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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.

November 12, 2018

It was the book that caused a riot and a war. Prior to the 1637 publication of the Book of Common Prayer, the Church of Scotland was a hodgepodge of reformed theology and Episcopalian government. It had presbyteries and synods, but also bishops.

However, most churches in Scotland used John Knox’s Book of Common Order, also known as Knox’s Liturgy, instead of...

September 27, 2018

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is made up of many different denominations that came together over time. Some were large, such as the United Presbyterian Church of North America or the Presbyterian Church in the United States. Others were small, such as the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church that started in Wales and joined the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) in 1920. All connect back to the Reformed theology that emerged in Europe in the sixteenth century.

Beginnings

In the eighteenth century a lack of colleges and seminaries in Wales forced many...

June 29, 2018

In an isolated part of Brazil, on the evening of Friday, October 4 1957, John Stout looked at the skies and took the first photographs of the earth-orbiting Sputnik I. In fact, he took 400 photographs with equipment that cost only $10.

The Soviet Union's launch of the satellite brought the Cold War to a fever pitch, with more than just national pride at stake. The Soviets were poised to...

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...

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