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  • Philip and Margaret Embury and Paul and Barbara Heck arrive in New York from County Limerick, Ireland.


  • Barbara Heck is instrumental in organizing the first Methodist congregation in America (New York City), which includes Bettye, a black woman.

c. 1770

  • Mary Evans Thorne is appointed class leader by Joseph Pilmore in Philadelphia, probably the first woman in America to be so appointed.


  • The first Methodist Conference in America is held in St. George’s Church, Philadelphia.


  • Mother Ann Lee and a small group of Shakers sail to America from England.


  • German settlers account for about 10% of the total white population in the thirteen colonies.


  • American Revolution; all of Wesley’s missionaries except for Francis Asbury return to England.


  • The Methodist Episcopal Church is organized at the Christmas Conference in Baltimore.


  • Cokesbury College opens at Abingdon, Maryland.
  • The Free African Society is formed in Philadelphia, the beginnings of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • Dr. Benjamin Rush opens The Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia, the first such American school.


  • Philip William Otterbein organizes the first annual conference of his followers.
  • The Methodist Book Concern is begun in Philadelphia.


  • The first successful American Sunday school is established in Philadelphia.
  • The first U.S. census reports that there are 697,897 slaves and 59,466 free blacks in the United States.


  • John Wesley dies.
  • Samuel Slater opens a cotton mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, signaling the onset of the Industrial Revolution. By 1828, nine out of ten New England textile workers are women.


Mary Wollstonecraft writes Vindication of the Rights of Woman.


  • The American Convention of Abolition Societies is formed in Philadelphia with delegates from nine societies.


  • First woman’s missionary society is formed in Boston (Baptist and Congregational women) to raise money and pray for domestic and foreign missions.
  • A camp meeting is held in Kentucky, launching a movement closely identified with Methodism for over a century. Camp meetings are part of the Second Great Awakening, a series of revivals that sweeps the nation during the first decades of the nineteenth century.
  • Jacob Albright forms three classes among the Germans in Pennsylvania.
    Philip William Otterbein and Martin Boehm found the United Brethren in Christ.


  • The Louisiana Purchase opens new territories for white settlement.
  • The first conference of Albright’s followers is held.


  • England prohibits slave trade.
  • Congress passes a law prohibiting the importation of slaves from Africa; the law is widely violated, however.


  • There are one million slaves in the United States.


  • The African Methodist Episcopal Church is formed and Richard Allen is chosen bishop.
  • The first General Conference of the Evangelical Association convenes.


  • Bishop Richard Allen allows black evangelist Jarena Lee to exhort and to hold prayer meetings in her home, although he denies her a preaching license.


  • The Missionary and Bible Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church is founded. The New York Female Missionary Society is organized as an auxiliary to it.


  • American Colonization Society founds Liberia for the repatriation of Negroes.
  • The African Methodist Episcopal Church, Zion, is organized in New York.
    In the 1820s, the ideology of separate spheres for men and women begins to appear in popular literature.


  • The Daughters of Conference (A.M.E. Zion) forms to raise money for preachers and church buildings.
  • Emma Willard opens a women’s school in Troy, New York.
  • Francis Cabot Lowell introduces the “boarding house” system in his new mill in Massachusetts, which employs only women.


  • American Sunday School Union is organized.


  • Robert Owen establishes New Harmony, a utopian community in Indiana.


  • The Christian Advocate (Methodist Episcopal newspaper) begins publication.


  • Noah Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language published.
  • Ladies Magazine (later Godey’s Lady’s Book) begins publication; Sarah Josepha Hale is the editor.


  • Suttee, the custom of immolating a widow along with her dead husband, is abolished in British India.
  • Lydia Maria Child’s manual The Frugal American Housewife is published. By 1842, it has gone through thirty editions.


  • The Methodist Protestant Church is organized.
  • By this year, slavery north of the Mason- Dixon line has been virtually abolished.
  • Political upheaval and economic hardship in Germany lead to massive immigration to the U.S.


  • William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing the abolitionist periodical The Liberator, in Boston.
  • Several hundred Polish political exiles immigrate to the U.S.


