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Ballou, Adin (23 April 1803–05 August 1890), Universalist clergyman, reformer, and founder of Hopedale Community, was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island, the son of Ariel Ballou and Edilda Tower, farmers. A largely self-educated preacher, Ballou’s earliest religious experience was Calvinist in nature, and he later recalled the “very solemnizing effect” of the preaching he heard as a youth. At about age eleven, however, Ballou experienced a religious conversion, and a year later he was baptized into a Christian Connection church that emphasized a more enthusiastic and fundamentalist religiosity. Ballou developed a deep interest in religious matters over the next several years and eventually became a self-proclaimed preacher. At age eighteen, in the autumn of 1821, he was received into the fellowship of the Connecticut Christian Conference, a Christian Connection body. In 1822 he married Abigail Sayles; they had two children before Abigail died in 1829....

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Cadbury, Henry Joel (01 December 1883–07 October 1974), New Testament scholar and pacifist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joel Cadbury, Jr., a partner in a successful plumbing business, and Anna Kaighn Lowry. The Cadburys were members of a large transatlantic Quaker family, and Henry Cadbury grew up attending Quaker schools. In 1899 he graduated from Penn Charter, in 1903 from Haverford College, and 1904 from Harvard University with a master’s degree in Greek....

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Dahlberg, Edwin Theodore (27 December 1892–06 September 1986), pastor, was born in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, the son of Elof Dahlberg and Christine Ring, farmers. The youngest of four children, Dahlberg was raised on a Swedish Baptist farm until age ten, when the family moved to Minneapolis. He was baptized in the Olivet Baptist Church (now University Baptist Church) and graduated in 1914 from the University of Minnesota, where Rutledge Thornton Wiltbank, pastor of the Olivet Baptist Church and psychology professor at the university, inspired him to enter the ministry....

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Galamison, Milton Arthur (25 Mar. 1923–9 Mar. 1988), Presbyterian minister, civil rights leader, and community activist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Gladstone Galamison, a postal worker, and Dorothy Galamison, a clothier. Galamison grew up in poverty, which he attributed not to the Great Depression but rather to his father’s abandoning his family. After his parents separated Galamison lived with his maternal grandmother and aunt....

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John Haynes Holmes, c. 1939–1941. Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112447).

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Holmes, John Haynes (29 November 1879–03 April 1964), Unitarian and later independent minister and a leading advocate of pacifism, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Marcus M. Holmes, a businessman, and Alice Haynes. Holmes was educated at Harvard College (A.B. 1902) and Harvard Divinity School (S.T.B. 1904) and entered the Unitarian ministry, holding early pastorates at Danvers (1902–1904) and Dorchester (1904–1907), Massachusetts, before moving in 1907 to the Church of the Messiah in New York City, where his influence as a minister dedicated to social reform began to be felt. In 1904 he married Madeleine Baker, with whom he had two children....

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Lathrop, John Howland (06 June 1880–20 August 1967), Unitarian minister and peace advocate, was born in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Arthur D. Lathrop, a banker, and Alice McDora Osborne. At seventeen Lathrop started a two-year stint in a wholesale grocery house in Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended alternately the congregation of Moses J. Gries, a celebrated Reform rabbi, and the Unitarian church of Marion E. Murdoch, the first woman to receive a B.D. degree from Meadville Theological School in Pennsylvania (relocated to Chicago in 1926). Following in Murdoch’s footsteps, Lathrop attended Meadville, graduating in 1903. Moving on to Harvard University, where he started as a junior, Lathrop was profoundly influenced by the philosopher ...

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Murray, Orson S. (23 October 1806–14 June 1885), Baptist minister, editor, and radical reformer, was born in Orwell, Vermont, the son of Jonathan Murray and Rosalinda Bascom, farmers. Murray grew up impoverished on a hardscrabble farm in Orwell, obtaining only a few years of schooling. His parents were devout Free Will Baptists, and as a teenager Murray felt called to the Baptist ministry. In 1828 he married Catherine Maria Higgins; the couple had nine children. Determined to have a classical education, he returned to school at the Shoreham and Castleton academies, completing his studies in 1832....

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Smith, Fred Burton (24 December 1865–04 September 1936), YMCA leader and reformer, was born in Lone Tree, Iowa, the son of Robert Ames Smith and Endora Dinwiddie, farmers. He briefly attended Hiatt’s Academy, Williams Business College, and the State University of Iowa, all in Iowa City, the last because he was recruited to play baseball. When his family moved to the Dakota Territory in 1882, his formal education ended. In 1886 Smith married Minnie (Mary) Agnes Colvin; they had five children....

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Swomley, John Montgomery, Jr. (31 May 1915–16 August 2010), methodist minister and peace activist, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to John Montgomery Swomley, Sr., and Florence Edna Forsyth Swomley. He grew up active in his local Methodist church, attended Harrisburg public schools, and entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at age seventeen. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1936, he enrolled at Dickinson Law School but withdrew during the first year. Instead he attended Boston University School of Theology in 1938–1939, where he became a pacifist, student activist organizer, and the vice president of the National Council of Methodist Youth (NCMY). After a brief summer experience as an assistant pastor in Dearborn, Michigan, he began in 1940 a long career with the Fellowship of Reconciliation, an interfaith peace activist organization, where he served as the youth secretary in the national office in New York City, as well as retaining his position with the NCMY....