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Unitarian Universalist History & Identity Resources for Adult Faith Development


  • Unitarian Universalism: An Heretical History: Video overview of the history of Unitarianism and Universalism, from their roots 2,000 years ago to the merger of 1961. Sketches, paintings and photographs enhance the lively narrative, which touches on the stories of Francis Dávid, Joseph Priestley, Susan B. Anthony and many others. DVD 30 mins. Published by Fusion in 1995.


  • American Universalism, Fourth Edition  by George Huntston Williams. Classic study of Universalist theological positions, examining the richness of American Universalism and its many expressions in American life and thought. Includes a new preface by historian Charles A.Howe. Co-published by Skinner House and the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society. 136 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2002.
  • Anita Trueman Pickett: New Thought Preacher by Lyn Burnstine. Inspiring true story of a woman juggling Unitarian ministry, motherhood and her commitment to feminism. Preacher of "New Thought" philosophy, protègè of Edwin Markham, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, John Burroughs and Swami Abhedenanda. Public speaker, poet and author, Pickett (1881-1960) was instrumental in the founding of Rowe Camp and Conference Center. Brings Unitarian Universalist and women's history to life. 208 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1999.
  • Articulating Your Unitarian Universalist Faith: A Five-Session Course by Barbara Wells & Jaco B. ten Hove. This course guides participants through a series of exercises that equip them to discover and articulate their beliefs, including personal reflection, role-play, discussion, and even the creation of a worship event. For newcomers and a wonderful next step for long-time Unitarian Universalists. 72 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2003.
  • Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age: Why I Am a Unitarian Universalist by Jack Mendelsohn. A minister for over 50 years, Mendelsohn writes with conviction and eloquence in defense of liberal religion and discusses what draws people to Unitarian Universalism. The book leads readers to examine their own religious life and to reflect on religion and the world in our liberal context. 192 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1995.
  • Black Pioneers in a White Denomination, Third Edition by Mark D. Morrison-Reed. Paints a painful yet important portrait of racism in liberal religion by telling the stories of two pioneering black ministers. Includes accounts of some of today's more integrated Unitarian Universalist congregations and biographical notes on past and present black Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist ministers. 280pp. Published by Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship (Turley, OK) in 1994.
  • Call to Selma: Eighteen Days of Witness by Richard D. Leonard. In 1965 Rev. Martin Luther King appealed to clergy across the nation to come to Selma, Alabama, and join protestors in their struggle for voting rights. More than 200 Unitarian Universalists responded. Reverend Richard Leonard, age 37, was minister of education at the Community Church of New York at the time he answered Dr. King's call. Leonard's journal, along with the recollections of others who shared the journey, presents Selma as a pivotal point in the advancement of civil rights, and a defining moment for Unitarian Universalism. 176 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2001.
  • Challenge of a Liberal Faith, Third Edition by George N. Marshall. Popular introduction and study guide to Unitarian Universalism offers a review of the denomination's history and beliefs. Perfect for newcomer workshops and adult education groups. Includes chapter guides with study questions, outlines, index and bibliography. For individual and group study. 256 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1991.
  • A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism by John A. Buehrens and Forrest Church. Thought-provoking, entertaining sourcebook for searchers, newcomers, and lifelong learners. Revised edition features two new chapters about UUism's earth-centered traditions, foreword by Robert Fulghum, and preface by Denise Davidoff. 240 pp. Beacon Press, 1998.
    • The A Chosen Faith Discussion Guide by Joan Goodwin includes lesson plans for a seven-session program. It also provide options for self-guided learning and reflection.
  • Emerson As Spiritual Guide: A Companion to Selected Essays for Personal Reflection and Group Discussion by Barry A. Andrews. Includes an introduction to the life and thought of Emerson, as well as questions and resources for further study and reflection. 128 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2003.