  • The Boston Female Antislavery Society is founded.
  • A black student, Charles B. Ray, enters Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Students protest until he agrees to leave.
  • Black women in Boston organize the Afric- American Female Intelligence Society.


  • Slavery is abolished in the British Empire.
  • Lydia Maria Child writes a pioneer antislavery tract.
  • Oberlin College opens in Ohio. It admits blacks and women from its inception.
  • Melville Cox begins the first American Methodist foreign mission, to Liberia.


  • The moral reform movement begins in New York City with the organization of the New York Female Moral Reform Society. By 1840 it is a national society claiming 555 auxiliaries, but the movement does not last beyond the end of the 1840s.
  • Sophronia Farrington, the first unmarried Methodist woman missionary, arrives in Liberia.


  • Phoebe Palmer institutes a weekly prayer meeting in her home; for 37 years she is Methodism’s most famous woman evangelist.


  • Sarah and Angelina Grimke are hired as the first women agents of the American Antislavery Society and lecture in public to audiences of men and women.
  • The New York Women’s Anti-Slavery Society bars blacks from membership.


  • Ann Wilkins, with the support of the New York Female Missionary Society, goes to Liberia. She retires in 1856 as the senior missionary on the field.
  • Victoria becomes Queen of Great Britain.
  • Mary Lyon opens Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.
  • Catharine Beecher, objecting to the Grimke sisters’ public role, argues in a tract that woman should confine her activities to “the domestic and social circle.”
    Financial and economic panic in the United States.


  • The five southern nations (Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles) are forcibly moved from the Southeast to the Southwest. Nearly one-half die of starvation, exhaustion, and exposure along the Trail of Tears.


  • Sarah Grimke publishes Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman.
  • The Summeytown Bauernfreund, a German language newspaper, warns that “if more Irish come into our country, the English and the Irish will rule over us Americans.”


  • The M.E. Church acquires Wesleyan Female College, Macon, Georgia (founded 1836), the first college to grant full collegiate degrees to women.
  • Phoebe Palmer’s Guide to Christian Perfection (later Guide to Holiness) begins publication.
  • Mississippi enacts the first Married Women’s Property law.


  • Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania pass laws limiting the hours of employment of minors in textile factories.


  • Washington Temperance Society formed.
  • Newbury Biblical Institute (Vermont) is founded, the first American Methodist seminary, forerunner of Boston University School of Theology.


  • First university degrees granted to women in the United States.
  • The Ladies’ Repository, the first Methodist periodical for women, begins publication.
  • Catharine Beecher publishes Treatise on Domestic Economy, an immensely popular household management manual.


  • Boston and Albany connected by railroad.


  • Social reformer Dorothea Dix reveals in a report to the Massachusetts legislature the shocking conditions in prisons and asylums.
  • Orange Scott and others, favoring the abolition of slavery, withdraw from the M.E. Church to form the Wesleyan Methodist Connection.
  • Sojourner Truth begins traveling through the United States preaching and lecturing on abolition.


  • China and the U.S. sign first treaty of peace, amity, and commerce.
  • The New York Ladies’ Home Missionary Society is organized.
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church is divided, north and south, by the Plan of Separation. The issue of slavery also divides the Presbyterian and Baptist denominations.
  • S.F.B. Morse’s telegraph is used for the first time between Baltimore and Washington.


  • Beginning this year, the potato famine in Ireland drives thousands of immigrants to the United States.
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, is formally organized in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • Lowell mill workers organize the Female Labor Reform Association.


  • Sewing machine patented by Elias Howe.
  • Economic hardship brings another great wave of immigration from Germany. By 1854, almost 900,000 Germans have come to the U.S., outdistancing all other immigrant groups.


  • Gold discoveries in California lead to first gold rush.
  • The M.E. Church begins mission work in China.
  • A United Brethren quarterly conference gives Charity Opheral a preacher’s license.
    Horace Bushnell’s Christian Nurture signals an important shift in perceptions of childhood.
  • The M.E. Church, South publishes Southern Ladies’ Companion. (Becomes Home Circle in 1855).


  • Mexican War ends; U.S. gains extensive new territory.
  • Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, launches the women’s rights movement.
  • The Ladies’ China Missionary Society of Baltimore is organized.
  • The M.E. Church, South begins mission work in China.
  • Spiritualism becomes popular.


