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Heresies Special Collection: Home

Heresies UU Women Special CollectionUnitarian Universalism is a proudly heretical tradition. The word heresy comes from the Greek word meaning “to choose,” and our heritage is one of choice makers. However, in a patriarchal society that limits women’s choices, the very act of women choosing to lead has long been heretical, even in a movement of heretics. Heresies: The UU Women’s Special Collection is an archive dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of the women who have strengthened and grown Unitarianism, Universalism, and Unitarian Universalism.

This special collection seeks to amend the ways in which archives often have marginalized women’s perspectives and stories. Heresies tells the story of UU women leaders by preserving the personal papers and organizational records that speak to the experience of Unitarian Universalist women, including those who have historically been underrepresented within the faith, such as women of color; lesbian, bisexual, and queer women; trans women; and disabled women. We will tell this story on their terms. Through careful and thoughtful acquisitions, cataloging, and digitizing, Heresies will make accessible the impact of Unitarian Universalist women upon liberal religion and world history.

Heresies is advised by a committee of UU religious professionals, lay Unitarian Universalists, and other stakeholders who assist in acquiring archival materials, raising funds to support the collection, and strengthening the connection of Heresies to the larger community of Unitarian Universalist women. As Heresies grows, so will our understanding of it and the role it plays within Unitarian Universalism.

Using the Heresies Special Collection

With few exceptions, the entirety of the Heresies Special Collection is open to researchers. Archives staff will inform you if there are any donor placed restrictions on access to a particular collection.

Ask an Archivist

If you have any questions about the Meadville Lombard Archives and Special Collections, just ask!

We can help with...

  • Scheduling an archive visit
  • Accessing archival materials
  • Using our digital archive tools
  • Answering reference questions
  • Scanning selections of documents
  • Donating archival material to Meadville Lombard
  • Creating archives at your local congregation

Steering Committee

Each Special Collection is guided by a steering committee. The chair of the Heresies Steering Committee is Rev. Carolyn Owen-Towle. To contact her, email Rev. Owen-Towle here. 

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