Adams, Hannah

Hannah Adams (Oct. 2, 1755-Dec. 15, 1831) born in Medfield MA, she was the first American, man or woman, known to attempt to support herself by the pen. Highly regarded in the field of historical documentation, she wrote several history books. Her principal work, a View of Religious Opinions (1784), in which she gave a comprehensive survey of the various religions of the world, including Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects (1784), helped to found the modern field of comparative religion. She was a voice for liberalism, looking for commonly held faith and minimizing the prejudice against non-Christian religions which had previously characterized the field. Her book on Jesus was used for many years in Unitarian Sunday schools. Excerpts from her writings are included in Standing Before Us: Unitarian Universalist Women and Social Reform, 1776-1936 (Boston: Skinner House, 2000).