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COLLECTION Identifier: 78-M88--85-M69

Papers of Rowena Morse Mann, 1878-1958


Speeches, sermons, correspondence, etc., of Rowena Morse Mann, Unitarian minister and lecturer.


  • Creation: 1878-1958

Language of Materials

Materials in English and German.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Rowena Morse Mann is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.83 linear feet ((2 file boxes) plus 1 oversize folder, 1 folio+ photograph folder, 1 audiotape)

This collection consists of biographical material, a typescript autobiography (perhaps not by Mann), and photographs of Mann; biographical data and photographs of her husband, Newton Mann; Mann's letters to her mother from Germany; other family correspondence; professional correspondence, including correspondence with the Roosevelt administration; and Mann's speeches and sermons.


Rowena (Morse) Mann, Unitarian minister, author and lecturer, was born in Ithaca, New York, on June 6, 1870, the daughter of Benjamin and Sarah (Fitchette) Morse. The family moved to Iowa, where they farmed on government land; Mann received her B.S. from the University of Iowa in 1891. After graduation, she taught high school in Omaha, Nebraska, where she met Newton Mann, a Unitarian minister who encouraged her to study for the ministry. She went to the University of Chicago Divinity School from 1898 to 1900, and won a traveling fellowship to study philosophy at the University of Berlin, 1900-1903. In 1904, Mann became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Jena. During this period she traveled widely in Europe, visiting Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Russia.

Mann was ordained a Unitarian minister in 1906, and was appointed pastor in Geneva, Illinois (1905-1906), in Keokuk, Iowa (1906-1910), and at Third Church, Chicago (1910-1925). She was Director of the West Unitarian Conference from 1912 until 1916. She married the Reverend Newton Mann in 1912; he died in 1926. In 1919 she took the place of Dr. Anna Howard Shaw on a speaking tour on behalf of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. She campaigned for Woodrow Wilson in 1920 and participated in the Illinois State Democratic campaign in 1922 and in Roosevelt's campaign in 1932. During the 1920s and 1930s she lectured extensively on art, ethics, peace and politics. Her candidacy for a diplomatic post in Europe was suggested by Carrie Chapman Catt in 1933, engaged the interest of Eleanor Roosevelt, and was supported by Molly Dewson. The appointment of a woman was, however, at the time deemed unacceptable to Europeans. In 1933, when Mann was honored by the University of Jena and lectured there, she experienced first-hand the horrors of Germany under Hitler.

On her return to America, she lectured widely on the dangers of Nazism and German militarism. She died in Chicago in 1958.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 78-M88, 85-M69

This collection was given to the Schlesinger Library by Rowena Morse Mann's niece, Rowena Morse Langer, in May 1978, and in April 1985.


  1. Box 1: 6, 8-23
  2. Box 2: 24-42

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory: January 1985

By: Jane S. Knowles

Mann, Rowena Morse, 1870-1958. Papers of Rowena Morse Mann, 1878-1958: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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