Who are some well-known UUs?

Four United States presidents were Unitarians: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William Taft. Also, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, while they did not specifically identify with any organized religion, had UU leanings.

Other well-known UUs are listed below.
  • Margot Adler (1946-____).  Author, journalist, lecturer, Wiccan priestess and commentator on National Public Radio.
  • Conrad Aiken (1889-1973).  Poet and novelist.
  • Horatio Alger (1832-1899).  Writer of rags-to-riches books for boys.
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888).  Author of Little Women and other books.
  • Ralph Alpher (1921-2007).  Physicist who developed the “big bang” model of the universe in 1948.
  • Tom Andrews (1953- ____).  U.S. Representative from Maine, 1991-1995.
  • Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906).  Organizer of the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Adin Ballou (1803-1890). Critic of the injustices of capitalism.
  • George Bancroft (1800-1891). Founder of the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • P.T. Barnum (1810-1891). Well-known showman, owner of the Barnum and Bailey Circus, and a founder of Tufts University.
  • Béla Bartók (1881-1945). Hungarian composer.
  • Clara Barton (1821-1912).  Founder of the American Red Cross.
  • Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922).  Inventor of the telephone; founder of Bell Telephone Company.
  • Henry Bergh (1811-1888).  A founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
  • Tim Berners-Lee (1955-____).  Inventor of the worldwide web.
  • Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914). Early twentieth century writer of Civil War stories. Disappeared attempting to join Pancho Villa’s revolutionary army in Mexico.
  • Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838). Mathematician, navigator, astronomer.
  • Ray Bradbury (1920-____).  Science fiction writer.
  • William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878). Author and newspaper editor.
  • Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844). Architect of the United States Capitol building.
  • Luther Burbank (1849-1926). American botanist of the early twentieth century.
  • Robert Burns (1759-1796). Scottish poet and song writer.
  • Rachel Carson (1907-1964). Author of Silent Spring (1962), which condemned the indiscriminate use of pesticides, especially DDT.
  • William Ellery Channing (1780-1842). Abolitionist, founder of Unitarianism in America.
  • William Cohen (1940-____). Secretary of Defense during Clinton administration.
  • Norman Cousins (1915-1990). Humanitarian, author and editor of the Saturday Review of Literature. In “Anatomy of an Illness” he described how he drew on laughter to overcome a near fatal illness.
  • E.E. Cummings (1894-1962). Twentieth century American poet, noted for his unorthodox style and technique.
  • Nathaniel Currier (1813-1888). Lithographer, partner of James Merritt Ives.
  • Clarence Darrow (1837-1958). Attorney who argued against William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes evolution trial (1925).
  • Charles Darwin (1809-1882). Scientist and evolutionist, author of Origin of the Species.
  • John Dewey (1859-1952). Regarded as the father of progressive education in America.
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870). English novelist.
  • John H. Dietrich (1978-1957). Humanist. Along with Curtis Reese and Charles Potter, founded the American Humanist Association in 1933.
  • 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, 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, printer.
  • Robert Fulghum (1937-____). Author of Everything I Wanted to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and other books.
  • 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.
  • William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879). Abolitionist, editor of The Liberator.
  • Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) (1904-1991). Writer, cartoonist, animator for children's literature.
  • Charlotte Gilman (1860-1935). Writer, social reformer. Major work was Women and Economics (1898) which focused on the need for women to gain economic independence.
  • Horace Greeley (1811-1872). Journalist, politician, editor, and owner of the New York Tribune, champion of labor unions and cooperatives.
  • Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909). Unitarian minister and author of The Man Without a Country.
  • Andrew Hallidie (1836-1900). Inventor of the cable car.
  • Henry Hampton (1940-1988). Writer, film-maker. Producer and director of civil rights documentary, Eyes on the Prize.
  • Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911). Early twentieth century black author,poet, abolitionist, and women’s rights advocate.
  • Bret Harte (1836-1902). Writer, author of The Luck of Roaring Camp.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864). Nineteenth-century American novelist, 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, 1902–32.
  • Mark Hopkins (1802-1887). Educator, theologian. Teacher of moral philosophy and later president of Williams College.
  • 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.
  • Lewis Lattimer (1849-1928). African-American inventor who worked with Edison inventing numerous items associated with the light bulb.
  • Margaret Laurence (1926-1987). Author. Her most famous books were the Manawaka series: The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, and others.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882). Poet, author of Paul Revere’s Ride.
  • John Locke (1632-1704). English philosopher, considered the first of the Britich empiricists and important to social contract theory.
  • James Russell Lowell (1819-1891). Noted nineteenth century poet,anti-slavery leader, and Unitarian minister.
