Unitarian Universalist Women's Heritage
Notable Universalist and Unitarian Women: E - F

Augusta Gertrude Earle (Sept. 7, 1864-Apr. 5, 1937) Universalist
Born in South Boston, she grew up in Brattleboro VT and graduated from Somerville MA high school and Bridgewater MA Normal School. After teaching for several years, she entered Tufts Divinity School, graduated and was ordained in 1897. She was minister in several New England parishes from 1925-1929, she served the General Sunday School Association as field worker and then director. In 1932 she became editor of The Helper, designed for Universalist Sunday School teachers Her article, "Beginnings Of the Universalist Church," appeared in The Christian Leader and was later printed separately.

Annis Bertha Ford Eastman (Apr. 24, 18S2-Oct 22, 1910) Unitarian
Married to a Congregational minister she was one of the first Women to be ordained in the Congregational denomination, although she had no formal training. She and her husband were joint preachers at the Rev. Thomas Beecher's Park Church in New York. After many years, Mrs. Eastman found herself questioning her religious beliefs, and in 1906, she changed the Park Church from Congregational to Unitarian without any protest from the congregation. Her Published sermons Have and Give (1896), were written for children and show her support for social protest. She never achieved national recognition but her children Max and Crystal Eastman became nationally significant in the reform movement and spread their mother's ideas through their fame.

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849) British Unitarian connections
Maria was a writer of realistic novels.

Katherine Philips Edson (Jan. 12, 1870-Nov. 5. 1933) Unitarian
She campaigned for women's suffrage and was an active social reformer. In 1912, she was elected to the Los Angeles Charter Revision Commission and was the first woman elected to the executive committee of the National Municipal League. She successfully campaigned for gubernatorial candidate, Hiram Johnson, who appointed her a Special Agent of the State Bureau of Labor Statistics. A successful arbitrator, she studied and corrected many California labor problems. In 1918, the Navy asked her to assist in the enforcement of proper labor conditions for workers on Navy contracts. In 1921, President Harding appointed her to the advisory committee of the Conference on the Limitation of Armaments. She served on the Progressive and then Republican State Central Committees and, in 1920, as Hiram Johnson's delegate to the Republican National Convention. From 1920-24, she was one of eight women members of the Republican party's National Executive Committee. In 1932-33, she served on the national board of directors of the League of Women Voters. She was considered for an appointment in President Franklin Roosevelt's administration, but by that time her health was failing.

Joanna Prince Edwards (Feb. 28, 1789-Sept. 5, 1859) Unitarian
Born in Castine ME, Joanna joined with Hannah Hill to organize what may have been the first Sunday school in the United States. Both Joanna and Hannah were members of First Parish Church in Beverly MA. Joanna married Professor Ebenezer Edwards (some sources call him Ebenezer Everett) who taught at Bowdoin College. She died in New Brunswick ME.

Abigail Adams Eliot (1892-?) Unitarian
She was a pioneer of early childhood education and founded the Eliot-Person school.

Charlotte Champe Stearns Eliot (Oct. 22, 1843-Sept. 10, 1929) Unitarian
Author and welfare worker, she is called "mother" of the Baltimore juvenile court system. Her poetry appeared in Unitarian periodicals. Easier Songs, a booklet published in 1899, was part of a collection of poems retelling the New Testament story. In 1926, her son, T.S. Eliot, arranged for publication of her drama, Savonarola. She also wrote a biography of her father-in-law, William Greenleaf Eliot (1904), Unitarian minister in St. Louis.

George Eliot {Mary Ann Evans} (1819-1880) British Unitarian connections
George Eliot is widely known as the author of many important works, among them Romola (1863) and Middlemarch (1872). Although she was not a member of a Unitarian church, she attended several (for example, Gravel Pit Chapel, Hackney; and Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead). She was closely associated with a number of Unitarian ministers. Her memorial service was conducted by Thomas Sadler of the Hampstead Unitarian congregation.

