Unitarians You Might Know
Alphabetical (by last name) List of Famous Unitarians
- Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), abolitionist and the author of Little Women and other books.
- Horatio Alger (1832-1899), writer of rags-to-riches books for boys.
- Tom Andrews (1953- ), U.S. Representative from Maine 1991-1995.
- Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), activist and the organizer of the women’s suffrage movement.
- Hossea Ballou (1771-1852), Universalist minister.
- George Bancroft (1800-1891), founder of the U.S. Naval Academy.
- P.T. Barnum (1810-1891), well-known showman, the owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, and a founder of Tufts University.
- Clara Barton (1821-1912), founder of the American Red Cross.
- Béla Bartók (1881-1945), Hungarian composer.
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), inventor of the telephone, founder of the Bell Telephone Company.
- Henry Bergh (1811-1888), a founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
- Sir Tim Berners-Lee (1955- ), physicist, inventor of the World Wide Web.
- Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), science fiction writer.
- Peter Brock (1920-2006), Historian, pacifist, and scholar.
- William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), author and newspaper editor.
- Luther Burbank (1849-1926), American Botanist of the early 20th century.
- Robert Burns (1759-1796), Scottish poet and songwriter.
- William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), abolitionist, founder of Unitarianism in America.
- Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) (1982- ), musician.
- William Cohen (1940- ), U.S. Secretary of Defense 1979-1997.
- James Coyne (1910-2012), Governor of the Bank of Canada 1955-1961.
- e.e. cummings (1894-1962), 20th century American painter and poet who is noted for his unorthodox style and technique.
- Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888), lithographer and partner of James Merritt Ives.
- Charles Darwin (1809-1882), scientist and evolutionist, author of Origin of the Species.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist.
- Charles Dickens (1812-1870), English novelist.
- Dorothea Dix (1802-1887), crusader for the reform of institutions for the mentally ill.
- Don Edwards (1915- ), U.S. Representative from California for three decades.
- Charles William Eliot (1834-1926), president of Harvard, editor of the Harvard Classics.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Unitarian minister, philosopher, and essayist.
- Edward Everett (1794-1865), president of Harvard, governor of Massachusetts, UU minister.
- Fannie Farmer (1857-1915), cooking expert.
- Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), scientist, writer, statesman, and printer.
- Robert Fulghum (1937- ), writer and Unitarian minister who is the author of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
- Margaret Fuller (1810-1850), a feminist before her time. Leading figure in the Transcendentalist movement and an editor of “The Dial” along with Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), inventor and futurist.
- William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), abolitionist and the editor of The Liberator.
- Horace Greeley (1811-1872), journalist, politician, editor and owner of the New York Tribune, and champion of labor unions and cooperatives.
- Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), Norwegian composer.
- Gary Gygax (1938-2008), creator of Dungeons and Dragons.
- Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909), Unitarian minister and author of “The Man Without a Country.”
- Edmond Halley (1656-1742), astronomer and the discoverer of Halley’s comet
- Bret Harte (1836-1902), writer and the author of The Luck of Roaring Camp.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864), 19th century American novelist and the author of “The Scarlet Letter.”
- John Haynes Holmes (1879-1964), co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), lawyer and member of the U.S. Supreme Court (1902-1932).
- Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910), composer of Battle Hymn of the Republic.
- Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876), pioneer in working with the deaf and blind.
- Abner Kneeland (1774-1844), advocate of land reform, public education, and birth control.
- Margaret Laurence (1926-1987), Canadian author.
- Arthur Lismer (1885-1969), Canadian painter, member of the Group of Seven.
- Dorothy Livesay (1909-1996), Canadian poet.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), poet and author of “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
- Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-1990), Canadian humanitarian, founder of USC Canada (now Seeds of Change).
- James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), noted 19th century poet, anti-slavery leader, and Unitarian minister.
- John Marshall (1755-1835), Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
- Herman Melville (1819-1891), writer and the author of “Moby Dick.”
- John Molson (1763-1836), Canadian brewer, member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada.
- Samuel Morse (1791-1872), inventor of the telegraph and Morse Code.
- Robert Munsch (1945- ), Canadian author and the author of “Love You Forever” and “The Paper Bag Princess.”
- Paul Newman (1925-2008), actor.
- Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726), physicist and mathematician.
- Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), British nurse and hospital reformer.
- Thomas Paine (1737-1809), editor and publisher of “Common Sense.”
- Theodore Parker (1810-1860), a renegade Unitarian minister of the mid-19th century and a leading figure of the Abolitionist movement in the Boston area.
- Linus Pauling (1901-1994), chemist who won the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize.
- Randy Pausch (1960-2008), computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, author of “The Last Lecture.”
- William Perry (1927- ), former Secretary of Defense.
- Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), poet, author of “The Bell Jar.”
- Beatrix Potter (1866-1943), conservationist and the author of “Peter Rabbit” and other children’s stories.
- Joseph Priestly (1733-1804), scientist and the discoverer of oxygen.
Christopher Reeve (1952-2004), actor who is best known for his portrayal of Superman.
- Paul Revere (1735-18 (18), silversmith and patriot.
- Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), signer of the Declaration of Independence; physician considered to be the “Father of American Psychiatry.”
- May Sarton (1912-1995), poet, author.
- Alyson Schafer (), Canadian parenting expert, TV host, author of “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Honey, I Wrecked the Kids,” and “Breaking the Good Mom Myth.”
- Pete Seeger (1919-2014), songwriter, singer, and social activist.
- Rod Serling (1924-1975), screenwriter, TV producer.
- Michael Servetus (1511-1553), theologian, Unitarian martyr.
- Ted Sorenson (1928-2010), speech writer and aide to John F. Kennedy.
- Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1979-1962), arctic explorer, champion of Native American rights.
- George Stephenson (1781-1848), English engineer, invented the first locomotive.
- Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965), Governor of Illinois, candidate for President, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Emily Stowe (1813-1903), Toronto physician, the first female physician to practise in Canada, the second licensed female physician in Canada, and an activist for women’s rights and suffrage.
- Margaret Sutton (aka Rachel Beebe) (1903-2001), author of children’s books, including the Judy Bolton series.
- Sylvanus Thayer (1785-1872), engineer who founded U.S. Military Academy.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), essayist and naturalist who is the author of “Walden Pond.”
- Luigi Von Kunits (1870-1931), founder and conductor of the Toronto Symphony, violinist.
- Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), writer who is the author of “Slaughterhouse-Five.”
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), poet, educator, author of “Paul Revere’s Ride.”
- Zach Wahls (1991- ), activist, author of “My Two Moms.”
- Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), British potter.
- Dawud Wharnsby (1972- ), Canadian musician.
- Walt Whitman (1819-1892), poet, humanist.
- Dr. Joseph Workman (1805-1894), Toronto psychiatrist, educator, mental health advocate, co-founder of the Toronto Unitarian congregation.
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), architect.
- N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), illustrator.
- John II Sigismund Zápolya (1540-1570), King of Hungary.
Five United States Presidents were Unitarians:
- John Adams
- Thomas Jefferson
- John Quincy Adams
- Millard Fillmore
- William Taft
While he did not specifically identify with any organized religion, Abraham Lincoln had Universalist leanings.