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News, events, updates, and tidbits from the Presbyterian Historical Society. Use tags to read related articles or sort by author for similar posts written by PHS staff members and volunteers.

March 16, 2018

Louisa M. Woosley is the first woman minister of record from an American Presbyterian denomination. Ordained in the late nineteenth century despite the prevailing social norms of that time, she serves today as an inspiration for anyone trying to break through a glass ceiling.

In 1874, at age 12, Louisa Mariah Layman first felt the calling to ministry during a Baptist revival meeting. “Not having so much as ever heard of a lady preacher,” she later wrote in ...

February 24, 2018

The Presbyterian Historical Society contains over 32,000 cubic feet of archival materials. Items from around the world have found a safe home here since the 19th century, when the foundations of today’s collections were laid by two Samuels, one in the North and one in the South: Samuel Agnew and Samuel Tenney. The collectors led very different lives, and yet they had one important thing in common: both were lovers of Presbyterian history.

Samuel Agnew was born in central Pennsylvania in 1820. He moved to Philadelphia and is reported to have made a lot of money early in his life...

November 20, 2017

Quick trivia question: what language was the first Bible in the Western Hemisphere printed in? The answer is Algonquin—to be precise, the Natick dialect of Algonquin.

Today you can find a “Made in the U.S.A.” Bible in nearly every hotel room in America; most Gideon Bibles, for example, are printed in the Nashville area. But Bible publishing in the

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October 17, 2017

In October 2017, Presbyterians will celebrate the 500th anniversary of a pre-digital tweet storm: Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. The theses, which criticized the sale of indulgences by church officials, are considered the opening salvo in the Protestant Reformation, a movement that emphasized individual relationships with God and salvation through faith alone.

Luther was an early adapter of the printing press—the social media of the sixteenth century—and the most widely shared writer of his...

June 5, 2017

The Presbyterian Historical Society has significant ecumenical appeal. Not only is PHS the official record holder for non-Presbyterian groups such as the Federal and National Council of Churches, the American Sunday School Union, and the Religious News Service, we work with hundreds of patrons each year from beyond the denomination.

But it is the national offices of the PC...

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