  • Amelia Bloomer begins American women’s dress reform.
  • Jarena Lee’s Journal is published.
  • Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery in Maryland and subsequently returns to the South nineteen times, rescuing over 300 slaves.


  • The New York Ladies’ Home Missionary Society, under the leadership of Phoebe Palmer, begins a mission in Five Points, the worst section of New York City.
  • Lucy Stanton is the first black woman to complete a collegiate course of study (at Oberlin College).
  • The Fugitive Slave Law eliminates any safeguards for runaway slaves, even in free states.


  • Lydia Sexton is voted “recommendation” as a “pulpit speaker” by the United Brethren General Conference.


  • Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
  • Earliest call yet discovered for deaconesses as an order of the M.E. Church (Zion’s Herald, March 17, 1852)
  • Sojourner Truth delivers her famous “Ain’t I a woman?” speech at the Second National Women’s Suffrage convention in Akron, Ohio.


  • Antoinette Brown Blackwell is ordained by the Congregational Church. Luther Lee, Wesleyan Methodist leader, preaches the ordination sermon.
  • The growth of the Know-Nothing Party reflects widespread prejudice against immigrants and Catholics.
  • Anne Douglass, a white woman from South Carolina, is imprisoned in Norfolk, Virginia for violating a state law against instruction of Negroes.


  • Commodore Perry negotiates first American- Japanese treaty.
  • Mass immigration to the U.S. by Poles suffering economic hardship.
  • “War for Bleeding Kansas” between slave and free states.


  • Garrett Biblical Institute opens in Evanston, Illinois.
  • Iowa becomes the first state university to admit women.
  • The first missionaries of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ are sent to Sierra Leone.


  • Clementina Rowe Butler and Dr. William Butler arrive as the first missionaries of the M.E. Church in India.
  • Dwight L. Moody begins his career as a revivalist.
  • The United Brethren General conference passes a resolution that no woman should be allowed to preach.
  • With the Dred Scott decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declares that blacks are not citizens.


  • The Ladies’ China Missionary Society supports a girls’ school in China, and two unmarried teachers, Sarah and Beulah Woolston, are sent by the denominational Missionary Society.
  • Mrs. M.L. Kelley of the M.E. Church, South, organizes a fund-raising effort for missionaries in China. This is the earliest effort on record by women of the M.E.C.S. in support of foreign missions.


  • Charles Darwin publishes Origin of the Species.


  • The Free Methodist church breaks away from the M.E. Church and organizes in Pekin, New York.
  • There are nearly four million slaves and 488,000 free blacks, 14% of the American population.


  • The Civil War begins. Over the next four years, women in large numbers take over family farms and businesses, work in factories and as teachers and nurses. The U.S. Sanitary
  • Commission involves thousands of women at the local level, including Annie Wittenmyer, an agent of the Western Commission.


  • Marie Zakrzewska, a physician, opens the nucleus of the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston.


  • The Emancipation Proclamation is announced on January 1.


  • Methodist deaconess work begins in Germany.


  • Vassar College opens, the first large endowed collegiate institution for women.
  • Fanny Jackson Coppin graduates from Oberlin College.
  • The Ku Klux Klan is formed in Tennessee.


  • “The Widow Van Cott” (Maggie Newton Van Cott) begins a more than 30 year career as a preacher and evangelist.
  • The M.E. Church forms the Freedmen’s Aid Society to establish schools for blacks in the South.
  • Helenor M. Davison is ordained a deacon by the Indiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, probably making her the first ordained woman in the Methodist tradition.
  • The Equal Rights Association forms to work for suffrage for blacks and women.
  • The M.E. Church, South adopts lay representation in General and Annual Conferences.
  • Women of all denominations begin educational work among blacks in the South.


  • National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness is founded.


  • The Ladies and Pastors Christian Union is founded by Annie Wittenmyer to foster ministry to the sick and needy.
  • The New England Suffrage Association (later the American Woman S.A.) is organized.