Martha May Eliot (1891-1978) Unitarian Universalist
A child psychologist, she worked with the Boston Eliot Clinic, championed public health issues and was associated with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

Maud Howe Elliott (Nov. 9, 1854-Mar. 19, 19.48) Unitarian
A daughter of Julia Ward Howe, she was a prolific writer of such novels as A Newport Aquarelle (1883), The Rosario Ranch (1884) and Atlanta in the South (1886). Married to the painter John Elliott, she also wrote art criticism, travel, and biographical pieces and was a founder of the Progressive Party, personally urging Theodore Roosevelt to run in 1912. She was co-winner of a Pulitzer Prize for The Walk with God, Life of Julia Ward Howe, while her own autobiography, Three Generations, was published in 1923. Her papers are at Brown University, where she received a Doctor of Letters Degree in 1940.

Sallie Ellis (1835-1885) Unitarian
She felt a clear and strong call to serve the Unitarian church at a very young age, but she became deaf before reaching adulthood and spent much of the remainder of her life as an invalid. Yet she never wavered in her desire to serve, and from 1877-1878 she did "missionary" work in the distribution of pamphlets and tracts on Unitarianism with the help of the Rev. Charles W. Wendte in Cincinnati. In 1881, she founded a reading room and lending library in the Cincinnati Unitarian church. She corresponded with people and circulated books all over the country. She offered a ministry by mail to many people who had no access to a Unitarian church as well as to those who had never before heard of Unitarianism. In her four and a half years of work she wrote, loaned books, and sent pamphlets to several thousand people. As word of her work spread, others wrote to her who wanted to do the same kind of work. She is known as the pioneer of the Post Office Mission which eventually evolved into what is now the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Biographical information may be found in the booklet, Miss Ellis' Mission, by Mary P. Wells Smith, abridged by Annie E. Howard, and published by the Central Post Office Mission Committee.

Ellen Tucker Emerson (Feb. 24, 1839-Jan. 14, 1909) Unitarian
Daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson, two volumes of her letters have been published (Edith W. Gregg, ed., Kent State University, 1982) which describe in detail life in the Emerson household and in Concord. She also detailed her experiences in the schools she attended in Lenox and Cambridge, and provided a fascinating picture of everyday occurences, social gatherings, Civil War activities, accidents, births, deaths, fires, etc. Ellen was a lifelong member of Concord's First Parish Church and devoted herself to the care of her parents.

Lidian Jackson Emerson (Sept. 20, 1802-Nov. 13, 1892) Unitarian
Born and raised in Plymouth MA, Lidian married Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1834. She was active in the Concord MA Unitarian church. Also an animal rights activist and a staunch abolitionist, she invited the Grimke sisters to lecture in Concord. As a result Ralph Waldo Emerson gave an anti-slavery lecture two months later.

Mary Moody Emerson (Aug. 25, 1774-May 1, 1863) Unitarian
Ralph Waldo Emerson's aunt, she left 1000 pages of diaries spanning 60 years of life. Many of the ideas her famous nephew later popularized are found first in her unpublished writings. Her writings in the Monthly Anthology (1804-5), under the pen name Constance, are part of the intellectual tradition of liberal Pietism. The Selected Letters of Mary Moody Emerson, edited by Nancy Simmons, was published by the University of George Press in 1994. An important resource is Phyllis Cole's Mary Moody Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism: A Family History (NY: Oxford University Press, 1998).

Mabel I. Emerson (Dates unknown) Universalist
She wrote "Joy to the World," a Universalist pamphlet.

Mary Ann Evans (See George Eliot)

Sophia Lyon Fahs (Aug. 2, 1876-Apr. 17, 1978) Unitarian Universalist
She wrote 40 books, many of them for children or about religious education. From 1937 to 1951 she served as editor of Children's Materials for the American Unitarian Association. Although she never joined a Unitarian church, in 1959 she was ordained a Unitarian minister by Cedar Lane Unitarian Church in Bethesda MD and gave her own ordination sermon. She received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from St. Lawrence University and a Doctor of Divinity from Meadville/Lombard Theological School. Among her most popular books for children are Jesus, the Carpenter's Son, The Church Across the Street, Beginnings of Earth and Sky', Beginnings of Life and Death, and From Long Ago and Mans' Lands. About religious education, some of her best are Today's Children and Yesterday's Heritage: A Philosophy of Creative Religious Development (Beacon Press, Boston, 1952) and Worshipping Together With Questioning Minds (Beacon Press, Boston, 1965.) Edith Hunter wrote an excellent biography, Sophia Lyon Fahs (Beacon Press, Boston, 1966). Most of her books are available from the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Fannie Merritt Farmer (Mar. 23, 1857-Jan. 15, 1915) Unitarian
This author of cookbooks, cooking school teacher, and popular lecturer was the first to write recipes with exact measurements. Her Boston Cooking School Cook Book sold 4 million copies, although the publisher thought it so risky that Fannie had to pay the publishing costs. In 1902, she opened her own Miss Farmer's School of Cookery in Boston. She considered Food and Cookerv for the Sick and Convalescent (1904) her most important work. Dr. Elliot Joslin, pioneer in diabetes, credited her with giving him the stimulus that motivated his research. She gave courses on invalid and dietetic cooking at various New England hospitals, trained hospital dieticians, and lectured at Harvard Medical School. She grew up in Medford MA where she attended the Unitarian church.

