Notable UUs

NOTE:  While not all of the individuals listed below may have been members of or regularly attended Unitarian Universalist churches, they are all included as famous UUs by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations and have expressed views on religion consistent with UU Principles.

Abigail Adams, wife of second U.S. president, John Adams

John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and second U.S.President

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, sixth U.S. President, Member of Congress

Jane Addams, noted social worker, founder of Hull House, founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, advocate of abolition, women’s rights, and temperance

Ethan Allen, leader of Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys during the American War for Independence

Susan B. Anthony, activist, reformer, teacher, lecturer, key spokesperson for the 19th century women’s suffrage movement

P.T. Barnum, American showman, businessman, author, publisher, and philanthropist

Béla Bartók, noted Hungarian musician and composer

Clara Barton, American teacher, patent clerk, nurse, and humanitarian; founder of the American Red Cross

Alexander Graham Bell, scientist, inventor of the telephone

Ambrose Bierce, American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist.

Chester Bliss Bowles, Member of Congress, Governor of Connecticut, Undersecretary of State, delegate to the United Nations, Ambassador to India

Ray Bradbury, Pulitzer Prize winning science fiction writer

William Cullen Bryant, American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.

Luther Burbank, American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science who developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants

John C. Calhoun, who served in the United States House of RepresentativesUnited States Senate as Secretary of War and State and as seventh Vice President of the United States

Joseph S. Clark, Mayor of Philadelphia, United States Senator, President of World Federalists, U.S.A.

William S. Cohen, Mayor of Bangor, U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, Secretary of Defense, author of eight books

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who was a co-founder of the Romantic Movement in England

Ezra Cornell, an American businessman, education administrator, founder of Western Union and a co-founder of Cornell University

e. e. cummings, uncompromising American poet and painter

Clarence Darrow, American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union

Charles Darwin, British scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution and transformed the way we think about the natural world

Dorothea Dix, Maine native, teacher, children’s book author, Superintendent of United States Army Nurses during the Civil War, advocate for improvements in the treatment of patients suffering from mental and emotional disorders

Paul H. Douglas, raised in Maine, a three term U.S. Senator from Illinois noted for his work on civil rights, tax reform and Medicare

Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer, Unitarian minister and poet, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

Edward Everett, American politician, pastor, educator, diplomat, and orator from Massachusetts, served as U.S. RepresentativeU.S. SenatorGovernor of MassachusettsMinister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State  He is often remembered as the featured orator at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.

Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States, was an anti-slavery moderate who opposed slavery and signed the Compromise of 1850 into law

Benjamin Franklin, American patriot, revolutionary, diplomat, publisher, inventor and author

Horace Greeley, Member of Congress, Liberal Republican Party’s candidate for President in 1872, editor of the New York Tribune, strident abolitionist

Edvard Grieg, Norwegian Romantic Era pianist and composer, most noted for his Peer Gynt Suite—Hall of the Mountain King

Hannibal Hamlin, native Maine attorney and politician; vocal opponent of slavery.  Member of U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Governor of Maine, Vice President under Abraham Lincoln

Bret Harte, American author and poet, noted for his stories of California pioneers.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author

Julia Ward Howe, American abolitionist, poet, suffragist and social activist, (instrumental in establishing Mother’s Day).  Most famous as the author of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Thomas Jefferson, Governor of Virginia, revolutionary, diplomat, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States, founder of the University of Virginia

Michael Learned, Emmy Award winning actress

Horace Mann, American educator often considered the most effective reformer of the last half of the 19th century, abolitionist, Member of U.S. House of Representatives, President of Antioch College

Herman Melville, American novelist and poet

Samuel F.B. Morse, American portrait painter, inventor of the single wire telegraph system, co-developer of the Morse code

Florence Nightingale, British reformer widely considered to be the founder of modern nursing; first woman to receive the Order of Merit

Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists in history

Thomas Paine, English-American political activist, political theorist and revolutionary, author of Common Sense, the widely read tract published in 1776 supporting American independence from England

Linus Pauling, American chemistbiochemistpeace activist, author, and educator who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1954) and the Nobel Peace Prize (1962)

Sylvia Plath, American poet, novelist and short story writer, winner of a posthumously awarded Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Poems

Joseph Priestley, 18th-century English theologian, dissenting clergyman, natural philosopher, chemist, educator, and political theorist who is usually credited with the discovery of oxygen.

Beatrix Potter, English author, illustratornatural scientist and conservationist best known for writing The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Christopher Reeve, actor, author, director, producer, activist, best known for his role in the Superman movies and for the strength of character he diplayed after being paralyzed in a horse fall

Elliot L. Richardson, American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of Commerce, Health, Education and Welfare, Defense, and as Attorney General, especially noted for resigning rather than obey Richard Nixon’s directive to fire Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox

Leverett Saltonstall, Governor of Massachusetts, U.S. Senator, descendent of Dudley Saltonstall, Commander of Naval Forces during the disastrous Penobscot Expedition of 1779 that sought to reclaim Ft. George in what is now Castine from British forces

Carl Sandberg, Pulitzer Prize winning poet and biographer

May Sarton, American poet, novelist, and memoirist, a resident of York, Maine later in her life

Pete Seeger, award winning American singer, songwriter, activist and environmentalist

Rod Serling, multiple award winning American screenwriterplaywrighttelevision producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV seriesThe Twilight Zone

Albert Schweitzer, German—and later French—theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa;  Winner of the Nobel 1952 Peace Prize

Francis George Shaw, Bostonian businessman, abolitionist, philosopher and philanthropist

Col. Robert Gould Shaw, son of Francis George Shaw, who died leading the Massachusetts 54th Regiment of freed black soldiers against Fort Wagner, South Carolina in 1863 (immortalized by Augustus Saint-Gauden’s memorial and the movie Glory)

Adlai Stevenson, American politician and statesman, Governor of Illinois, twice an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States, Ambassador to the United Nations

William Howard Taft, lawyer, Governor of the Philippines, 27th President of the United States, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Henry David Thoreau, American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, and naturalist,

Kurt Vonnegut, American author, honorary President of the American Humanist Association

Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, interior designer, writer and educator

Andrew Wyeth, American artist

N. C. Wyeth, American artist and illustrator

Whitney Young, American civil rights leader, Executive Director of the National Urban League