Notable Women

Prouty, Olive Higgins

Olive HIggins ProutyOlive Higgins Prouty (January 10, 1882-March 24, 1974) was an American novelist, most active in the period between the First and Second World Wars. In this interval between women’s suffrage and women’s liberation, when few openly questioned the notion that a woman’s fulfillment is to be found in a subordinate role, Prouty insisted on the importance, for women as well as for men, of independent judgment, freedom from illusion, and full personal responsibility for one’s actions.…

Jones, Susan Charlotte Barber Lloyd

Susan Lloyd JonesSusan Charlotte Barber Lloyd Jones (May 15, 1832-October 26, 1911) was the first wife of the Unitarian minister Jenkin Lloyd Jones and his “yoke-fellow in the cause of religious freedom.” Together they promoted the growth of the Western Unitarian Conference, wrote widely-adopted Sunday School curricula, created the first, much-imitated Unity Club, helped found organizations for Unitarian women and for Unitarian Sunday Schools, and encouraged women to serve as ministers in midwestern Unitarian churches.…

The Peabody Sisters

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (May 16, 1804-January 3, 1894), Mary Tyler Peabody Mann (November 16, 1807-February 11, 1887), and Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne (September 21, 1809-February 26, 1871)—were champions of reform movements, pioneers in modern educational theory, founders of the kindergarten movement in America and supporters of the arts.…

Adams, Hannah

Hannah Adams (Oct. 2, 1755-Dec. 15, 1831) born in Medfield MA, she was the first American, man or woman, known to attempt to support herself by the pen. Highly regarded in the field of historical documentation, she wrote several history books.

Masaryk, Charlotte Garrigue

Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk
Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk

Charlotte Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1923), first First Lady of Czechoslovakia, was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her father was Rudolph Garrigue, a businessman of Huguenot background whose parents and sister were Unitarian. Her mother was Charlotte Lydia Whiting, whose interest in transcendentalism led her to write to Ralph Waldo Emerson and be in contact with Brook Farm.

Agassiz, Elizabeth Cabot Cary

Elizabeth Cary Agassiz: A Biography - written by Lucy Allen Paton - 1919
Elizabeth Cary Agassiz

Elizabeth Cabot Cary Agassiz (December 5, 1822-June 27, 1907) was an early advocate for the education of women. However, she was conservative about women’s rights. Instrumental in the founding of the Harvard Annex—later Radcliffe College, she would serve as its first president.

Blackwell, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Blackwell - ca. 1877 - Library of Congress
Elizabeth Blackwell – ca. 1877 – Library of Congress

Elizabeth Blackwell (February 23, 1821-May 31, 1910) was the first woman to earn a degree from medical school in the United States and the first woman to appear on the medical registry of the United Kingdom.

Reid, Helen Richmond Young

Helen Richmond Young Reid
Helen Richmond Young Reid

Helen Richmond Young Reid (December 11, 1869-June 8, 1941) was a Montreal social worker involved in local, national, and international reform movements. A life long Unitarian, she founded and directed a number of charitable and educational organizations.

Sessions, Kate Olivia

Kate O. Sessions
Kate O. Sessions

Kate Olivia (Ophelia) Sessions chose a very unusual profession for a woman in 1885. Her love of nature, of gardening and flowers caused her to abandon teaching and take up the propagation of plants as a commercial nurseryman.

Adler, Margot

Margot AdlerMargot Susanna Adler (April 16, 1946-July 28, 2014) was a speaker, lecturer, writer, and public radio reporter. A complex woman with wide-ranging interests, she was willing to go wherever her heart and mind led her, even to a fascination with vampires in later years.…

Reid , Eliza Anne McIntosh

Eliza Anne McIntosh Reid - 1901
Eliza Anne McIntosh Reid – 1901

Eliza Anne McIntosh Reid (October 30, 1841-January 8, 1926) was a social reformer, women’s activist, and a leader in the movement to gain access to higher education for Canadian women. A life long Unitarian, her contributions would be continued and expanded by her daughter, Helen R.

Gillette, Lucia Fidelia Woolley

Lucia Fidelia Woolley GilletteLucia Fidelia Woolley Gillette (April 8, 1827-October 14, 1905) was one of the first women to be ordained to the Universalist ministry in the United States and probably the first ordained woman to preach in Canada. As a child she assisted her father, Edward Mott Woolley as he traveled his Universalist ministry circuit in New York.…