  • Maggie Newton Van Cott is granted a local preacher’s license by the Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • Fanny Jackson Coppin becomes head principal of the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia. She spends 37 years at the Institute, now Cheyney State College.
  • The first Japanese immigrants arrive in the U.S. (California).
  • Lydia Sexton (United Brethren) is appointed chaplain of the Kansas State Prison at the age of 70, the first woman in the United States to hold such a position.
  • Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton found the National Woman Suffrage Association.
  • The Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church is formed in Boston at the instigation of missionary wives Clementina Butler and Lois Parker. Isabella
  • Thoburn and Clara Swain leave for India as the Society’s first missionaries.
  • Amanda Berry Smith is active as an A.M.E. preacher in New York and New Jersey.
  • Emily Duncan Harwood (M.E.) opens the first Protestant school in New Mexico Territory in a former henhouse.
  • Arabella Mansfield is the first woman lawyer admitted to the bar in the United States.
    Women of the M.E. South withdraw from the Ladies’ China Missionary Society


  • The Colored Methodist Episcopal Church is organized. (the name is changed in 1956 to Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.)
  • Isabella Thoburn opens a girls’ school in Lucknow.


  • Union Biblical Seminary (United Brethren in Christ) opens in Dayton, Ohio.
  • The Ladies’ China Missionary Society is formally reorganized as the Baltimore Branch of the W.F.M.S. of the M.E. Church.
  • Laymen are received into the General Conference of the M.E. Church.


  • Aaron Montgomery Ward begins a mail-order business in Chicago.
  • Charlotte E. Ray, the first black woman lawyer, graduates from Howard University Law School.


  • Gunsmith firm of E. Remington and Sons begins to produce typewriters.
  • Boston University (M.E.) opens; women are admitted to every department of the school.
  • Dr. Edward Clarke argues in Sex in Education that too much education endangers women’s ability to bear children.
  • Sarah Dickey (United Brethren) opens Mt. Hermon Seminary for black girls in Mississippi and continues as its principal for over thirty years.


  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children founded in New York.
  • Dora E. Schoonmaker is sent to Japan as the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the M.E. Church begins mission work in that country.
  • Woman’s Parent Mite Missionary Society of the A.M.E. Church is formed.
  • The Chautauqua Movement begins with a Sunday school teacher’s assembly at Chautauqua, New York.
  • The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union is formed by a group of women at Chautauqua following a lecture by Jennie Fowler Willing (M.E.), who presides over its first meeting.
  • Annie Wittenmyer (M.E.) is the first president (1874-79). Frances Willard (M.E.) becomes its corresponding secretary. Two years later she openly espouses woman’s suffrage.
  • The W.F.M.S. of the M.E. Church opens the first hospital for women in Asia (Bareilly, India).


  • United Brethren women organize the Woman’s Missionary Association; in 1877 they are given General conference recognition.


  • Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone.
  • Jennie Hartzell organizes mission work on a large scale among black women in New Orleans.
  • Centennial Exhibition is held at Philadelphia.
  • Anna Oliver is the first woman to receive the Bachelor of Divinity degree from an American theological seminary (Boston University School of Theology); two years later, Anna
  • Howard Shaw earns the same degree


  • Thomas Edison invents the phonograph.
  • Emily Beekin is sent to Sierra Leone as the first missionary of the United Brethren’s Woman’s Missionary Association.


  • A. A. Pope manufactures the first bicycles in America.
  • The Edison Electric Light Company is formed.
  • Women in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South organize the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of their church and are given General Conference recognition. Lochie Rankin goes to China as their first missionary.
  • Amanda Berry Smith preaches in two of the nation’s most prestigious churches; soon afterwards she spends more than a decade preaching in England, Scotland, Italy, Egypt, India, and Africa.


  • Frances Willard becomes the second president of the W.C.T.U. She serves until her death in 1898.
  • Mary Baker Eddy becomes pastor of the Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston.
  • The women of the Methodist Protestant Church organize their Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society in Pittsburgh.


  • Canned fruits and meats first appear in stores.
  • The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church is organized and Lucy Webb Hayes is elected president.
  • Anna Oliver and Anna Howard Shaw are denied ordination by the M.E.C. General Conference. Shaw is then ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church.
  • The Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the A.M.E. Zion Church is founded.


