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Eastman, Annis Ford (1852–1910)

Eastman, Annis Ford (1852–1910)

American minister and feminist. Born Annis Bertha Ford, April 24, 1852, in Peoria, Illinois; died Oct 22, 1910, in Elmira, NY; dau. of George W. (gunsmith) and Catherine (Stehley) Ford; Oberlin College, teaching certificate (1874); m. Samuel Elijah Eastman (preacher), 1875; children: Morgan Eastman, Anstice Ford Eastman, Max Eastman (editor of The Masses and The Liberator) and Crystal Eastman (social reformer).

Congregational minister and intellectual, moved with husband to his preaching assignment in Swampscott, Massachusetts (1875) and then on to Newport, Kentucky (1878) and Canandaigua, New York (1881); assumed dominant role in family after husband's health deteriorated, forcing him to leave ministry (1886); taught school (1886–87) and preached at parish Church of Brookton, near Ithaca, NY (1887–92); was among the 1st women to be ordained as Congregational minister (1889); moved on to West Bloomfield, NY (1893) where fame as preacher grew; became assistant pastor along with husband at Thomas K. Beecher's Park Church in Elmira, NY (1894), befriending Mark Twain, among others; published collection of sermons, Have and Give (1896), for children; became joint pastor with husband of Park Church after Beecher's death (1900); enrolled in Harvard Summer School (1903) and studied with Royce, Palmer and Santayana in attempt to define Christianity intellectually; changed Park Church to Unitarian faith apparently without protest from congregants; began speaking at suffrage conventions and contemplating career in education or social reform, feeling deepening doubt in religion which made ministry difficult.

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