Anna Garlin Spencer

  Female      American      Educator

About Author

Anna Garlin Spencer (1851–1931) was an American educator, feminist, and Unitarian minister. Born in Attleboro, MA, she married the Rev. William H. Spencer in 1878. She was a leader in the women's suffrage and peace movements. In 1891 she became the first woman ordained as a minister in the state of Rhode Island. In Providence she was commissioned to develop the Religious Society of Bell Street Chapel which was to be devoted to the religious outlook of James Eddy. She compiled Eddy’s views into a Bond of Union to which members of the new society would subscribe. She was later associated with the New York Society for Ethical Culture (1903–1909) and the New York School of Philanthropy (1903–1913). In 1909, she signed onto the call to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Over a long period she was a popular lecturer and wrote on social problems, especially concerning women and family relations. Her writings include Woman's Share in Social Culture (1913) and The Family and Its Members (1922).

Spencer’s book Women’s Share in Social Culture was published in 1913, and noted women’s lack of equality at this time. She pressed the need for gender equality, especially as women were no longer shut up at home but were starting to become a part of the public society that once belonged exclusively to men. By promoting the "individuation of women," Spencer hoped to give insight into the lack of rights women had...

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