  • The Christian Endeavor movement is begun by G.E. Clark.
  • Tennessee enacts the first Jim Crow segregation law.


  • U.S. bans Chinese immigration for ten years.
  • Laura Askew Haygood heads an extensive home missions effort in Atlanta.
  • 250,630 Germans immigrate to the U.S. this year; thereafter, the rate declines.


  • The first skyscraper (ten stories) is built, in Chicago.
  • The Young Women’s Mission Band (later the Otterbein Guild) for girls over 15 years old is organized by the Woman’s Missionary Association (U.B.)
  • Women of the Evangelical Association organize the Woman’s Missionary Society.


  • The A.M.E. General Conference approves the licensing of women as local preachers, but limits them to evangelistic work.
  • The Methodist Protestant General Conference rules Anna Howard Shaw’s ordination out of order.
  • Methodists open the Woman’s College of Baltimore (later Goucher College).


  • Funjinkai (women’s organization) begins in the Japanese church.
  • Lucy Rider Meyer (M.E.) opens the Chicago Training School for Methodist women deaconesses and missionaries.
  • Both branches of the Methodist Episcopal Church open mission fields, the M.E.C. in Korea, the M.E.C.S. in Japan.
  • Mrs. M.F. Scranton becomes the first missionary of the W.F.M.S. (M.E. Church) in Korea.


  • Statue of Liberty dedicated.
  • American Federation of Labor founded.
  • Anna Howard Shaw is the only woman in the graduating class of the Boston University medical school.
  • The interdenominational Student Volunteer Movement is formed. For over 60 years it is the channel for the overseas missionary concerns of thousands of American college students.


  • Isabella Thoburn founds the first Christian woman’s college in Asia (Lucknow, India).


  • George Eastman perfects the “Kodak” box camera.
  • Frances E. Willard, Mary Clarke Nind, Amanda C. Rippey, Angie F. Newman, and Elizabeth D. Van Kirk are elected delegates to the M.E. General Conference, but are denied seating.
  • The Chicago Preachers Meeting successfully petitions General Conference to recognize deaconess work as an official institution of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Deaconess work is placed under the control of annual conferences.
  • Sarah Gorham becomes the first woman missionary appointed to the foreign mission field by the A.M.E. church, sponsored by the Woman’s Parent Mite Missionary Society.
  • The Centenary Conference on Protestant Missions is held in London. Fanny Jackson Coppin, as president of the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the A.M.E. Church, is a delegate.


  • Oklahoma is opened to non-Indian settlement.
  • Ella Niswonger becomes the first woman ordained in the United Brethren Church.
  • Eugenia St. John is ordained an elder by the Kansas Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church.
  • Jane Addams opens Hull House in Chicago.
  • The New England Deaconess Home and Training School is founded in Boston.
  • Ladies’ Home Journal begins publication.
  • The Epworth League is founded.
  • Alice Harris, M.D. sails to Sierra Leone as one of the first foreign missionaries of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection.


  • First moving-picture shows appear in New York.
  • The two wings of the suffrage movement unite to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (today the League of Women Voters).
  • The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, under the leadership of Lucinda B. Helm, is recognized by the church’s General Conference.
  • Susie Elizabeth Frazier is the first black woman appointed to teach in the New York City public schools.


  • Beginnings of wireless telegraphy.


  • Diesel patents his internal combustion engine.
  • Four women delegates are seated at the General Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church (laywomen Melissa M. Bonnett, Mrs. M.J. Morgan, and Mrs. A.E. Murphy; and clergywoman Eugenia St. John).
  • Ellis Island opens.
  • Anna Oliver and Amanda Berry Smith share a pulpit in a New Jersey church.
  • Scarritt Bible and Training School, headed by Maria Gibson, is opened in Kansas City, thanks to the efforts of Belle Harris Bennett (M.E., South).
  • Over 1,400 blacks have been lynched since 1882. Hundreds more will be lynched over the coming decades.
  • Iron and steel workers strike.


