Antoinette Brown Ordained by Congregationalists
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Antoinette Brown (1825-1921) completed the theology course at Oberlin College in 1850, although the faculty refused to allow her to graduate because she was a woman.

On Sept. 15, 1853, after serving as an itinerant preacher and lecturer, Brown finally was ordained by a small Congregational church in South Butler, N.Y. She was not only the first clergywoman ordained in the Congregationalist denomination (now the United Church of Christ) but also in any major Protestant denomination.

Brown left the next year, citing health reasons and doctrinal doubts. In 1856, she married Samuel C. Blackwell and the two joined the Unitarian Church, where she became a frequent speaker.

In 2003, on the 150th anniversary of Brown’s ordination, the United Church of Christ had 2,832 ordained women serving as active clergy, comprising 27 percent of all its active clergy.
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Women and Religion
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Women and Religion in American History
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Timeline Entries for the same religious group Congregationalists (UCC)
Congregationalists (UCC): Other ARDA Links


Antoinette Brown portrait- Hathi Trust- from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, vol 1 by James Grant Wilson and John Fiske

Antoinette Brown portrait- Library of Congress, Rare Book and Special Collection Division, NAWSA Miller Scrapbook Collection
Web Source(s)
Encyclopedia Britannica, "Antoinette Brown Blackwell"
Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography, "Antoinette Brown Blackwell"
The United Church of Christ website, "UCC celebrates an anniversary: 150 years of women clergy"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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