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Kirkland, John Thornton (1770-1840)

Biographical Introduction

John Thornton Kirkland was a son of the Rev. Samuel Kirkland, the well-known missionary among the Indians, and of Jerusha, his wife, whose maiden name was Bingham, and who was a niece of the first President Wheelock. He was born, with a twin brother, whose name was George Whitefield, at Herkimer, N.Y.,…

John Thornton Kirkland President from 1810-1828

Balch, Emily Greene (1867-1961)

Biographical Introduction

Emily Greene Balch, a member of the first generation of American women to attend college in significant numbers, had three ground-breaking careers: social reform, the teaching of economics at Wellesley College, and international political activity.

Of Old New England stock, she would devote her life’s work to the coming of “an age in which the unlikeness of other races will be conceived as much of an asset as the unlikeness of wind and string instruments in a symphony.”…

Balch

Ames, Blanche Ames (1878-1969)

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts to a prominent family, Blanche Ames was one of six children. Her father, who had been a general in the Civil War and a U.S. Senator and governor of Mississippi, and her mother took an active role in their children’s education.…

Blanche Ames Ames

Willis, Annie Bizzell Jordan (1893-1977)

Annie Bizzell Jordan Willis was born on May 30, 1893 in Louisburg, North Carolina. Her father, Joseph Fletcher Jordan, was a Presbyterian minister, but he had doubts about the doctrine of eternal punishment. When Annie was seven years old, he left the Presbyterian ministry; two years later, he found a home in Universalism and became one of the first African American Universalist ministers.…

Whittemore, Thomas (1800-1861)

A man with a remarkably varied career as minister, publisher, musician, politician and bank president, Whittemore was born the fourth of ten children on January 1, 1800 in Boston. When he was five the family moved to Charlestown. His father died when he was fourteen, and the boy was apprenticed to a leather maker.…

Washburn, Israel Jr. (1813-1883)

Israel Washburn, Jr. was one of seven brothers from Livermore, Maine who forged distinguished careers, especially in public service. Israel Washburn, Sr. and Martha Benjamin Washburn had eleven children altogether, with three sisters and one brother who died in childhood. Israel, Jr.,…

Thayer, Thomas Baldwin (1812-1886)

The leading Universalist theologian in the late nineteenth century, Thayer was born in Boston on September 10, 1812. He had little formal education, and began preaching Universalism in 1831. From 1833 to 1845 he was minister at the First Universalist Society in Lowell, Massachusetts.…

Stacy, Nathaniel (1778-1868)

The Universalist preacher who was called “the Ballou of New York and Pennsylvania,” was born in New Salem, Massachusetts on December 2, 1778, the son of Rufus and Anna (Day). At fourteen he became an apprentice to a blacksmith, but after a long illness, he decided that he was not fit for a life of manual labor.…

Spear, Charles (1801-1863)

An important Universalist leader in the movement to reform prisons, Spear was born in Boston, and was dedicated in the Universalist church by John Murray, for whom his younger brother was named. Charles’s career began as a printer, a skill he would put to good use as a reformer.…

Soule, Caroline Augusta White (1824-1903)

Known as the first Universalist missionary, Caroline Augusta White was born in Albany, New York on September 3, 1824. She was educated at the Albany Female Academy, and the year after graduation, she took charge of the women’s department at the Universalist-founded Clinton Liberal Institute.…