  • If Christ Came to Chicago, by W.T. Stead, an influential Social Gospel novel, is published.
  • By this year, many German Protestants, victims of nativist sentiments forty years earlier, have joined the American Protective Association, which warns of the dangers of the “new” immigration of Catholics and Jews from southern and eastern Europe.
  • The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Protestant Church is organized.
  • The World’s Columbian Exposition is held in Chicago. The World’s Parliament of Religions is held at the same time.
  • First women delegates are seated at the General Conference of the United Brethren in Christ (Mattie Brewer and Mrs. S.J. Staves).


  • Sarah Dickey is ordained by the United Brethren in Christ.
  • The United Evangelical Church breaks away from the Evangelical Association.
  • Julia A.J. Foote is the first woman to be ordained a deacon in the A.M.E. Zion Church.


  • New York Evangelical Training School and Settlement House is founded by Jennie Fowler Willing (M.E.) to train deaconesses and serve Hell’s Kitchen, an infamous New York slum.
  • The M.E. Church, South opens a mission field in Korea.
  • Mrs. Hartman from Oregon is the first female member of an Evangelical Association annual conference.
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton publishes The Woman’s Bible.


  • Beginning of the Klondike gold rush.
  • The Plessy vs. Ferguson decision by the Supreme Court upholds segregation.
  • Mary Church Terrell organizes the National Association of Colored Women.


  • The National Congress of Mothers is organized.


  • A.M.E. women form Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Societies.
  • The Polish Women’s Alliance is organized in Chicago.
  • Seven missionaries (five of them women) of the United Brethren Woman’s Missionary Association are massacred in Sierra Leone.
  • The M.E.C.S. begins mission work in Cuba; Miss Hattie Carson is transferred from Mexico to open a school for girls.


  • The Boxers, an anti-foreign organization, rebels against Westerners in China.
  • 12,635 Japanese enter the U.S. from Hawaii.
  • Deaconess Home for Colored People founded in Cincinnati, including a training school for black deaconesses.
  • The International Ladies Garment Workers Union is founded.
  • A Lay Conference is established, parallel to the Annual Conference of clergy, in the M.E. Church; it grants women “equal laity rights.”


  • The Woman’s Home Missionary Society of the M.E. Church, South begins work at Paine Institute (founded 1883) in Augusta, Georgia, its first work with blacks.
  • Ella Niswonger is elected the first woman clergy delegate to a United Brethren General Conference.
  • The African Methodist Episcopal Church founds the Colored Deaconess Home in Roanoke, Virginia.


  • The Wright brothers successfully fly a powered airplane.
  • The first Korean immigrants arrive in Honolulu; many soon sail to the mainland U.S.
  • The Women’s Trade Union League is founded.
  • The Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Society of the Wesleyan Methodist Church is organized.


  • A woman is arrested in New York for smoking a cigarette in public.
  • Women are given laity rights and admitted to the M.E. General Conference as delegates.
  • Steerage rates for immigrants to the U.S. are cut to $10 by foreign lines.
  • Ladies Aid Societies, as old as American Methodism, are officially recognized in the 1904 M.E. Book of Discipline, although there is never an official denominational agency.
  • Anna Howard Shaw becomes president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, a position she holds until 1915.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune founds the Daytona Normal and Industrial School for Negro Girls.


  • From now until 1914, almost 10.5 million immigrants enter the U.S. from southern and eastern Europe.
  • The first regular cinema is established (in Pittsburgh).
  • The Asiatic Exclusion League is founded in San Francisco; most member organizations are labor unions.


  • Revelations of conditions in Chicago stockyards contained in Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle lead to the Pure Food and Drugs Act.
  • Martha Drummer, black deaconess of the New England Deaconess Training School (Boston) is sent to Angola by the W.F.M.S. of the M.E. Church. Anna Hall, another black deaconess, goes to the mission field in Liberia.
  • The independence of the Woman’s Home and Foreign Missionary Societies of the M.E. Church, South is threatened by General Conference.
  • First radio program of voice and music is broadcast in the U.S.


  • Immigration to the U.S. is restricted by law.
  • Bessie Harrison is named a field worker for the black conferences by the W.H.M.S. of the M.E. Church, South.


  • Ford Motor Company produces the first Model T.
  • Mrs. M.C.B. Mason is named supervisor of the Bureau of Colored Deaconesses (M.E. Church, South).
  • The Methodist Federation for Social Service prepares a Social Creed, which is adopted by the M.E. General Conference.