  • The Epic of Unitarianism: Original Writings from the History of Liberal Religion. This collection of writings spanning the 16th through the 20th centuries provides a rich portrait of early Unitarian thought. 176 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1985.
  • For Faith and Freedom: A Short History of Unitarianism in Europe by Charles A. Howe. Untangling Polish, Transylvanian and English Unitarianism is a challenge even for the serious student. Howe's lucid account reclaims for readers the heroic martyrdom of Michael Servetus, the humane leadership of Faustus Socinus, the eloquent conviction of Francis David and the literary genius of Harriet Martineau. Ideal for anyone who wants a deeper look into our Unitarian heritage. (Skinner House) 1997. 232 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1997.
  • Heretics’ Faith: Vocabulary for Religious Liberals by John Muir. Muir makes the argument that Unitarian Universalists are limited by their reluctance to use the language of faith used by other denominations. He argues that we must become comfortable with words like sin, atonement, and blessing. "As Unitarian Universalists, we bring a liberal and heretical spirit to this vocabulary that can breathe new life into ancient words." —from the preface. 217 pp. (John Muir, Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis)
  • Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism by Mark W. Harris. A reference guide with numerous entries on the places Unitarian Universalism was present, significant leaders, and causes and issues. Provides a comprehensive understanding of the multiple facets of the Unitarian Universalist faith. 540pp. Published by Scarecrow Press in 2004.
  • The Larger Faith: A Short History of American Universalism by Charles A. Howe. Covers the the first gathering in 1793 of people who called themselves "Universalists" to the 1961 merger with the American Unitarian Association to present-day Unitarian Universalism. Addresses the struggles of a new religion, women pioneers, early missionary efforts, involvement with social concerns and the founding of a theological school. Includes bibliography, appendices and an index. 168 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1993.
  • The Larger Message: Universalist Religious Education's Response to Theological and Cultural Challenges 1790-1930 by Elizabeth Strong. Reveals the story of Universalist’s significant and vital religious education work before joining Unitarians. Universalists were part of the first Sunday schools to be established in America through their work with the First Day Schools in Philadelphia in 1970. Published by Meadville-Lombard in 2004.
  • The Long Challenge: The Empowerment Controversy 1967-1977 by Victor Carpenter. A look back at the conflict between African American and white UUs that exposed deep tensions which remain with us today. In this personal and provocative book, Carpenter raises challenges that go to the heart of liberal religion. Includes introduction by UUA President Bill Sinkford. Carpenter has been a Unitarian Universalist minister since 1958. 110 pp. Published by Meadville-Lombard in 2004.
  • Making the Manifesto: The Birth of Religious Humanism by William Schulz. This comprehensive volume tells the story of the birth of religious humanism and its core document, the Humanist Manifesto. Explores the movement's emergence in the context of cultural, political, and religious events at the time. Schulz chronicles the social, intellectual, and religious conditions that gave rise to religious humanism as well as the personalities involved. The full text of the Manifesto is included. 144 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2002.
  • Motion Toward Perfection: The Achievement of Joseph Priestley: Ten authors follow Priestley's (1733-1804) evolution from Calvinism to Unitarianism. 304 pp.
  • Norbert Fabian Capek: A Spiritual Journey by Richard Henry. True story of an inspiring leader who, in the face of Nazi oppression, built a religious movement in his native Czechoslovakia that numbered close to 10,000 people. Based on years of research with documents uncovered in the Capek family library in Prague. An engrossing tale of political upheaval, religious freedom, murder, great heroism and loss. 336 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1999.
  • Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse: A Collection for Children and Adults by Kenneth W. Collier. Creative responses to the seven Principles. Each Principle is illustrated with a story, a poem, and a brief essay. For worship and individual reading. For all ages. 120 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1997.
  • The Premise and the Promise: The Story of the Unitarian Universalist Association by Warren A. Ross. In readable, accessible prose, highlighted with material culled from more than 60 interviews, Ross weaves a compelling institutional tale of two like-minded but separate religious bodies electing to unite and move into the future together. Features important figures in Unitarian and Universalist history, highlights key leaders in the consolidation process and chronicles significant aspects of the work of the UUA since 1961. 248pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2001.
