Found: Universalist Leader

I was searching for early Universalist convention records when I happened on a trove of midcentury issues of Universalist Leader and Unitarian Universalist Register-Leader, the magazines which became what is today the UU World.

This is really exciting, since documents from the late pre-consolidation and early post-consolidation (1961 onwards) eras are hard to find, at least working from Washington, D.C. Earlier anyway, denominational business was published in depth with documents drafts, so fingers crossed.

What lead me there? A search which showed groovy maps of Universalist state conventions and Unitarian districts before consolidation, and the UUA districts thereafter. I didn’t know the Alabama and Mississippi conventions survived to consolidation, for instance.

Line map of pre-consolidation Universalist state conventions, clustered in the eastern half of North America

At the Harvard Divinity School Library (Harvard-Andover Theological Library) site:

Universalist Leader, January 1954-December 1954

Universalist Leader, January 1955-December 1955

Universalist Leader, January 1956-December 1956

Universalist Leader, January 1957-December 1957

Universalist Leader, January 1958-December 1958

Universalist Leader, January 1959-December 1959

Universalist Leader, January 1960-December 1960

Universalist Leader, January 1961-April 1961

Unitarian Register and Universalist Leader, May 1961-December 1961

Unitarian Register and Universalist Leader, May 1962-Midsummer 1962

Unitarian Universalist Register-Leader, October 1962-December 1962

Unitarian Universalist Register-Leader, January 1963-December 1963

Unitarian Universalist Register-Leader, January 1964-April 1964

Leader, May 1964-December 1964 with Register/Leader Spotlight

Leader, January 1965-April 1965 with Register/Leader Spotlight

The variously titled Universalist Leader and Christian Leader up through 1927 have entered the public domain and are easy to find. I’ll keep any eye out for issues between 1928 and 1953, and would appreciate leads.


6 Replies to “Found: Universalist Leader”

  1. There is so much rich stuff to discuss here. It would take me months. And I’m not even sure where to begin.

  2. For the artistic sensibility alone, start with the post-consolidation cover art.

  3. Miscellaneous things in no particular order…

    -> The post-consolidation cover art took a decidedly abstract turn.

    –> Pre-consolidation cover art, the Universalists seemed to have a fondness for photos of church buildings, and sometimes the people inside them. Not keen on building worship, but I do like the pics of people at worship.

    –> The earlier name of the First Universalist Church Denver was Kings Highway Universalist Church. What a name! I’m taking a guess that the name was a geographic reference, but it sounds VERY evangelical in a way that could still be turned Universalist. In an alternate time-line the Universalists had their own equivalent of Evangelical Friends International (evangelical Quakers), and King’s Highway would have been their popular church name.

    –> I noticed that De Vrje Gemeente (Community Church) of Amsterdam was mentioned as an international affiliate of the Universalist Church. Snooping around on-line, they were an independent liberal/modernist dissenting congregation cast off of the Dutch Reformed Church. I think the congregation still exists, although it looks like the building doubles as a concert venue.

    –> I noticed some wonderful links to the Universalist community in Japan. A connection whose present-day atrophy I think impoverishes us by its neglect.

    –> Articles in the Leader seemed thin on theology, spirituality, or spiritual practice. Which I think speaks volumes. Lots that looked like civic duty, service projects, and social duty. I don’t know why but it makes me think Rotary Club with hymns and liturgy.

  4. I’ll have to put that Dutch community church on my research list, as I know nothing about it other than what I saw in period directories. I wonder if the connection rests on Universalist Service Committee postwar relief work there? Did you see Japanese church interview from Love Unrelenting?

    As for the Leader, I think it was always more Saturday Evening Post than Christian Century. But that’s not to say it was theologically thin, or got thinner. Or maybe the Rotarians are more “religious” than we think? (Also, there are Esperantist Rotarians, so I’m happy with that.)

  5. -It wouldn’t surprise me if the Dutch church connection stemmed from Universalist Service Committee relief work after World War 2. Wells Bee told me a number of stories about how the Service Committee in the late 1940’s, sent to the Netherlands work-teams of college students under the supervision of more seasoned leaders. He said it was deeply formational for those involved.

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