1801 – Samuel Gridley Howe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He founded the New England Asylum for the Blind in 1832, renamed the Perkins Institution. Howe also wrote textbooks for teaching the blind, and the principles he drew up for Massachusetts became a national model. … read more.
1805 – Harriot Kezia Hunt, a life-long Universalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Widely known as the first woman doctor, she was a pioneer in medical practice and a strong advocate of abolition, women’s rights, and public health education. She published her autobiography, Glances and … read more.
1638 – First Church and Parish in Dedham, Massachusetts, was organized on this date. This church, now Unitarian Universalist, was the focus of the Dedham Decision, a decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1820 that gave property rights to parishes rather than churches, changing … read more.
1837 – Elijah P. Lovejoy, Presbyterian minister and publisher of the Observer in Alton, Illinois, was killed while mobs destroyed his printing presses for his abolitionist writings. Although Lovejoy had trained as a Presbyterian minister, his work for human rights drew him closer to liberal … read more.
1654 – The British House of Commons, under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, began debate on liberty of conscience, which resulted in general tolerance for religious views but was overturned when Charles II was restored to the monarchy in 1660. Cromwell, although not a Unitarian, defended … read more.
1921 – Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell died at the age of 96. Born in Henrietta, New York, she was called to the Congregational church in South Butler, New York, becoming the first woman pastor in the country, although her gender prevented her ordination in that … read more.
1804 – A group of Unitarian ministers in Worcester and Middlesex counties organized the Evangelical Missionary Society to counter Jedidiah Morse’s diatribe against their growing liberalism. Its constitution said, “The great object of this society is to furnish the means of Christian knowledge and moral improvement … read more.
1794 – William Cullen Bryant, one of America’s literary greats, was born in Cummington, Massachusetts. He is remembered chiefly for his poetry, especially “Thanatopsis.” He never graduated from college but read the law in several offices and was admitted to the bar in 1815. For … read more.
1786 – Samuel Hoar died at the age of 78. He was a Unitarian religious educator and a vehement abolitionist. He graduated from Harvard College in 1802 and then studied law. Sternly opposed to any travel on Sunday, it was said that he would stop … read more.
1912 – Robert Collyer, an English mill worker turned Unitarian minister, died at 89 in New York City. As a child, he worked from six in the morning until eight at night every day. Collyer came to Philadelphia in 1850 and worked as a blacksmith. … read more.