Reverend Pearl May Patrick, an Indiana Progressive (1875-1962): One of America’s First Ordained Women

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This study uncovers the story of Rev. Pearl May Patrick a nineteenth-century born woman whose commitment to liberal religion and gender equity broke many religious and social barriers in Midwest America. She and her husband were Debsite socialists, ardent supports of progressive ideals and Christian Universalists focused on cultural and social change with emphasis on preaching the social gospel.


“This is a book that should be read by anyone interested in a fuller sense of America’s past. Dr. Brantlinger, a distinguished scholar of 19th century imperialism, has uncovered a now-forgotten history that will be a revelation not only to Hoosiers but also to anyone interested in the roots of Midwest radicalism. He explores how the Midwest was once a center for radical Christian ideas…
One of the great discoveries of this book is the remarkable life of Pearl May Patrick. Universalism offered her an intellectual and emotional escape from her narrow family life…”
-Dr. Eliza M. Mosher,
Emerita Professor of English, Women’s Studies and History,
University of Michigan

“Brantlinger’s examination of an under-studied region and period of American cultural history invites readers to re-introduce themselves to the American Midwest… Many of the social movers and shakers of the period, such as Eugene Debs are products of the Christian Universalism about which Brantlinger writes so effectively.”
-Dr. John J. Carter,
Dept. History and Political Science,
Central Methodist University, MO

"Patrick Brantlinger has written a loving loving tribute to his redoubtable grandmother, the Rev. Pearl May Patrick (1875-1962). In doing so, he has also recreated the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century era of Progressive thought in politics, economics, and religion."
Dr. Laura Carter Noble,
Villanova University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Martha Vicinus
1. Introduction
2. Beginnings: Pearl and DA
3. Pearl Finds Her Profession, a Husband and a New Family
4. Universalism in Indiana
5. Two Sermons
6. Chautauqua Days
7. The Social Gospel and Socialism
8. Votes for Women
9. Epilogue

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