first woman in America to be ordained and the first to officiate
at a marriage was born in a log cabin, on the family farm near
Rochester, New York. At an early age Antoinette determined to
become a minister. With money saved from teaching, she graduated
from Oberlin College and was alloweddespite being a womanto
study theology, but she was not allowed to graduate.
She then lectured on women's rights, temperance, and antislavery
issues. Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Theodore Parker invited
her to preach in their Unitarian churches.
In 1856 Antoinette Brown was ordained and installed in the Congregational
Church in South Butler, New York. Upon marrying abolitionist and
suffragist Samuel Blackwell, she became a Unitarian and helped
to found All Souls Unitarian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey,
later being elected minister emeritus.
At the World's Congress of Religion she declared, "Women
have become indispensable to the religious evolution of the human
Oberlin College awarded her the degree of Docotor of Divinity.
She died in 1921 at the age of ninety-six.