Eliza Ware Rotch Farrar (July 12, 1791-Apr. 22, 1870) Unitarian
This "New Light" Quaker writer became Unitarian after being disowned by her Meeting in New Bedford. Wife of a Harvard professor, she became friends with Margaret Fuller, Catharine Sedgwick, Harriet Martineau, and Eliza Follen. She wrote children's books, such as The Children's Robinson Crusoe (1830), Lafayette (1831), and The Youth's Letter-Writer (1834). John Howard (1833), life story of the English prison reformer, appeared in Rev. Henry Ware's series of Sabbath reading for youth. As an active anti-slavery advocate, she wrote Congo in Search of His Master (1854). Her most important book, The Young Lady's Friend (1836), advised a good education and intellectual effort for women, and was thus a pioneer among etiquette books. She also wrote a remembrance of her early life, Recollections of Seventy Years (1865).

Marian Wildman Fenner (1876-1956) Unitarian
Author and Sunday School teacher, she won a national award from Century Magazine for her poem, "A Hill Prayer" soon after her graduation from the College for Women at Western Reserve University in 1898. A Sunday school teacher at the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland for many years, she developed a two-year curriculum of nature lessons. She gave a talk on "Birds and Windows" at the first Lake Erie Conference for young Unitarians at Vermilion OH in 1925. She wrote plays and pageants for elementary-age children in church school; one is printed in Plays and Pageants for the Church School (Beacon Press). She also wrote several books for children, including Loyalty Island, Theodore and Theodora, Berry's Beautiful Nights, and What Robin Did Then. Out of the Everywhere is an historic genealogy of a family from its East coast origins to the Western Reserve of Ohio (available at the Western Reserve Historical Society).

Ann Boutwell Fields (1928-July 3, 1996) Unitarian Universalist
Ann was born in Malden MA. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College and earned a masters' degree in psychology from Wellesley College. She became the first minister of religious education for the Unitarian Universalist Association. She ministered to the Medfield, Concord, Arlington and Belmont MA churches for over 30 years and was a consultant for many others. In 1982 she became the Director of Children's Programs for the UUA. She wrote many materials for use in religious education programs.

Annie Adams Fields (June 6, 1834-Jan. 5. 1915) Unitarian
Author, literary hostess, and social welfare worker, she married the editor and publisher of the Atlantic, James T. Fields, and befriended most of the famous writers and artists of her day. At their home on Charles Street she hosted the closest thing to a "salon" in America and was well known for her critical judgment and her social triumphs. Her early writings include Ode (1863). an anonymous novel Asphodel (1866), and a book of poems, The Children of Lebanon (1872), inspired by the Shakers. After her husband's death in 1881, she lived with Sarah Orne Jewett and published three volumes of poetry and various works of reminiscence of the literary figures she knew. One of the founders of Associated Charities of Boston, she wrote How to Help the Poor (1883), a handbook for charity workers that sold 22,000 copies in two years. Her unpublished diary is at the Massachusetts Historical Society, and many of her letters are at the Huntington Library in California.

Emily Fifield (1840-1913) Unitarian
Recording secretary for the Alliance of Unitarian Women from 1887-1913, she led in spreading Unitarianism beyond New England. She traveled in the West and Canada, visiting established congregations and exploring the possibility of founding new ones. She wrote History of the Organized Work of Unitarian Women (completed by her daughter, Mary Fifield King), the first published history of the Alliance.

