he died a year and a half later. Returning to the U.S., she married Samuel J. Barrows, a shorthand expert who became a Unitarian minister. She pursued medical studies at the Woman's Medical College of New York Infirmary and also learned shorthand. In 1869, she accompanied Mary Safford to Europe and studied eye surgery at the University of Vienna. Rejoining her husband in Washington DC, she established a practice as Dr. Bella C. Barrows. She taught at the Howard University School of Medicine and also did stenographic work for Congressional Committees, the first woman to do so. Samuel became minister of First Parish Unitarian Church in Dorchester MA and later edited the Christian Register, with "Bella" as unofficial assistant editor. She also became interested in women's prison reform and from 1884-1904 was reporter and editor for the National Conference of Charities and Correction. In 1909 she attended the International Prison Conference in Paris .Madeleine B. Stern wrote her biography, So Much in a Lifetime: The Story of Dr. Isabel Barrows (1964).
Clara Barton (Dec. 25, 1821-Apr. 12, 1912) Universalist [revised 2010]
Although she never became a church member*, Clara was raised Universalist and claimed Universal ism as her religion. Her book, The Story of My Childhood (NY: Baker and Taylor, 1907) contains at least one reference to the formative nature of her Universalist background (pp. 45-46). Her opinions about war are included in a memorial volume, Clara Barton: Memorial Address and Funeral Tributes (Worcester MA: N.A. Pearson, 1912).( pp. 19-20.) She also wrote A Story of the Red Cross (1904). There are 35 Volumes of her diaries available in the Library of Congress, and a collection of her papers at Smith College. A recent biography by Stephen B. Oates is A Woman of Valor: Clara Barton and the Civil War( New York: The Free Press, a division of Macmillan Inc, 1994). Excerpts from one of her speeches are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, I 776-1736 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
[*She may have been a member of what is now the Universalist National Memorial Church, Washington DC.]
Anna Maria Bates (Feb. 2, 1834-1870) Universalist
A poet and writer who died at the age of 36.
Mrs. Samuel C. Beane (Dates unknown) Unitarian
She wrote "Jesus," a pamphlet published by the Post Office Mission.
Clara Bancroft Beatley (Dates unknown) Unitarian
She was a member of the American Unitarian Association Committee on Religion and the Home. Also a poet, she wrote a book of poems and essays entitled Joys Beyond Joy (Boston: James H. West Co., 1902).
Margret Jonsdottir Benedictsson (1866-1956) Canadian Icelandic Unitarian
A strong feminist, she edited and published a newspaper, Freva (named after the Icelandic community in Winnipeg. A proponent of women's suffrage and of women's equality, she was much ahead of her time. Born in Iceland, she emigrated to North Dakota, working as a domestic servant to support herself and walking six miles to attend classes at Bathgate College to learn English. She joined the Ethical Culture Society and was among those who eventually left to form the Winnipeg Unitarian Church. In 1892, she married Sigfus Benedictsson, an outspoken critic of outmoded institutions and staunch supporter of women's rights. Together they founded Freya, a widely circulated women's paper, which Margret kept going for 20 years, even after the marriage broke up in 1905. A popular speaker and organizer, she founded the First Icelandic Woman Suffrage Association in 1908.
Henrietta Adelaide Burrington Bingham (Dec. 29, 1841-Feb. 18, 1877) Universalist
She attended school and later taught in South Woodstock VT. At 21 she went to Boston and worked at the Universalist Publishing House. She later taught at St. Lawrence University, where she met theology student Henry L. Bingham, who died 5 months after their marriage. She wrote poetry and a popular book, Mignonette. From 1859 to 1864 she was editor of the Ladies' Repository.
Alice Stone Blackwell (Sept. 14, 1857-Mar. 15, 1950) Unitarian (revised 2010 by HZ)
She was born in Orange NJ, she returned to Boston with her parents, Henry Browne Blackwell and Lucy Stone in 1870. Daughter of women's suffrage leader, Alice carried forth her mother's work. Her biography of her mother, Lucy Stone: Pioneer Woman Suffragist (Norwood MA: Plimpton Press, 1930), provides wonderful insight into the lives of her mother and her mother's friends and sister suffragists.
Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell (May 20, 1825-Nov. 5, 1921) Unitarian
Although originally ordained as a Congregationalist, she left that denomination and later became fellowshipped as a Unitarian minister. She did not serve a Unitarian parish until she helped found the church at Elizabeth NJ, but she did most of her writing and public speaking as a Unitarian. She wrote and published extensively, yet none of her works is currently in print. Studies in General Science (New York: G. P. Putnam and Son, 1869) contains her reflections on scientific principles in relation to metaphysics. In The Physical Basis of immortality (Putnam, 1876), she attempts to reconcile the need for personal identity with the then-new theories of scientific dynamism, to discover whether there is a Rational Mind behind creation, and what the implications of these theories are for social justice. Her search for truth proceeds in an intelligent and sensitive manner that is well worthy of reflection today. Some of her thoughts are particularly relevant to the current UU principle of "the interdependent web." Other important books are The Sexes Throughout Nature (1869); The Philosophy of Individuality; or, The One and the Many (Putnam, 1893); Sea Drift; or Tribute to the Ocean (1902), a book of poetry. She was the sister-in-law of Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell (Feb. 3, 1821-May 31, 1910) British/US Unitarian
Born in England, she emigrated at age 11 to the US with her family. In Cincinnati at age 18, she shocked her Episcopal parents by joining William Henry Channing's Unitarian Church. The first woman physician with a medical degree in modern times, Elizabeth also made time for writing. Her Laws of Life, with Special Reference to the Physical Education of Girls (1852) and Counsel to Parents on the Moral Education of Their Children (Brentano's Literary Emporium, NY, 1880) are among the earliest self-help books for mothers. She also wrote Christian Socialism (pamphlet, 1882), The Human Element in Sex (1884), and The Religion of Health. In 1869 she returned to Britain, lived for a time with Mary Carpenter and joined her in campaigns for sexual equality, hygiene, and public morality. She also served as chair of gynecology in the New Hospital and London School of Medicine for Women. During her last years, she attended the Unitarian Church in Hastings. By her request, she was buried in Scotland. Some of her papers and letters are included with the Blackwell family papers at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe and in the Library of Congress.
Emily Blackwell (1826-1910) Unitarian
Sister of Elizabeth, Emily also became a doctor and they worked together to establish clinics offering good medical care to women. Painfully shy, she was nevertheless an excellent student and studied nature avidly. In 1848 she began reading under Dr .John Davis at the Medical College of Cincinnati. She taught school to earn money for her education. After being turned down by eleven medical schools, she was finally accepted by Rush Medical College, but was not allowed to return for a second year. Finally Western Reserve University in Cleveland accepted her and she graduated with honors in 1854. After additional study in England, Emily joined her sister, Elizabeth, at the dispensary she had started. As the clinic grew into a college and a hospital and Elizabeth returned to England, Emily remained in charge. She died in York Cliffs ME, and her ashes were buried at Chilmark MA.
Harriet M. Skinner Blanchard (May 9, 1818-?) Universalist
During the Civil War she was a hospital worker in Washington DC. She served on the Board of Managers for the Newsboys Home and for the Association for the Relief of Colored Women and Children. In 1870, she organized the Women's Christian Association in the District of Columbia.
Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch (Jan. 20, 1856-Nov. 20, 1940) Unitarian
The famous daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she devoted her entire life to her mother's passion--getting women the vote. She learned a great deal from her mother and in 1881 helped her and Susan B. Anthony in writing History of Woman Suffrage. In 1882 in the Unitarian Chapel in London, she married William Blatch, an English businessman, and the two spent many years in England, where she served on the executive committees of the Women's Local Government Society and the Fabian Society. She was greatly impressed by the work of the Women's Franchise League, run by Mrs. Jacob Bright and Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst. In 1907 in the United States, Harriot Blatch formed a new suffragist group, the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women, which, in 1910, became the Women's Political Union and, in 1917, merged with the Congressional Union founded by Alice Paul and Lucy Burns. In 1916, Harriot voted for president by establishing residency in Kansas. During the war, she was head of the Food Administration's Speakers Bureau, and director of the Woman's Land Army, organized to provide needed farm labor. She wrote Mobilizing Woman-Power (1918) and A Woman's Point of View (1920), both about the war: the latter concerns how women can play a role in avoiding another conflict. She aligned herself with the National Woman's Party and for several years served as chair of its congressional committee. She worked for the League of Nations and world peace. With her brother Theodore, she edited Elizabeth Cady Stanton, As Revealed in Her Letters, Diary and Reminiscences (1922).
Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (Apr. 8, 1827-1891) British Unitarian
One of the first active British feminist organizers, she came from a Unitarian family and was given her own income and freedom to travel unchaperoned .In 1852 she opened Portman School in Paddington, a unconventional nondenominational school for mixed social classes, which she ran for ten years with Elizabeth Whitehead. She wrote Women and Work (1857). With Bessie Parkes in 1858, she founded The Englishwoman's Journal, which became a major forum for the discussion of women's issues. They were known as the "Ladies of Langham Place," as this location became a focal point for the development of the feminist movement in Britain. She served as a model for George Eliot's Romola (1863). Excerpts from her writing are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
Edna Madison McDonald Bonser (Aug 1, 1875-1949) Universalist
The first woman minister in Illinois, she served the Urbana Universalist Church from 1898-1902 with great personal vigor and an eye for organization that increased membership and improved the quality of worship and community life. She preached a personal salvation that advocated good conduct as meritorious for personal reasons rather than scriptural justification. From 1931-1944 she was associated with the Riverside Church in New York City in an educational capacity and preached many times when the Rev. Fosdick was away. Sophia Lyon Fahs was at Riverside during Edna's tenure, and they worked together developing religious education materials. A writer and poet, her books include How the Early Hebrews Lived and Learned (1924), The Golden Rule (1925), Child Life and Religious Growth (1926), and Little Boy of Nazareth (1929).
Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta (Nov. 11, 1815-Mar. 23, 1891) Unitarian connections
This author, teacher and literary hostess was born in Bennington VT. She graduated from the Albany NY Female Academy in 1834 with highest honors. She lived in Shelter Island NY, Providence RI, Philadelphia PA, New York NY, and Washington DC, teaching and writing wherever she went. After a tour of Europe, she settled in New York and married Vincenzo Botta who taught Italian language and literature. She was close friends with Julia Ward Howe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and others. She admired William Ellery Channing, but her approach to religion was to attend all churches and hear all views. She is chiefly remembered for her literary salons which attracted all the important figures of the day.
Georgene E. Bowen (Feb. 13, 1898-1984) Universalist
Born in S. Charlestown NH, she moved to Bellows Falls VT in 1902 where she grew up. She attended Northeastern Conservatory of Music in Boston and worked for the National League of Girls Clubs. In 1925 the University of Chicago sent her to Tokyo to head Blackmer Home for underprivileged girls. She returned to the states in 1936. She served as the assistant head of Hull House and then became head of a settlement house in New York City. In 1946 she went to Philadelphia to organize clubs for the aged. In 1963 she returned to Boston, having established 148 clubs, three vacation houses and several classes in local universities for older people. She was invited to Japan to instruct workers, resulting in the establishment of 6,000 older people's clubs.
Ada Choate Burpee Bowles (Aug. 2, 1836-April 14, 1928) Universalist
Active in women's suffrage, abolition, temperance, and home economics, she was a friend of many of the leading reformers of the day. Married to a Universalist minister, she studied with him and was ordained in 1869. She served congregations in Marlborough MA, Highstown and Trenton NJ, Easton PA, northern California, Pomona CA, Valley Falls RI, and North Carolina. While in California, she edited a column on women's suffrage for the San Francisco Transcript and was president of the San Francisco Woman's Suffrage Society. She was the first woman minister on the Massachusetts Universalist Convention Board. She helped to organize the National and International Councils of Women and spoke at the World's Congress of Representative Women.
Amy Morris Bradley (Sept. 12, 1823-Jan. 15, 1904) Unitarian
Educator and Civil War nurse and administrator, after the war she worked with poor white children of the South, under the auspices of the American Unitarian Association, feeling they had been degraded by slavery. She established and directed the Hemenway School, the Pioneer School, and a teacher-training institute, the Tileston School, in Wilmington NC. She edited and contributed to the weekly Soldiers Journal. Excerpts from her letters and articles are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
Lydia Moss Bradley (1816-1908) Unitarian and Universalist
Daughter of Revolutionary Army Capt. Zealy Moss, she was called "Peoria's Most Public Spirited Woman" for her philanthropic contributions to the community. She and her husband joined and helped support the Unitarian church in Peoria IL, when it was founded in the 1850s. When it disbanded, they joined the Universalist church. After her husband's death, Lydia relieved the church of its $30,000 debt, in return for which it was named the Bradley Memorial Church. She donated 100 acres of the Bradley farm to the town for the Laura Bradley Park, named in honor of her daughter: donated a hospital site; built a Home for Aged Women; and founded the Bradley Polytechnic Institute, now Bradley University, in memory of her husband.
