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Clarke, James Freeman

James Freeman Clarke, 1810–88, American Unitarian clergyman and author, b. Hanover, N.H. While in charge of the Unitarian church in Louisville, Ky. (1833–40), he was for three years editor of the Western Messenger. He helped found the Church of the Disciples in Boston in 1841 and was its pastor until 1888, except in the years from 1850 to 1854. He was (1867–71) a nonresident professor in the Harvard Divinity School. The Transcendental Club, with such members as Bronson Alcott and Emerson, included Clarke, and he was active in the antislavery, woman-suffrage, and other reform movements. Among his books, influential in their day, were Ten Great Religions (2 vol., 1871–83), Orthodoxy: Its Truths and Errors (1866), and Essentials and Non-Essentials in Religion (1878).

See biography by E. E. Hale (1891, repr. 1968), which includes a fragmentary autobiography; study by A. S. Bolster (1954).

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