Abigail Powers Fillmore (Mar. 17, 1798-Mar. 30, 1853) Unitarian
Wife of the 13th president, she was born in Stillwater NY, the daughter of a Baptist preacher. By teaching school, she supported her husband while he studied law. She was a great lover of books, collected a large library, and made her home a popular gathering place for the literati of Buffalo NY. The White House Library was established by Congress at her request.

Emily Frances Fletcher (Jan. 17, 1845-Apr. 13, 1923) Unitarian
Daughter of Sherman Dewy Fletcher and Emily Augusta Fletcher, Emily Frances was born in Westford MA and graduated from Westford Academy. Her early interest in birds and plants led to a lifetime collection of plant specimens and birds that she mounted herself. She contributed to Flora of Middlesex County, published in 1888, and her work was also published in Rhodora, the journal of the New England Botanical Club. Excited by the discovery of plants in the imported wool waste used by local farmers as fertilizer, Emily Fletcher cultivated and identified many plants from around the world. Her botanical collection of some 630 specimens was added to the Gray Herbarium at Harvard at her death. She was an active member of First Parish of Westford, where she taught in the church school, sang in the choir, and took part in various church organizations.

Eliza Flower (1803-1846 British Unitarian
Eliza was a composer and the sister of Sarah Flower Adams.

Helen Fogg (July. 1903-Apr. 18, 1984) Unitarian Universalist
A direct descendent of the first minister of First Parish Church in Norwell MA, she attended private schools and graduated from Smith College. She volunteered as a teacher in Sir Wilfred Grenfell `s mission in Labrador. Later she taught at Shady Hill School for Girls. During World War II she volunteered with the Red Cross as morale officer for troops on Pacific islands. After the war Helen volunteered with the Unitarian Service Committee in 1947 and served as Director of Overseas Programs for 20 years. In that capacity she worked in France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Jamaica, South Korea, and Cambodia. Smith College awarded her their Medal for Life Achievement and Meritorious Service. After retirement she continued to serve in her church.

Eliza Lee Cabot Follen (Aug. 15, 1787-Jan. 26, 1860) Unitarian
This anti-slavery worker and writer of children's books was a member of one of the most prominent Boston families. An intimate friend of Catharine Sedgwick, she married Charles Follen, who became the first German instructor at Harvard. They introduced the German Christmas tree to New England. Later he became a Unitarian minister and founded the church in East Lexington, MA. After his death she returned to writing and editing to raise money to send her son to Harvard. Her works include a book of children's stories, The Well-Spent Hour (1827) Words of Truth (1832); Little Song for Little Boys and Girls (1833), containing the jingle "Three Little Kittens"; The Skeptic (1835) and Sketches of Married Life (1838), fictional homilies offering guidelines for happiness in marriage; and a biography of her husband and collection of his sermons (1841). Many of her writings are found in the magazines she edited: Christian Teacher's Manual (182& 1830) and Child's Friend (1843-l850). She also produced 12 little volumes of "Mrs. Follen's Twilight Stories," collected in a blue-bound set in 1858; these stories are imaginative and simple, surprising1y free of moralizing. Other writings reflect her involvement in anti-slavery work, such as A Letter to Mothers in the Free States (1855) and Anti-slavery Hymns (1855). Excerpts from her writings are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776~1 936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).

Ida Mabel Folsom (1889-1979) Universalist
Born and raised in Maine, she taught for 25 years, first at the Eastern State Normal School in Castine and then at Aroostook in Presque Isle. The University of Maine at Presque Isle named their science building in her honor. Educator, author, and organizer, she was an advocate of women's rights and served as the first Executive Director of the Association of Universalist Women. She developed study programs for women which became the most progressive adult education programs in the denomination. She edited The Bulletin for the Association of Universalist Women and the AUW Yearbook (which she started), wrote A Brief History of the Work of Universalist Women, 1869-1955, and participated in the development of Hymns for the Celebration of Life. She served on many committees and commissions and on the Universalist Board of Trustees. She was ordained in 1952 in Tarpon Springs FL in a church she had helped to revive. Later she served churches in Norway and Dover-Foxcroft, ME.

