Unitarian Universalist History

Below is a general timeline of important Unitarian and Universalist events. Each of the links below will open in a new window.

Click here for links to other UU histories.

Many web pages and sources have been used to create this timeline.  Click here for a list of non-web sources (web sources are contained in the pages themselves).

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Year Event
1492 Columbus lands on America
1517 Martin Luther posts his Ninety Five Theses
1553 Michael Servetus is killed
1568 King Sigismund posts his Act of Religious Toleration
1569 Frances David participates in the Debate at Nagyvarad
1605 Faustus Socinus publishes Racovian Catechism
1695 John Locke publishes The Reasonableness of Christianity
1742 Charles Chauncy writes Enthusiasm Described and Cautioned Against
1749 Jonathan Mayhew delivers his Seven Sermons
1759 Ebenezer Gay delivers Natural Religion, as Distinguished from Revealed
1770 John Murray arrives in America
1774 Caleb Rich is called to the first Universalist society established in America
1776 The Declaration of Independence is issued
1782 James Freeman is appointed reader at King's Chapel in Boston
1784 Charles Chauncy publishes The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations
1789 The French Revolution
1790 Philadelphia Convention of Universalists -- first attempt at national organization
1792 New England Convention of Universalists -- first successful attempt at organization
1794 Joseph Priestley arrives in America
1803 The New England Convention of Universalists adopt the Winchester Profession of Faith
1805 Henry Ware is elected Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, Hosea Ballou publishes A Treatise on Atonement, and Joseph Stevens Buckminster is ordained as pastor of the Brattle Street Church, Boston
1813 Andrews Norton assumes Harvard's Dexter lectureship in Biblical Criticism
1815 William Ellery Channing writes a letter to the Rev. Samuel C. Thacher
1819 William Ellery Channing delivers Unitarian Christianity
1820 A legal decision allows the parish in Dedham, MA to retain church property after a split with the church
1825 The American Unitarian Association is formed
1826 Divinity Hall at Harvard is completed, Joseph Tuckerman is made minister at large in Boston
1829 Hosea Ballou 2nd. publishes The Ancient History of Universalism
1831 Henry Ware, Jr. publishes On the Formation of the Christian Character
1833 Lydia Maria Child publishes Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans
1838 Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard
1841 Theodore Parker delivers The Transient and the Permanent in Christianity
1844 Meadville Theological School is founded
1845 Margaret Fuller publishes Woman in the Nineteenth Century
1852 The Western Unitarian Conference is formed
1859 Henry Whitney Bellows delivers The Suspense of Faith
1860 Olympia Brown denied admission to Meadville, Thomas Starr King goes to San Francisco
1861 The American Civil War begins
1865 The American Civil War ends, The Universalist General Convention is formed, First Meeting of the National Conference of Unitarian Churches is held, Frederic Henry Hedge publishes Reason in Religion
1867 The Free Religious Association is founded
1870 The Centennial Conference of American Universalism is held
1873 Octavius Brooks Frothingham publishes The Religion of Humanity
1886 Jabez T. Sunderland publishes The Issue in the West, James Freeman Clarke publishes Vexed Questions in Theology
1887 William Channing Gannett's The Things Most Commonly Believed Today Among Us is adopted by the Western Unitarian Conference
1891 Quillen Shinn becomes a full time missionary
1894 Meeting of the National Conference
1898 Isaac M. Atwood becomes first general superintendent of the Universalist General Convention
1900 Samuel A. Eliot becomes President and CEO of the AUA
1906 The Pacific Unitarian School for the Ministry is incorporated
1908 Antoinette Brown Blackwell starts and becomes minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Elizabeth, NJ.
1917 The United States enters WWI, Clarence R. Skinner publishes A Declaration of Social Principles
1918 WWI Ends
1920 Women given the right to Vote (19th Amendment)
1921 John H. Dietrich and William L. Sullivan debate Humanism at the National Conference
1933 A Humanist Manifesto is published
1936 Unitarians Face a New Age is published
1937 Fredrick May Eliot assumes the presidency of the AUA, Clarence R. Skinner publishes Liberalism Faces the Future
1939 WWII Begins
1945 WWII Ends
1946 James Luther Adams publishes A Faith for Free Men
1948 The AUA begins an office of fellowships under the leadership of Lon Ray Call and Munroe Husbands
1953 The Council of Liberal Churches is formed
1961 The AUA and the UCA merge to form the UUA
1964 Martin Luther King, Jr. receives Nobel Peace Prize