Two new books offer resources, insight for Unitarian Universalist historians.
Courtesy Rowman & Littlefield
Historical Dictionary of Unitarian Universalism, 2nd edition by Mark W. Harris (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018; $140)
Available in hardback and as an e-book, this invaluable resource for UU historians provides 400 cross-referenced entries on the people, places, organizations, events, and trends significant to the history of the UU faith. The revised second edition includes eighty new entries and updates to many previous ones. Some topics—such as black UUs, British Unitarians, and UUs active in the 1960s and ’70s—have been greatly expanded. The book also includes a list of acronyms and abbreviations (always handy when discussing UU topics), a chronology of notable events, and several useful appendices.
The Rev. Mark W. Harris, senior minister of First Parish of Watertown, Massachusetts, is the author of several UU history books and is an adjunct professor at Harvard Divinity School. —S.C.
The Crusade for Forgotten Souls: Reforming Minnesota’s Mental Institutions 1946–1954 by Susan Bartlett Foote (University of Minnesota, 2018; $22.95)
Straitjackets. Lobotomies. Beatings. Involuntary commitment for being poor or pregnant out-of-wedlock. Conditions in Minnesota’s mental institutions during the mid-twentieth century were grim. But Minnesota Unitarians, including the Rev. Arthur Foote, minister at Unity Unitarian Church in St. Paul, joined forces with an attendant at a mental hospital in championing reform. This compelling book reveals the unsung efforts by Minnesota Unitarians in the 1940s as they made common cause with the Republican governor, becoming his strongest backers in efforts for compassionate care for the mentally ill. The author, professor emerita in the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota, is the former daughter-in-law of Foote, to whom she dedicates the book. —E.M.
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Elaine McArdle is a UU World senior editor and a member of First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she has also written for the Boston Globe, Harvard Law Bulletin, and others.
Sonja L. Cohen is deputy managing editor of UU World and a lifelong Unitarian Universalist.
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