Historical reformist anthology to download

Looking for something else, I found an anthology by John Greenleaf Adams, a Universalist minister, called Our Day: A Gift for the Times (1848), an anthology of reformist literature by some of the greats of Universalist and Unitarian history, though I don’t see an mention of the denominational affiliation of the writers.

Even in only a few minutes, I was taken by little glints of a modern sensibility come through.

  • John Greenleaf Adams denounced capital punishment using two arguments — it hasn’t been shown to deter crime and it brutalizes society — live in anti-capital-punishment campaigns today.
  • Mary Livermore contributed a mortality tale about a dissolute husband ripe for Jerry Springer.
  • A “Rev. C. Stetson” wrote about the “alleged inferiority of the African race” and starts with a familiar discussion of the n-word.
  • Adams wrote an article about Thomas Clarkson, recently deceased (1846), who was a leading partner in the Claphamite action against slavery in Great Britain.

Horace Greely and Theodore Parker submitted articles, too.

Download the book as a PDF here.

Categorized as Universalism

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. The Rev. C. Stetson preceded me in the pulpit here in Norwell. He also famously made Ralph Waldo Emerson crack up during an installation service, and belonged to the Transcendentalist Club. That’s my boo right there.

  2. Sounds like our kind of guy.

    I wonder who were Norwell’s free blacks were? Stetson makes it plain that most town had one or a few, whose quality of life was often made miserable by the local youths. I can imagine him scolding a few from the pulpit now entrusted to you.

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