From Preachers to Suffragists: Woman's Rights and Religious Conviction in the Lives of Three Nineteenth-Century American Clergywomen

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From Preachers to Suffragists: Woman's Rights and Religious Conviction in the Lives of Three Nineteenth-Century American Clergywomen by Beverly Zink-Sawyer Westminster John Knox, Louisville, 2003. 246 pp. $24.95. ISBN 0-664-22615-9.

ANTOINETTE BLACKWELL BROWN, Olympia Brown, and Anna Howard Shaw, "three ecclesiastical mavericks" as Zink-Sawyer calls them (p. 3), are fascinating women to study in their own right as pioneers of women's ordination and ministry and as tireless workers for woman's rights/suffrage. In this book, their import is heightened even more because their lives, ministries, and theologies are set in conversation with each other. The reader is able to appreciate them as individuals and as colleagues who had in common three significant life experiences: wrestling through raging conflict to secure ordination from their respective denominations (Congregational, Universalist, and Methodist Protestant); being pioneers as women ministers in a local congregation; and then shifting the focus of their ministry to the movement for woman's rights/suffrage, as the title suggests, from preachers to suffragists.

The book's chapters move sensibly in this order: their biographical sketches (ch. 1), their ordinations set in historical context of the struggle for women's ecclesial recognition (ch. …