Some Famous Universalists, Unitarians, & Unitarian Universalists born this month & Milestones
Aurelia Isabel Henry Reinhardt (1 APR 1877 California – 1948)
She was a professor, author, and peace advocate.In 1940, she served as the first female Moderator of the the American Unitarian Association [AUA]. She also served as President of Mills College from 1916 to 1943, in 1945 was a delegate to the founding meetings of the United Nations in San Francisco, and was president of the American Association of University Women. “Let us not forget that the future includes more women in the ministry than we have ever known before.”
Deborah Webster Greeley (4 APR 1911 – 29 OCT 1998 Concord, MA)
She had been the longtime member and president of the Fragment Society. The society, founded in 1812 by some of Boston’s most prominent women, is believed to be the oldest sewing circle in the city and members pooled their sewing skills to repair old clothes for donation to the needy. She also served as president of the Herb Society of America and lectured widely on the propagation and uses of herbs.
Dorothea Lynde Dix (4 APR 1802 Hampden, ME – 17 JUL 1887 Trenton, NJ)
She was a social reformer, teacher, mental health advocate, and humanitarian. She helped pass a bill for the enlargement of the Worcester Insane Asylum, Union’s Superintendent of Female Nurses during the Civil War and authored “Remarks on Prisons and Prison Discipline in the United States”.
Charles Bliss Bowles (5 APR 1901 Springfield, MA – 25 MAY 1986 Essex, CT)
He was a politician. He was Presidential Elector for CT in 1940, a CT delegate to Democratic National Convention in 1948, Governor of Connecticut 1949-51, served as U.S. Ambassador to Nepal 1951-53 and India from 1951-53 and 1963-69, U.S. Representative from CT 2nd District 1959-61, and U.S. Ambassador at
large from 1961-63.
Maja Veronica Oktavec Capek (8 APR 1888 Chomutov, Bohemia – 1 DEC 1966)
She was a minister, librarian, and humanitarian. She was co-founder of the Czech Unitarian Church, ordained as a minister in 1926, introduced the first Flower Communion Service to America in a spring 1940 celebration at the First Unitarian Church in Cambridge, and served as Minister in New Bedford during the early 1940’s. She also joined the staff of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Agency and worked from 1944 to 1950 helping displaced persons settle in Yugoslavia, Egypt, and Palestine.
Chester Greenough Atkins (14 APR 1948 Geneva, Switzerland – )
He was a politician. He was Member of Massachusetts state house of representatives from 1970-72, member of MA state senate 1972-84, MA Democratic state chair 1977, MA delegate to Democratic National Convention in 1980, and U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 5th District, 1985-93.
Rev. Samuel Willard (18 APR 1775, Petersham, MA – 8 OCT 1859 Deerfield, MA)
He was a Unitarian Minister, “The Blind Preacher”, educator, author, and hymn writer. In 1814, he published Deerfield Collection of Sacred Music.
Daniel Chester French (20 APR 1850 Exeter, NH – 7 OCT 1931 Chesterwood, Stockbridge, MA)
He was a sculptor. He received his first commission in 1873 from the town of Concord for the statue “The Minute Man” and is most noted for the sculpture of “Abraham Lincoln” in Washington, D.C. which was completed in 1922.
Winfred Overholser (21 APR 1892 Worcester, MA – 6 OCT 1964 Wahington, DC)
He was a psychiatrist and professor. He helped enact the “Briggs Law”, was appointed Superintendent of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital from 1937-1962, was an active member of the USC, and served as AUA Moderator from 1946 to 1948. “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be tolerant of the peculiarities of others. Try to do something worthwhile in your life and observe the Golden Rule.”
Abigail Williams May (21 APR 1829 – 1888)
She was a social reformer and suffragette. She worked for women’s suffrage, was one of the first women elected to the Boston School Committee, worked to establish the Latin School for Girls, was founder and president of the New England Women’s Club, and during the Civil War headed the New England branch of the Sanitary Commission.
Richard Bowditch Wigglesworth (25 APR 1891 Boston, MA – 22 OCT 1960 Boston, MA)
He was a lawyer and politician. He served as U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, and U.S. Ambassador to Canada.
Mary Wollstonecraft (27 APR 1759 London, England – 10 SEP 1797)
She was a writer. She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, advocated for social and educational equality for men and women, and was the mother of Mary Shelley.
Milestones In U/U/UU History
On April 22, 1781, at Pennsylvania University, Elhanan Winchester gave his first sermon publicly advocating Universal Restoration.
“Have you seen the candle in the front window of the Foxborough Universalist Church (UUFoxborough) and wondered ‘What’s that candle lit for?’ The candle has been lit since April 2003 and serves as a symbol of the congregation’s continued prayers for peace, especially in Iraq.”*