1642Massachusetts Bay ColonyThe General Court voted that all masters of families do, once a week at least, catechize their children and servants in the grounds and principles of religion. AH 77/9 (2)
1680UTPlymouth, MAFirst Parish in Plymouth Colony voted that the deacons be requested to assist the minister in teaching the children uring the intermission on the Sabbath. AH 77/9 (2)
1740DunkardsThe Dunkards (believers of universal salvation) established a Sunday School in Ephrata, PA. Pennsylvania Universalist Dunkers establish what some believe is the first Sunday school in America. ( see Richard Eddy’s Universalism in America: A History, Vol I, p.37, Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1891). [AH 77/9 (3)]. ( see Richard Eddy’s Universalism in America: A History, Vol I, p.37, Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1891).
1759UVReilly, JamesUnion, or A Treatsie of the Consanguinity and Affinity Between Christ and the Church. London, 138 pp. An 1812 edition was printed in New York by S. & G. Bruce for the Society of United Christian Friends in New York with 216 pages. This book was a primary guide to Univesalist thought for John Murray and the Universalists of New Gloucester, Mass.
1763UTLindsey, TheophilusEstablished a Sunday school in Yorkshire, England. (Starts the Essex Street Unitarian Chapel in 1774)
1782UVTownsend, ShippieShippie Townsend(b. 1722) was a block-maker in Boston and became a Universalist about 1782. He appears to have been well-educated and preached as a layman occasionally in Boston and Gloucester. He gathered up about ten of his writings into one volume which he had published in 1794 called Gospel News. He may have been the first advocate of the theology of universal salvation in New England via the pen. He was married to Mehitable Whittemore, the grand daughter of Thomas Whittemore. He was a deacon of First Universalist Church of Boston and died of Yellow Fever in August of 1798. (Richard Eddy’s Universalism in America, Vol. I, 1891, pp. 265-266.) [Robertson]
1790UVRush, Dr. BenjaminEcumenical First Day or Sunday School Society to teach unschooled children reading, writing, arithmetic, religion.
1790UVConvention of Universalists, PhiladelphiaThe Philadelphia Convention of Universalists composed of seventeen persons from various states, including the Rev. John Murray from Gloucester, MA, agreed on this statement about education: The Instruction of Children.-We believe it to be the duty of all parents to instruct their children in the principles of the gospel, as the best means to inspire them with the love of virtue, and to promote in them good manners, and habits of industry and sobriety. As a necessary introduction to the knowledge of the gospel, we recommend the institution of a school, or schools, to be under the direction of every church; in which shall be taught reading, writing, arithmetic, and psalmody. We recommend, further, that provision be made for instructing poor children, in the said schools, gratis. As the fullest discovery of the perfections and will of God, and of the whole duty of man, is contained in the Bible, we wish that divine book to be read by the youth of our churches as early and frequently as possible; and that they should be instructed therein at stated meetings appointed for that purpose. (Richard Eddy's Universalism in America: A History, Vol. I, Boston: Universalist Publishing House, 1891, p300)
1790UVConvention of Universalists, PhiladelphiaAs part of their Plan of Church Government, they identified the role of teacher as follows: `The terms bishop, elder, minister, pastor, and teacher,' were held to be the same, intended only to express the different capacities in which the same officer is called to act. (Eddy, Vol. I, pp. 298-299)
1790UVPhiladelphia, Sunday School Society, or First-DayEstablished as an outreach to educate the children of the poor by Benjamin Rush (Universalist), Bishop White (Episcopalian), and Matthew Carey (Roman Catholic). [AH 77/9 (3)1
1811UTBartlett, JohnUnitarian minister who started two Sunday schools for poor children, one in the North End and the other in the western part of Boston. He was chaplain of the Almshouse on Leverett Street, Boston. Later that year, he was called to serve the Second Congregational Parish (Unitarian) in Marblehead, MA; but, before he left, he arranged with the Rev. Dr. Charles Lowell of the West Church (Unitarian) for the school in the western part of Boston to be taken over by the Gleaning Circle of the West Church. The Gleaning Circle was a women’s literary and humanitarian society. They continued the children’s schooling in the balcony of the church following Sunday services. At the time of its beginnings, the school was composed of all girls, and sewing was taught along with various school subjects. (See H. Archives on Bartlett and The West Church and its Ministers, Boston: Grosby, Nichols, and Co., 1856)
1813UTAdams, LydiaLydia Adams, a leader among the women of the Gleaning Circle of West Church of Boston (Unitarian), visited the Sunday school in Beverly, MA, to learn about their programs and bring back ideas to Boston. At that time the West Church’s school was called “The West-Boston Charity School” and several girls who were children of church members joined the initial fifteen girls from the poor community. This is an early example of members’ children attending Sunday school.
