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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Rev. Mary A. Safford

Rev. Mary Augusta Safford, Unitarian minister, was born in Quincy, Ill., Dec. 23, 1851, daughter of Stephen F. and Louisa Hunt Safford, moving in childhood to Hamilton, Ill.  She attended the public schools there and at the age eighteen entered the State University of Iowa.  In 1878 she organized a Unitarian Society in Hamilton, in which she preached for nearly two years.  The Iowa Unitarian Society invited her to be ordained in this state, receiving her ordination in Humboldt, where she preached for seven years.  In 1885 she was called to Unity church at Sioux City, which to that time had been a struggling organization.  Through her efforts the society was built up until it became one of the strong churches in the state.  She founded the Humane Society in Sioux City, and aided in the work of other literary and reform clubs.  In 1889 she resigned her pastorate in Sioux City, to accept a call to the First Unitarian church at Des Moines, where she preached until 1910, at which time she was made pastor Emeritus.  In 1909 she went to England, where she preached in the principal churches of the liberal faith, both in England and Scotland.  Miss Safford has always been a missionary, giving the very best that was in her to build up weak churches and organize new ones.  For eleven years she was president of the Iowa Unitarian Conference, secretary of Iowa Unitarian Association and a dictator of the American Unitarian Association, and a member of the National Fellowship Committee.  She is at present editor of Old and New.  She is a woman of the highest type, and one who truly serves humanity.



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