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Spencer, Anna Garlin

  • By: Bill Kte'pi
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Anna Garlin Spencer was an American Unitarian minister, the first female ordained minister in the state of Rhode Island (at the age of 40, in 1891). She was an active member of what is now called the Progressive Movement, a series of American reform-minded movements from roughly the end of Reconstruction to the end of World War I. Progressivism encompassed not only the pro-labor and pro-consumer legal reforms with which it was most strongly associated in national politics, but social activism and modernization in many areas. The increasing tendency for religious groups to be involved with social activism and the fight against poverty and crime, for instance, was a trait of progressivism, as was the relaxing of denominational frictions. Unitarians like Spencer, with their emphasis ...

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