1823UTHenry Ware, Jr.The Association for Religious Improvement had been formed to organize a concerted outreach to the poor of Boston by the Unitarian churches. The Rev. Henry Ware, Jr., then pastor of the Second Church of Boston (Unitarian), is generally credited with starting the Association. Among other projects, the Association helped to start the Hancock Sabbath School.
1826UTTuckerman, Rev. Dr. JosephRsigned his ministry at the Chelsea, MA, Unitarian Church and became the first full time Minister-at-Large in Boston, hired by the Association for Religious Improvement and the American Unitarian Association. Religious education was a central focus of his ministry.
1826UTBoston Sunday School SocietyAt a teachers’ meeting of the Franklin Sabbath School on Dec. 16, 1826, Dr. Josiah Foster Flagg and F.T. Gray was asked to call together representatives from the various Unitarian Sabbath schools in Boston and the vicinity for the purpose of forming an association. Josiah Flagg (1722-1798) was graduated from Harvard in 1815 with an MD degree. He was a pioneer in dental surgery and a member of the Federal Street Church (Unitarian). (AH 77/1 and archives of the Countway Library at Harvard).
1827UTBoston Sunday School SocietyThe first meeting of 7 representatives from Sunday schools and Sabbath schools of Boston occurred in Dr. Flagg’s home in January. Present were Dr. J. F. Flagg of the Franklin Sabbath School, Frederick Tarrall Gray of the Hancock Sunday School, Thomas Hardy of the West Church’s Sunday School, L G. Pray of the 12th Congregational Church’s Sunday School, Dr. Davis of the Howard Sunday School, Dr. J. P. Spooner from the Brattle Square Church, and G. F. Thayer from the Federal Street Church. That next meeting took place in the vestry of the Federal St. Church (Berry Street) on Feb. 21, 1827. Deacon Moses Grant presided and Joseph Tuckerman led the opening prayer. Among the purposes for forming the association were the need to prepare teachers to teach in the Sabbath schools, the need for books other than the Trinitarian books being published by the American Sunday School Union, and the need to develop more Sunday schools in Unitarian churches. The group resolved to form an association and set up a committee to prepare a constitution.
1827UTBoston Sunday School SocietyThe organizing meeting on April 18, 1827, the proposed constitution was adopted and the name “Boston Sunday School Society” was chosen for the association. In November, Joseph Tuckerman was elected President; Moses Grant, V. P.; J. F. Flagg, Corresponding Secretary; and Frederick T. Gray, Recording Secretary. (AH 77/1). Dr. Flagg began to correspond with (and sometimes visit) various Unitarian churches, promoting the establishment of Sunday schools. (AH 77/1)
1828UTBoston Sunday School SocietyLinked with American Unitarian Association
1831UTBoston Sunday School SocietyBecame independent
1832UTBoston: Ministry at LargeCharles Francis Barnard (Unitarian ministerial student at Harvard at the time) joined Joseph Tuckerman in the Ministry-at-Large in Boston. Later that year, Frederic T. Gray joined them; and, still later, Robert C. Waterston was added to their ranks. The four divided up the city and visited the poor, providing aid and urging people to take advantage of the services and Sunday schools of nearby Unitarian churches and outreach chapels. Barnard began a Sabbath school for poor children in the parlor of Dorothea Dix’s home that year.
1832UTDix, DorotheaKnown as an educator in Boston, she had opened a school for girls in the city in 1821. Two decades later she began her campaign to reform the treatment of the mentally ill which made her famous. (See the 1989 edition of The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 4, p. 135).
1833UTBoston Sunday School SocietyBoston Sunday School Society changed to Sunday School Society
1834UTBenevolent Fraternity of Churches
1837UTBarnard, Sarah Holmes; Bowditch, Dr. Henry Bowditch
1837UTTodd, John(Pastor of the First Congregational Church, Philadelphia, author of Lectures to Children and Student’s Manual, etc.), The Sabbath School Teacher: Designed to Aid in Evaluating and Perfecting the Sabbath School System, North Hampton: Pub. by J.H. Butler; Philadelphia: W. Marshall & Co.; Buffalo: T.M. Butler, 432 pp. Probably not written by a Unitarian but for various faith groups of the period to share in the work of Sabbath schools for poor children.
1850UTMann, Horace(Field Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education), A Few Thoughts for a Young Man: A Lecture, Deliver Before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, on its 29th Anniversary. Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 84 pp. A basic theme is that knowledge can be used for good or for evil, so one should choose the good.