Alice Goidmark Brandeis (1866-Oct. 11, 1945) Unitarian [revised 2010 by HZ]
She was born in 1866 in Brooklyn to Viennese immigrants Dr. Joseph and Regina Goldmark. She attended Sunday School at the Unitarian Church in Brooklyn. She married attorney Louis D. Brandeis in March 1891. The couple had two daughters, Susan (b. 1893), and Elizabeth (b. 1896). The Brandeises moved to Boston and, when Louis was appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1916, to Washington DC. Alice Goldmark Brandeis was outspoken on behalf of woman suffrage, industrial reform, organized labor, the legal rights of children, and the fledgling American Zionist movement. She assisted in the campaign on behalf of anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and embraced the third-party presidential campaign of Robert La Follette (1924). During World War II, Alice associated herself with militant critics of American policy toward European Jewry and Palestine. She died on October 11, 1945.
Fredrika Bremer (Aug. 7, 1801-1865) Swedish Unitarian
Novelist and social activist, she was brought up in a repressive household in Sweden, toured Europe in1820-21, and became involved in charity work. In 1828, she published Sketches of Everyday Life anonymously to raise funds. Active in reform and education, she worked to establish an age of majority for unmarried girls, nursed cholera victims, founded an orphanage, and established a school to train teachers. She visited New England in the 1850s and became radicalized through her contacts with Unitarians and others. She returned to Sweden to become a leader of their political feminist movement. In 1854 during the Crimean War, she appealed to women internationally to work for peace. Her novels include The Neighbors (1837); The House (1843), which won the Swedish Academy gold medal in 1844; and Hertha, a feminist novel which caused an uproar. In addition to her fiction, she wrote Homes of the New World. Four volumes of her letters were published in 1914.
Alice Williams Brotherton (1848-1930)
She was an American poet and author of children's stories
Sarah Sumner Broughton (Oct. 29, 1802-Dec. 20, 1853) Universalist
Born in Vermont, she moved with her family to New York State at the age of 12. Soon thereafter, her father died, and by the time she was 15 she was supporting herself by teaching. In 1825, she married S. H. Broughton, an alcoholic. In an attempt to cure him, she moved the family to Michigan and spent her last years with her son Henry, a successful prospector in the Lake Superior area. Though raised Presbyterian, she became Universalist through reading the Bible. She contributed poetry to Magazine and Advocate, Universalist Union, Ladies' Repository, Rose of Sharon, and other Universalist publications.
Lucinda White Brown (1822-after 1911) Universalist
A teacher and a writer, some of "Aunty" Browns writings are published in her book, Aunty Brown in the New Shoe (Akron OH, n.d.) She taught at Buchtel College in Akron OH, after teaching in several other places. She was well known in her day for spreading the comforting and hopeful ideals of Universalism to those who had been living in fear of the torment of hell. She was married to a Universalist minister, the Rev. John S. Brown, who died in 1855. [Aunty Brown's Story: A Token Of Love And Friendship (1908) is available in paperback, October 2009 and is also on line at Andover-Harvard Theological Library, from the collection of the Universalist Historical Society.]
Marjorie Moore Brown (1884-1987) Unitarian Universalist
Her book, Lady in Boomtown (American West, 1968; University of Nevada, 1991) about the life of a pioneer in a Nevada silver-mining town, draws on her 20 years' experience in Tonopah NV, with her husband and children. She returned to live in San Francisco, where she was active in the Unitarian Church, on the Board of Trustees, and chair of their centennial celebration. Her creative interests turned toward poetry- and play-reading, which she presented to west coast audiences for over forty years.
Olympia Brown (Jan. 5, 1835-Oct. 23, 1926) Universalist
She has been acclaimed as the first woman ordained by full denominational authority (1863), although that honor properly belongs to Lydia Ann Jenkins, who was officially sanctioned by Universalists in 1858. Determined to become a Universalist minister, Olympia prevailed upon St. Lawrence University's theological school to admit her as its first woman in 1861, and then persisted, against opposition, in seeking ordination and a career as a parish minister. A meeting with Susan B. Anthony persuaded Olympia to work for women's suffrage while she was still in her first ministry in Weymouth Landing. She was both a skilled organizer and forceful speaker. For many years she combined her duties as a minister, wife and mother of two children and suffrage advocate. At the age of 52, she decided to leave full time parish ministry to work for getting women the vote. After the 19th Amendment was passed she was one of the few early pioneers who was still alive to cast her vote. The last years of her life were devoted to working for world peace and she became a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She wrote about her life as a reformer in Acquaintances, Old and New Among Reformers (1911). "Olympia Brown: An Autobiography" and "Olympia Brown: Two Sermons: `But to Us There Is One God" and `Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone'" were published in 1963 in the Journal of the Universalist Historical Society. Excerpts from speeches and articles were reprinted in Suffrage and Religious Principle: Speeches and Writings of Olympia Brown, edited by Dana Greene (Metuchen NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1983). Charlotte Cote has written a biography of her, Olympia Brown: The Battle for Equality (Mother Courage Press, Racine WI, 1988). Excerpts from an article and a sermon are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform. 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).
