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

Austin, William (1778-1841)

William Austin was born on March 2,1778, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, where his family fled after their house in Charlestown was burned down during the Battle of Bunker Hill. Austin was educated at Harvard College in a class of forty-nine students that included William Ellery Channing, and he studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, London, thanks to assistance from Alexander Hamilton.  …

Radcliffe, Ann (1764-1823)

Ann Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in London on July 9, 1764. During her childhood, Radcliffe was immersed in the culture of Unitarian Dissent.  She sometimes lived with her maternal uncle, Thomas Bentley, who was partners with his fellow Unitarian, Josiah Wedgwood, in producing English fine china, porcelain and related luxury accessories.…

Caron, Sandra Mitchell (1935-1993)

by Wendy Bartlett

UUA Moderator (1977-1985)

     Sandra Mitchell Caron was the first woman to be elected moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Elected in 1977, she was the third person to hold the position, following Joseph Lyman Fisher (served 1964-1977) and Marshall Edward Dimock (served 1960-1963).…

Dimock, Marshall Edward (1903-1991)

By Wendy Bartlett

Marshall E(dward) Dimock served as the first post-merger moderator from 1961-64. Though the American Unitarian Association (AUA) under Frederick May Eliot had created a moderator role in 1937, Marshall Dimock was the first person to serve as moderator for the newly formed UUA.…

Bradley, Preston (1888-1983)

By Patrick Murfin

No mid-twentieth-century Unitarian minister, save perhaps A. Powell Davies, reached more hearts and minds than did Preston Bradley (1888-1983). Yet outside of Chicago, Bradley has been largely forgotten when he is not scorned.

Years ago, when the list was being compiled for eventual inclusion in the Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography, I noted his name was omitted.…

The Humiliati: Reinventing Universalism, 1946-1954


In the mid 1940’s, a young group of seminary graduates from the Crane School of Theology at Tufts University had a vision.  Concerned that Universalism was outdated and in fatal decline, this small group of ministers at the beginning of their careers sought to “pursue an intense spiritual journey into ministry and work mightily to transform the Universalist Church from a struggling dissident Christian sect into a religion of greatness.” …

West, Robert Nelson (1929-2017)

By Tom Stites

(this article was originally published in the UU World on October 30, 2017; Harvard Square Library is grateful to Tom Stites and the UU World for permission to reprint it here.  The original article can be accessed here).…


Biographical Introduction

Rev. Dr. Thandeka received her !Xhosa name, meaning “beloved,” from Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1984. Thandeka began her career in television production, where she received an Emmy award. Today, she is a Unitarian Universalist minister, scholar, teacher, and the founder of affect theology.…

Holmes, John (1904-1962)

Biography of John Holmes
By Doris Holmes Eyges, Widow of the Poet

John Holmes, member of the First Parish in Cambridge, Harvard Square, was a poet. The record is there in the published volumes of his work. After Along the Row, based on his undergraduate days at Tufts, Holmes’ first major publication was Address to the Living, which came out in 1937 with the only blurb Robert Frost ever wrote.…

John Holmes

Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. (1922-2007)

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was born on November 11, 1922. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to parents Kurt Sr., a renowned Indianapolis architect, and Edith, who had inherited wealth from her family’s Indianapolis brewery.

In his early years, Kurt Jr. benefitted from his family’s wealth and social status.…