  • Remember Universalism Into Life, Revised Edition by Raymond R. Nasemann and Elizabeth M. Strong. A discussion guide for The Universalist Heritage, a book of 15 keynote addresses delivered by Unitarian Universalist ministers at the annual meeting of the New York State Convention of Universalists from 1976 to 1992. (Michael Scott; email scott @; phone (716) 271-3143). Published by New York State Convention of Universalists (Rochester, NY) in 1993.
  • Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936. Impressive and thorough treasury of 160 years (1776 to 1936) of letters, essays, stories and poems penned by Unitarian and Universalist women. The reformers and leaders represented here write and speak eloquently for social justice, equality in education, religious reform and an end to slavery and prejudice. Contains a biographical sketch of each woman and informative notes on the texts selected. Valuable addition to any Unitarian Universalist history or women's studies library. 640 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1999.
  • Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism: Channing, Emerson, Parker, Second Edition. Three landmark addresses in the history of American Unitarianism in one convenient volume. Edited by one of the leading Unitarian Universalist historians. William Ellery Channing's "Unitarian Christianity," Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Divinity School Address" and Theodore Parker's "The Transient and Permanent in Christianity." Second edition. 160 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1996.
  • The Unitarian Controversy: Essays on American Unitarian History by Conrad Wright. Nine essays chronicle a key period in early American Unitarian history (1805-1835), when a liberal wing gradually split off from the congregational churches of the Standing Order of Massachusetts to become a separate denomination. 256 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1994.
  • Unitarian Universalism: An Heretical History: Video overview of the history of Unitarianism and Universalism, from their roots 2,000 years ago to the merger of 1961. Sketches, paintings and photographs enhance the lively narrative, which touches on the stories of Francis Dávid, Joseph Priestley, Susan B. Anthony and many others. DVD 30 mins. Published by Fusion in 1995.
  • The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide by William Sinkford. With a new introduction by Unitarian Universalist Association President Sinkford, this edition includes essays on our faith, heritage, worship, religious education, ministry and important dates in Unitarian Universalist history. Classic resource for visitors and new members. 120pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 2004.
  • Unitarians and Universalists by David Robinson. The compelling story of two faiths that were finally united. Contains thorough biographical dictionary. 384 pp. Published by Greenwood in 1985.
  • Universalism in America: A Documentary History of a Liberal Faith by Ernest Cassara. Selected writings from some of the most influential persons in Universalism, 1741 to 1961, plus incisive commentaries. 304 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1997.
  • Walking Together: Polity and Participation in Unitarian Universalist Churches by Conrad Wright. The history of church autonomy in the Unitarian and Universalist traditions. 176 pp. Published by Unitarian Universalist Historical Society in 1998.
  • Wilderness Journey: The Struggle for Black Empowerment and Racial Justice within the UUA (1967-1970): This is an "oral history" of the first-hand participants in the so-called Black Empowerment Controversy within the Unitarian Universalist Association of the 1960s and 1970s, thus preserving this important witness for future generations. DVD produced by Ron Cordes. Available from district libraries.
  • With Purpose and Principle: Essays About the Seven Principles. A short history of the Principles and Purposes plus essays on each Principle. A resource for new members and for those seeking insight into this essential piece of living tradition. 128 pp. Published by Skinner House Books (Boston, MA) in 1998.


  • The Garden of Unitarian Universalism by Melinda Sayavedra and Marilyn Walker for the International Council of Unitarian Universalists (ICUU). This program was written to help Unitarian Universalists gain a broader understanding of their shared faith. This online curriculum is designed for individuals or groups. It will acquaint participants with forms of Unitarianism and Universalism practiced throughout the world. Involves small group worship and activities, sixteen sessions. ICUU, 2005.

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Last updated on Monday, November 28, 2011.

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