Edna Bruner (May 14, 1906-Aug. 3. 1997) Universalist
Edna grew up in southern Ontario where her parents were active in the Olinda church. She earned a BA in 1929 and a BD in 1931 from St. Lawrence University. She was ordained on June 8, 1930, and served the Universalist Church of Waterloo IA. Later she became a field worker for the Universalist Church of America, visiting various congregations with books and supplies for religious education. In 1945 she became minister of the Canton NY church and in 1950 again took to field work for the MA and CT Universalist Conventions. She was Educational Consultant for the Department of Education of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1961 to 1968. From 1968 to 1972 she served the church in Kennebunk ME, and then retired to Ferry Beach and later to Boston.
Elizabeth Davidson Buchtel (Aug. 25, 1821-?) Universalist
A member of the Universalist Church in Akron, she participated actively in the social and philanthropic work of the church. With her husband, the Hon. John R. Buchtel, she was co- founder of Buchtel College in Akron OH. Although the college admitted both men and women, there were no women professors. The Buchtels offered to endow a professorship for women, provided the women of the area would raise equal funding for a second professorship. The money was successfully raised by the Women's Centenary Association. In his wife's honor, John Buchtel instituted the Elizabeth Buchtel Professorship in English Literature.
Florence Buck (July 19, 1860-Oct. 12, 1925) Unitarian
Her ordination took place during the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions, with eight women ministers in attendance and five participating in the service. She worked for the Unitarian Religious Education Department for many years and edited the New Beacon Course, which included her popular Story of Jesus (1925). She also compiled the Beacon Hymnal (1919). Many of her writings were published in pamphlet form, such as "Religious Education for Democracy" (Boston: American Unitarian Association, 1919) and The Divineness of Common Things (Cleveland: The Branch Alliance, n.d.) Her partner for many years was Marion Murdoch.
Levisa Barnes Buck (Dates unknown) Universalist
A sister of Lucy Barnes, Levisa wrote Memoir of the Rev. Thomas Barnes (S. H. Colesworthy, publisher, Portland ME, 1856) as a tribute to their father. She also versified the books of Job and Psalms in the belief that they would be read by those who would not read the originals. She traveled considerable distances on horseback in order to attend meetings of various groups and congregations. [Rev. Thomas Barnes a prominent early Maine Universalist, and founded the Universalist Church in Norway, Maine, in 1799. (HZ)]
Constance Hoey Burgess (Oct. 10, 1906-Aug. 27, 1995) Unitarian Universalist
Although she was born in Miami Beach, FL, Connie was educated in Massachusetts at Quincy High School and Thayer Academy, where she graduated at 16. Her early employment was with John Hancock Insurance. In the 1940s-50s she became deeply involved with the League of Women Voters and she served as its Legislative Chair for Massachusetts from 1952 to 1954. In 1960 she became the Executive Director of the Unitarian Women's Alliance and in that capacity was instrumental in guiding the merger with the Universalist Women's Association into the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation. She served as the Executive Director of the Federation. She participated in various demonstrations and marches such as the civil rights march to Selma and the March for Peace. She was a member of John Fitzgerald Kennedys Commission on Equal Rights for Women and a member of the federally-appointed Commission on Aging. In 1969 she became president of the Council of National Organizations which included such agencies as the American Red Cross, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. She was given the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism in 1972. She received an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1973.
Celia C. Burr Burleigh (Sept. 18, 1826-July 25, 1875) Unitarian
Born in Cazenovia NY, she was a teacher and author and frequent contributor to magazines and to The Christian Register. In 1865 she married William Burleigh (the second marriage for them both) and moved to Brooklyn CT. After his death, she determined to carry out his wish that she be ordained to the ministry. She was the first woman ordained as a Unitarian minister on Oct. 5, 1871. She served the Brooklyn CT church, the Danville and Syracuse NY parishes and worked in the Unitarian church of Sioux City IA until her untimely death at age 48.
Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) British Unitarian
She was one of the "Ladies of Llangollen", a retreat estate that was visited by writers and dignitaries, along with Sarah Ponsonby.