Mary Anna Hallock Foote (Nov. 19, 1847-June 25, 1938) Unitarian
Author and illustrator, she learned the art of wood engraving and achieved popular success and critical acclaim illustrating books and contributing drawings to Harper's Weekly and Scribner's Monthly. When her marriage to a civil engineer took her west, she became famous for her mining scenes. After Scribner's published two articles spliced together from her letters, she turned to writing as well. The Led-Horse Claim (1883), a romance of the silver boom, contains her own illustrations. John Bodewin's Testimony (1886) is probably her best book. She also wrote The Last Assembly Ball (1889), The Chosen Valley (1892), Coeur d'Alene (1894), and 11 other books. Together her books give the finest picture of the mining frontier since Mark Twain.

Eleanor Bicknell Forbes (Nov. 11, 1860-July 8, 1955) Universalist
The first woman graduate of Bates College (Lewiston, ME,, 1882) she enjoyed a long ministry in four Maine parishes and is remembered as a founder and dedicated enthusiast of the Ferry Beach Institute, a Universalist summer conference center in Maine. She donated financial and other resources to the Institute and attended every summer gathering there from 1901 to 1948. In 1953, the Biennial Assembly of the Universalist Church of America recognized her 52 years of service to the Universalist Church. The Eleanor B. Forbes Chapel in the Pines at Ferry Beach was dedicated in 1951 in her honor.

Hannah Webster Foster (Sept. 10, 1758-Apr. 17, 1840) Unitarian
Salisbury, Massachusetts, was her birthplace and she was the daughter of Grant Webster, a merchant. In 1785 she married the Rev. John Foster and moved to Brighton MA, where her husband served the First Church until his death. In 1797 The Coquette was published anonymously. It was one of the most popular sentimental novels of the era. Only seventy years later did the name of the author appear on the title page. Her other published work was The Boarding School which was a reflection on a Utopian school. In her later years Hannah Foster moved to Montreal where her daughters, Eliza Lansord Foster Cushing, T .G. Foster-Giles, and Harriet Vaughan Foster Cheney, had settled and pursued literary careers.

Alice French (Mar. 19, 1850-Jan. 9, 1934) Unitarian
The daughter of a former Massachusetts Episcopalian who organized the first Unitarian church in Davenport IA, Alice attended the new Female College in Poughkeepsie NY, (later, Vassar). Her first important short story, "Communists and Capitalists" (1878) based on a national railroad strike in 1877, was published under the name "Octave Thanet". She is the author of many essays on poverty, philanthropy, labor and religion, which brought her recognition by Andrew Carnegie. Her early short stories are collected in Knitters in the Sun (1887) and Otto the Knight (1890). Her novels include Expiation, And the Captain Answered, and The Man of the Hour (1905). A collection of her manuscripts and personal writings is at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Lizzie Crozier French (May 7, 1851-May, 1926) Unitarian
Born to a prominent family in Knoxville TN, she became one of the city's most remarkable and controversial women. Widowed at a young age, she became director of the local Female Institute. She founded a literary society, the Ossoli Circle (after Margaret Fuller's famous Conversations), that still continues today. She founded and served as first president of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union. She worked in many areas of reform-both locally and nationally-campaigning for free day nurseries, industrial education in the schools, a woman's reformatory, and, of course, suffrage. A noted and talented public speaker, in 1895 she gave a speech to her small Unitarian society in Knoxville entitled "Scientific Religion or the Motherhood of God."

Margaret Fuller (May 23, 1810-July 19, 1850) Unitarian
Author, critic, teacher, feminist, revolutionary, Margaret Fuller was one of the few women who actively participated in the Transcendentalist movement. She was the first editor of the Transcendentalist journal, The Dial. Andover-Harvard Library at Harvard Divinity School has James Freeman Clarke's copy of Dial, with initials noting her authorship of anonymous articles. Many of her writings are currently available in paperback. An excellent collection is edited by Bell Gale Chevigny, The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller's Life and Writings (The Feminist Press, NY, 1976). Woman in the Nineteenth Century, written by Margaret Fuller in 1845, is also currently available in various editions. Among a number of recent biographies is Paula Blanchard's Margaret Fuller: From Transcendentalism to Revolution (Reading MA: Addison Wesley, 1987). Excerpts from her writings are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).