a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
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Unitarian Universalist Composers

This series provides biographical sketches for well-known musical artists who have made contributions to the world of Unitarian Universalists. The highlighted artists span several decades from the early 1900’s to contemporary artists. The list was compiled by Ernest Sabine, a member of the First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Unitarian Universalist, who has sung in Greater Boston Choirs.

The Relevant Reverend

This series, as described and created by Herbert Vetter, “celebrates the contribution to the life in America and beyond made by fourteen ministers, preists, and rabbis,” beginning with Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Living Legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The Living Legacy of Ralph Waldo Emerson” as presented at HSL draws from a series of programs and resource materials developed for the Emerson bicentennial in 2003. The Emerson Bicentennial Committee commissioned an exhibit by Bonnie Hurd Smith that was shown at the 2003 GA, at the UUA headquarters and various congregations, including Shelter Rock. Working with Robert Richardson and Frank Schulman, Smith also produced an exhibit book, which the creators have generously allowed HSL to produce online as “The Living Legacy of RWE” as it appears here. Funding for this exhibit, as well as other events, came from the UUA, the Fund for Unitarian Universalism, the UU Sunday School Society, First & Second Church in Boston, the UU Historical Society, and the Shelter Rock congregation.

The Living Legacy of C. Conrad Wright

In 2011, Harvard Divinity School celebrated the life and legacy of eminent scholar and historian of the Unitarian Universalist tradition, Conrad Wright, with a retrospective conference. Included here are the published versions of talks given at the conference and later published in the Journal of Unitarian Universalist History.

Rabindranath Tagore: Poet of Power

This collection of images offers visual presentation of the life of Indian poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, whose writings many in the West came to see as full of inspirational, spiritual power.

Rabindranath Tagore at 150: The Heart of God

In 2011, the world celebrated the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore’s birth. In honor of this date, Herbert Vetter reissued his collection of 77 of Tagore’s poems. The following series introduces Vetter’s interest in Tagore, and includes several of the poems as edited by Vetter.

People of Power

As conceived of by Herbert Vetter, this series honors nineteen women and men “whose lives can inspire us to become who we are,” including Marian Anderson, Robert Frost, Rachel Carson, Duke Ellington, Marilyn Monroe, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln and Tim Berners-Lee.

Notable American Universalists

This is a series of 40 biographies of American Universalists, by Mark Harris. This project is made possible in part by the Alice and Frank Schulman Fund of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Spinney Mudge Grants Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn, Massachusetts.

Notable American Unitarians, 1936-1961

This collection of more than 150 illustrated biographies details the lives of more than 150 twentieth-century Unitarians who have made a significant contribution to American and international life and culture. Figures represented include May Sarton, Frank Lloyd Wright, Adlai Stevenson, Béla Bartók, Margaret Laurence, Roger Baldwin, Pete Seeger, Linus Pauling, and Albert Schweitzer, among others.

Notable American Unitarians, 1740-1900

This series of more than 100 biographies of individuals who have contributed to the development of liberal religion, as well as significant Unitarian figures from many areas of American history. Prominent among them are John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Susan B. Anthony, William Ellery Channing, Margaret Fuller, Joseph Priestley, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Charles W. Eliot.

Notable American Unitarians Addenda

This addenda to Notable American Unitarians offers 22 biographical portraits of primarily nineteenth-century American Unitarians. They are written by Mark W. Harris, Minister of the historic First Parish in Watertown, Massachusetts, and an advisor to the work of HSL.

Mahatma Gandhi: An American Portrait

In 2007, Community Church in New York City celebrated the centennial of John Haynes Holmes’ arrival in New York to serve The Church of the Messiah (the Community Church’s original name since 1839). That year-long series of special worship services, guest speakers, forums, and other events recognized Holmes’ special relationship with Mohandas Gandhi, which was one among many of his contributions as a minister, spiritual leader, and prophetic activist.

Heralds of a Liberal Faith Volumes 1-4

American Unitarian Association President Samuel Atkins Eliot’s opus, Heralds of a Liberal Faith, saw its first three volumes published in 1901 by the AUA, and a fourth volume by Beacon Press in 1951. The full collection offers over 500 biographical sketches of early Unitarian leaders. HSL presents a selection of this original biographical material online.

Great American Events / Universalists

This series of 15 American Universalists offers brief biographies of each figure, as well as a multimedia illustration of a key achievement in that person’s lifetime and in American history as well.

Cambridge Forum Speakers, 1970-1990 Volume II

During the years 1970 to 1990, Herbert Vetter directed the Cambridge Forum of the First Parish in Cambridge. Recordings of the national radio broadcast of most of these forums are in the Harvard University Audio Archive and are available from Cambridge Forum. This series offers biographies of the many eminent speakers who have addressed the Forum.

Cambridge Forum Speakers, 1970-1990 Volume I

During the years 1970 to 1990, Herbert Vetter directed the Cambridge Forum of the First Parish in Cambridge. Recordings of the national radio broadcast of most of these forums are in the Harvard University Audio Archive and are available from Cambridge Forum. This series offers biographies of the many speakers who have addressed the Forum.

Notable in UU History
William Laurence Sullivan

Sullivan, William Laurence (1872-1935)

William Sullivan was born on November 15, 1872, at East Braintree, Massachusetts, far from the lovely ... Read More
Caroline Wells Healey Dall

Dall, Caroline Wells Healey (1822-1912)

Born the oldest child of a wealthy Boston merchant on June 22, 1822, Dall had full ... Read More
Colleen Dewhurst

Colleen Dewhurst

 Often cast as sensual, earth-mother type, Colleen made her appearance in Eugene O'Neill's "Desire Under the ... Read More
Sheldon Glashow

Sheldon Glashow

Professor Sheldon Lee Glashow is an American physicist. He was a professor at Harvard University’s department ... Read More