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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...

March 14, 2018

Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The preceding verse of scripture provides an apt description of Margaret Purchase, a missionary, Christian educator, and activist. The Margaret Purchase Papers (RG 501) speak to the remarkable life of a woman over the span of seven decades. The papers document Ms. Purchase’s missionary service in Iraq and Lebanon,...

February 15, 2018

PHS has recently transferred to digital video a rare 16mm print of Sunday on the Children's Corner, the first television program to feature the piano and puppeteering of Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, supporting his creative partner, Josie Carey.

Carey was born Josephine Vicari on 20 August 1930 in Pittsburgh. She was one of the first employees of WQED, beginning work six months before the station went on...

November 3, 2017

--by Linda Louise Bryan

I recently visited the Presbyterian Historical Society’s archives in search of Miss Harriet N. Phillips, whom I already knew from other contexts was a single white woman with a great desire to serve God and humankind. At 19th century missions, a woman was definitely in a man’s world, and yet females such as Phillips did a great deal of the mission work. I admire these unsung ladies, one of whose virtue and sacrifice I sing for you today.

PHS has records of Presbyterian outreach to...

September 14, 2017

PHS just received a collection of 35mm slides from the papers of Frances Mecca Gray, delivered to us by Dr. Carolyn Spatta-Eckhart. Gray was the first president of Damavand College, a private women's college in Tehran. This new batch of slides, shot between 1972 and 1975, brilliantly documents the life of the institution. You can see the full collection in this gallery.

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