  • Horace Mann (1796-1859). A leader in the public school movement,founder of the first public school in America in Lexington, Mass; President of Antioch College; U.S. Congressman.
  • John Marshall (1755-1835). Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
  • Thomas Masaryk (1850-1937). The first president of Czechoslovakia(1920); proponent of democracy and social justice.
  • Herman Melville (1819-1891). Writer, author of Moby Dick.
  • John Milton (1608-1674). English poet, author, polemicist and civil servant. Best known for epic poem Paradise Lost and for Areopagitica, his treatise condemning censorship.
  • Chris Moore. Founder and director of Chicago Children’s Choir.
  • Samuel Morse (1791-1872). Inventor of the telegraph and Morse Code.
  • Paul Newman (1925-2008). Actor in more than 60 films, film director, auto racing enthusiast, humanitarian, entrepreneur. Won Academy Award for Best Actor for The Color of Money (1986).
  • Isaac Newton (1643-1727). English physicist, mathematician, astronmer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian. Laid groundwork for most of classical mechanics, describing universal gravitation and the three laws of motion that dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries.
  • Thomas Paine (1737-1809). Editor and publisher of Common Sense.
  • Theodore Parker (1810-1860). A renegade Unitarian minister of the mid-nineteenth century and a leading figure of the Abolitionist movement in the Boston area.
  • Linus Pauling (1901-1994). Chemist. Won Nobel Peace Prize, 1962.
  • Beatrix Potter (1866-1943). Author of Peter Rabbit and other children’s stories.
  • Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). Discoverer of oxygen, Unitarian minister.
  • James Reeb (1927-1965). Killed at Selma, Alabama civil rights demonstration.
  • Christopher Reeve (1952-2004). Actor, director, producer, writer, lobbyist and research center founder on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries.
  • Paul Revere (1735-1818). Silversmith and patriot.
  • Malvina Reynolds (1900-1978). Social activist. Along with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, wrote Little Boxes.
  • Elliot Richardson (1920-1999). Former Secretary of Health,Education and Welfare; former Attorney General (1973).
  • Tim Robbins (1958-____). Film actor, director, and writer. Either acted in, wrote, directed, or composed songs in Bob Roberts, Shawshank Redemption,and Dead Man Walking.
  • Benjamin Rush (1745-1813). Signer of the Declaration of Independence; physician, considered to be the “Father of American Psychiatry.”
  • Carl Sandberg (1878-1967). Poet, writer, folklorist. Wrote Chicago(1914) and won Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Lincoln.
  • Margaret Sanger (1879-1966). Birth control advocate. Founded the Birth Control Review in 1916. Helped establish 300 doctor-staffed medical clinics. Assisted in founding Planned Parenthood.
  • May Sarton (1912-1995). Poet, writer. Wrote Endgame: A Journal of the Seventy-Ninth Year (1992).
  • Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965). German theologian, musician, philosopher and physician.
  • Pete Seeger (1919-____). Songwriter, singer, and social activist.
  • Rod Serling (1924-1975). Television scriptwriter. Author of 200 television plays. Won six Emmy awards.
  • Robert Shaw (1916-1999). Founder of Robert Shaw Chorale; assistant conductor of Cleveland Orchestra; conductor of Atlanta Symphony.
  • Ted Sorenson (1928-____). Speechwriter and aide to John F. Kennedy.
  • Charles Steinmetz (1865-1923). Electrical engineer; holder of 200 patents; known for his theoretical studies of alternating current.
  • George Stephenson (1781-1848). English engineer. Invented the first locomotive.
  • Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965). Governor of Illinois; candidate for President of the United States; U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
  • Gilbert Charles Stuart (1755-1828). Artist. Best known for his portrait of George Washington.
  • Sylvanus Thayer (1785-1872). Engineer. Founded U.S. Military Academy.
  • Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). Essayist and naturalist. Author of Walden Pond.
  • Clyde Tombaugh (1906-1997). Astronomer. Discovered the ninth 'planet', Pluto.
  • Hendrik Wilhem Van Loon (1882-1944). Historian and author.
  • Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007). Writer. Author of Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • Daniel Webster (1782-1852). Orator; U.S. Senator; Secretary of State;candidate for President of the United States.
  • Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795). English potter. Founder ofWedgwood Pottery.
  • Walt Whitman (1819-1892). American poet, essayist, journalist and humanist. Called the Father of Free Verse.
  • William Carlos Williams (1883-1963). Physician and poet.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959). Architect.
  • Owen D. Young (1874-1962). Chairman of General Electric Company.
  • Whitney Young (1921-1971). Head of the Urban League.
Adapted from "100 Questions That Non-Members Ask About Unitarian Universalism," Copyright © 1994-2000 by the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Nashua, New Hampshire. All rights reserved.