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The Center of Transcendentalism: Concord or Boston?

July 28, 2020 7:00 PM — 8:00 PM


Join us for a free virtual forum from the comfort of your home!

To participate in the question and answer session and chat with other viewers, please visit the Museum’s YouTube page.

John Buehrens, former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association, in conversation with Phyllis Cole, Professor Emerita, Penn State University, will discuss the radical social activism of Boston-based Transcendentalists including Elizabeth Peabody, Margaret Fuller, James Freeman Clarke, and Caroline Healey Dall who, among others, fought to lay the groundwork for democratic and progressive religion in America.

John Buehrens is past president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (1993 to 2001) and served at the First Parish in Needham from 2002 to 2012. He is one of the leading voices in Unitarian Universalism, having authored several previous books, including A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism and Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers and Religious Liberals. He has served congregations in Tennessee, Texas, New York City (All Souls) and prior to his recent retirement, San Francisco.

Phyllis Cole is Professor Emerita of English, Women’s Studies and American Studies at Penn State University. Dr. Cole’s fields of specialization include American Transcendentalism and nineteenth-century American women writers. Her book Mary Moody Emerson and the Origins of Transcendentalism: A Family History (Oxford UP, 1998) was named Finalist for the James Russell Lowell Prize of the Modern Language Association.  Still a productive scholar in retirement, she is a past President of the national Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and of the Margaret Fuller Society.


Reverend Buehren’s new book Conflagration: How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice is available for in-store and curbside pickup as well as shipping via Media Mail thanks to our partners at the Concord Bookshop.  Order your copy here.


Please note that this forum is virtual.  Participants will be emailed a link to watch the program live on Tuesday, July 28.

This is a free event.  Donations are encouraged to support the Concord Museum’s Education initiatives.

This program is supported in part by the Sally Lanagan Fund.


July 28
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm