Spencer, Anna Carpenter Garlin

Spencer, Anna Carpenter Garlin

Anna Carpenter Garlin Spencer (Apr. 17, 1851-Feb. 12, 1931) was born in Attleboro, Mass., and grew up in Providence, R.I. After public school and "private collegiate work," she taught school in Providence (1869-71), wrote articles for the Providence Daily Journal, and made public appearances as a speaker. On Aug. 15, 1878, she married William Henry Spencer, a Unitarian minister. After her marriage, she sometimes delivered sermons in her husband's churches (Haverhill, Florence, and Scituate, Mass., and Troy, N.Y.). In 1891, she became the minister of the Bell Street Chapel (Independent) in Providence. She was the first woman ordained in Rhode Island. In 1902, she moved with her husband and family to New York City. Joining the New York Society for Ethical Culture, she became its associate director in 1904; she left this position in 1912. She was Professor of Sociology and Ethics at the Meadville Theological School (1913-18), lecturer at the University of Chicago (1918), and from 1920 until her death, a special lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University. Active in many reform movements and charities, she was a champion of women's rights and a pacifist. [Photo: bMS 1446/212]

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