“I am going to do it": The Complex Question of Action in Theology and Science in the Life of America's First Woman Minister, Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921)
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CitationHutton, Nancy Sue. 2015. “I am going to do it": The Complex Question of Action in Theology and Science in the Life of America's First Woman Minister, Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Divinity School.
AbstractAntoinette Brown Blackwell (1825-1921) became one of the most outspoken and remarkable women of her era: an ordained minister, a published author, a prominent public speaker, and a philosophical thinker whose writings described and explicated her syntheses of theology and science. Her life was punctuated by “firsts” that have significance within women’s history as evidence of female success in what were then male-dominated arenas. In this dissertation I propose that the arguments that Brown Blackwell presented on behalf of women’s rights can be understood as a synthesis of Rev. Charles Grandison Finney’s religious teachings around doing with science-based theories that she believed revealed validating evidence about women’s nature and abilities to do. After the publication of her book, The Sexes Throughout Nature (1875), her contributions to women’s rights movements and her books were less documented by historians, perhaps because she was less focused on suffrage. I argue that during that time, her contributions to woman’s rights were nevertheless significant as she worked among women who resonated with her religious sensibilities, agendas, and rhetoric: while many actively supported woman’s suffrage, most did not. In advancing woman’s rights, Brown Blackwell used rhetoric that synthesized her Finney-inspired ideals with her interpretations of science. This dissertation will add to the existing scholarship about women’s rights, by recognizing the existence and thoughts of the thousands of religious women who contributed to woman’s rights, even if they all did not support suffrage, as an outward expression of their inward piety.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:15821955