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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.

April 16, 2021
Lois Stair, General Assembly 183, Rochester, NY, 1971. [Pearl ID: 175778]

“Well, here I am, filled with amazement and gratitude, and standing in need of prayer.” 

Presbyterian Elder Lois Harkrider Stair had just been elected as the first woman to serve as General Assembly moderator of a U.S. Presbyterian denomination. The year was...

April 13, 2021
Margaret Towner wearing Reverend Forster Freeman's pulpit robe with cross, October 24, 1956. View in Pearl.

"Don't be the pet lamb of the congregation."

On January 20, 1978, longtime friend of PHS Ed Wicklein sat down with Margaret Ellen Towner for a brief interview on her early experiences as the first woman ordained as a minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. Reflecting on twenty years of her ministry and change inside the...

March 8, 2021

On March 4, Robert D. Stoddard, Jr. joined PHS Director of Communications Fred Tangeman for a conversation about his new book, Sarah and Her Sisters: American Missionary Pioneers in Arab Female Education, 1834-1937

Sarah Huntington Smith organized a school for girls that would revolutionize female education in the Near East and begin bending the cultural arch toward female equality. Stoddard's recent history, Sarah and Her Sisters: American Missionary...

March 4, 2021
“It is not always an easy task to affirm that even a murderer is a child of God, but we know that it is true. There is no act, no matter how vicious, that entirely blots out that identity.” –Murphy Davis to the Associated Press, 1986

We remember Murphy Davis, advocate for death row inmates and the homeless, who died last October. A Presbyterian minister, ordained in 1976, she and her husband Ed Loring took on as their life's work the practice of living in solidarity with the poor. In 1981 they founded...

February 12, 2021

--By Robert D. Stoddard, Jr.

How can a school celebrate a milestone anniversary without knowing its history?

That was my dilemma in 1999 when, as the Lebanese American University vice president responsible for commemorating our seventy-fifth anniversary as a college, I could uncover precious little of the Presbyterian-related school’s history. Upon my retirement in 2005, I sought to verify the belief that LAU could trace its origin to a school for girls founded by a

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