Old and New Unitarian Belief

by John White Chadwick

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Born in 1840, John White Chadwick was initially to become a shoemaker. Although he was in the middle of an apprenticeship, he preferred to continue a non-trade education. During his education at normal school in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, he determined his calling in life was to become a minister. He went on to graduate from Harvard Divinity School in 1864.

Almost immediately after he graduated, he became the pastor of the Second Unitarian Church, in Brooklyn, New York. He wrote a great deal, both books and contributions to journals, including Origin and Destiny (1883), Preacher and Reformer (1900), and Later Poems (1905).


Unitarianism: Its Origin and History: A Course of Sixteen Lectures Delivered in Channing Hall, Boston, 1888-9

by American Unitarian Association

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Unitarianism is a theological movement which at its start proclaimed that God is a singular entity, rather than a trinity. It rejects other tenants common in Christianity, such as the concept of original sin and the Bible as infallible. The belief emerged during the 1600s and spread quickly through Europe and the United States, particularly among the educated and wealthy classes. One of the earliest places it arrived in the United States was in New England. These lectures are some of the early writings in Unitarian history in the United States and give a deeper understanding of the faith, especially as it grew within the developing nation.


Mashrak-el-Azkar: Descriptive of the Bahai Temple and Illustrative of an Exhibition of Preliminary Designs for the First Mashrak-el-Azkar to be Built in America

by Charles Mason Remey

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Charles Mason Remey (1874-1974) was the son of Admiral George Collier Remey and grew up in Washington DC, at 1527 New Hampshire Ave NW, which is now the home of Westphalia Press, the Policy Studies Organization, and of the American Political Science Association. He drew detailed plans and did a survey of the house, which are deposited in the Library of Congress. He studied to be an architect at Cornell (1893-1896) and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1896-1903), where he learned about the Baha’i faith, and quickly adopted it.

In 1903, Remey returned to Washington, DC, and wrote numerous works on Baha’i theology and practices. He spent much of his time traveling to teach and discuss the Baha’i faith, and at the same time developing architectural plans, with the occasional class taught at George Washington University. Remey wrote extensively, and his papers are held at the National Baha’i Archives, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, Princeton University, Yale University, and the Iowa Historical Society.


Catholic Problems in Western Canada

by George Thomas Daly, Preface by Most Reverend O. E. Mathieu

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George Thomas Daly was a Catholic leader who worked in Eastern Canada, but was asked to relocate to Western Canada to spread the religion. In this work, he discusses the desire to spread Catholicism westward across the country, and the complexities of Canada, the changing politics and dynamics of the world, advancing modernity, and what Canadian identity means. Among other things, Daly was very concerned about the spread of Bolshevism.

Daly focuses on the The Catholic Church Extension Society and its attempts to spread Catholicism, particularly in isolated areas. This work discusses Canadianization and how to intertwine a Catholic identity. Daly claims that people can unite regardless of their race or ethnicity, but does not acknowledge the harmful practices that missionizing has on erasing identity and culture. The work is significant in understanding Catholicism in Canada, and the development of the country.

This edition is dedicated to Judy Rich Lauder.


Checkered Life: In the Old and New World

by Rev. J. L. Ver Mehr

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When J. L Ver Mehr, also known as Jean Leonhard Henri Corneille Ver Mehr, passed away in 1886. The following served as his obituary:

A Brief Sketch of the Life of a Pioneer Clergyman
Rev. Dr. J. L. Ver Mehr, of whose death brief mention was made in yesterday’s papers, was one of the first clergymen of the Protestant Episcopal Church to arrive here. He came by way of Cape Horn, reaching San Francisco in September, 1849. He preached his first sermon in California in the house of a Mr. Merrill, in this city, on the 10th of that month. A chapel was next built before the close of that year at the corner of Powell and John streets and was opened for divine service on December 30th. This was the first Grace Church, the building being 20×60 feet, and costing $8,000. In April, 1850, Dr. Ver Mehr organized Grace Parish, he being the first rector, with David 8. Tamer and E. Bryant as wardens. He preached the first sermon in a new edifice on Powell street in the Summer of 1851. He resigned the rectorship on February 25, 1854, where it was assumed by Bishop Kip, who had arrived one month before that date. Dr. Ver Mehr then took charge of a private school in Sonoma. A few years later he returned to San Francisco and, with his wife, established a seminary. In connection with this institution was the “Chapel of the Holy Innocents,” of which the doctor Was pastor. This building was located at the site of the Denman Grammar School. It was owned by the doctor and was destroyed by fire on the 10th day of October, 1860. For a year or so thereafter Dr. Ver Mehr was editor of the Pacific Churchman. He was one of the Vice-Presidents of the California Bible Society, organized in this city on October 30, 1849. His daughter is the wife of J. M. Seawell, the lawyer, and he leaves grown grandchildren. (Daily Alta California, Volume 40, Number 13095, January 20, 1886)

While the obituary highlights the physical changes Ver Mehr brought to the landscape of Northern California, it does not bring to life the many colorful experiences he had. In Checkered Life, readers are treated to an interesting account of a very full career.


The Occult World: Teachings of Occult Philosophy

by A. P. Sinnett

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Alfred Percy Sinnett (1840-1921), a journalist and Theosophist, wrote frequently to members of the Brotherhood of Adepts, an occult organization. The famous Mahatmas Koot Hoomi and Morya corresponded via mail with Sinnett, and Sinnett used parts of this correspondence to compose The Occult World. Together, along with others, they were building The Theosophical Society. Sinnett was friends with many of the leading theosophists and spent a productive time in India. The organization’s avowed object was at first the scientific investigation of psychic or so-called “spiritualistic” phenomena, after which its three chief objects were declared, namely (1) Brotherhood of man, without distinction of race, colour, religion, or social position; (2) the serious study of the ancient world-religions for purposes of comparison and the selection therefrom of universal ethics; (3) the study and development of the latent divine powers in man. The society has persisted through the decades and has branches or lodges scattered all over the world, some of which are in India, where its chief headquarters are established.


Black Rock: A Tale of the Selkirks

by Ralph Connor

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Originally published in 1898, Black Rock: A Tale of the Selkirks was written by Rev. Dr. Charles William Gordon, using the penname Ralph Connor. Gordon was a leader in the Presbyterian and then later on the United Church, so he wanted to protect his status and keep both roles separate. However, his religious and personal beliefs strongly motivated his writings. For example, Gordon was interested in church reform, and his writings on the matter of unifying churches eventually lead to the creation of the United Church of Canada in the 1920.

Gordon was born in Ontario, Canada in a community largely composed of Scottish immigrants. His father was a reverend, and as such, Gordon’s life became deeply infused with his religious teachings. Gordon went on to study theology at the University of Toronto and graduated in 1886. Gordon’s work sheds light on the callous way missionaries viewed the natural beauty of western Canada and the disregard they held for multiple Native tribes that inhabited those areas, their religious beliefs or way of life.