  • The Woman’s Missionary Association (U.B.) becomes part of the General Board of Missions. Women gain wider and more influential responsibilities as a result.
  • 18,000 garment workers strike New York City’s shirtwaist shops. Four out of five strikers are women. Anna Howard Shaw offers vocal support.


  • The Woman’s Societies of the M.E. Church, South are joined under one Woman’s Missionary Council and made part of the general missionary organization of the church. Belle Harris Bennett is president of the Council until 1922.
  • The M.E. Church, South General Conference denies women laity rights.
  • One out of five wage earners is a woman. One out of four women over 14 is employed, as are one-quarter of children between 10 and 14.
  • The World Missionary Conference is held in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is organized.


  • A disastrous fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York kills 146 women, but leads to improved laws regulating factory working conditions.


  • Polish immigration to the U.S. peaks at nearly 175,00 during 1912-13; men outnumber women two to one.
  • Mellie Perkins begins work as a United Brethren missionary in Velarde, New Mexico.


  • World War I begins.
  • Night-shift work for women is internationally forbidden.


  • Margaret Sanger is jailed for writing Family Limitation, first book on birth control.
  • The Woman’s Peace Party is organized and sends delegates to the International Congress of Women in The Hague.


  • Prohibition gains ground as 24 states vote approval.
  • Jeanette Rankin (from Montana) is elected the first woman in the U.S. Congress.


  • Bobbed hair as ladies’ hair fashion sweeps Britain and the U.S.
  • Four women arrested for picketing the White House on behalf of women’s suffrage are sentenced to six months in jail.
  • The U.S. enters the war.


  • Armistice is signed November 11, ending the war.


  • Prohibition amendment (the 18th) is ratified on January 16.
  • Race riots in Chicago reflect urban tension following large-scale migration of southern blacks to the North since 1900.


  • Methodist women in Cuba begin organizing Woman’s Missionary Societies during this decade.
  • The 19th Amendment gives women the vote.
  • Carrie Johnson is selected to head a standing committee of the Woman’s Missionary Council (M.E. Church, South) to study the race question and develop ways for black and white women to work together, a task she continues until her death in 1929.
  • By 1920, half of all Americans live in cities.
  • The local preacher’s license, first step to ordained ministry, is officially extended to women in the M.E. Book of Discipline.


  • Ku Klux Klan activities become increasingly violent throughout the South.
  • Evan B. Dykes, Sadie T. Mossell, and Georgiana R. Simpson receive the first Ph.D degrees awarded to black women.
  • Emergency Quota Act limits immigration to the U.S.
  • Wesleyan Service Guild (M.E.) is organized for women employed outside the home.
  • Congressman Dyer of Missouri introduces a bill to make lynching a federal crime; it is introduced again in 1925 and 1927. Additional bills are unsuccessfully introduced through the 1930s.
  • The first federally funded health care program, the Sheppard-Towner Act, is passed. It is intended to reduce infant and maternal mortality.


  • Insulin is first administered to diabetic patients.
  • First women seated as delegates at General Conference of the M.E. Church, South (18 women lay delegates).
  • The United Evangelical Church and the Evangelical Association reunite to form The Evangelical Church.
  • The Woman’s Missionary Society of The Evangelical Church is organized.


  • Hitler’s Beer Hall Putsch in Munich fails.
  • Daytona Normal and Industrial School merges with the Cookman Institute to form Bethune-Cookman College.
  • The National Woman’s Party (organized in 1921) proposes an Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.
  • First birth-control clinic opens in New York.


  • Methodist Episcopal women are given limited clergy rights (“local” ordination).
  • The Ku Klux Klan has four million members.
  • The Immigration Act limits immigration to 2% of each national group in the U.S. in 1890, making the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 permanent.


  • By now 13 states have passed anti-lynching laws.


  • Winifred Chappell, M.E. deaconess and editor of the Social Service Bulletin of the Methodist Federation for Social Service, covers the Passaic (NJ) worker’s strike and begins a decade of reporting and interpreting working conditions in American industries.


  • Al Jolson makes “The Jazz Singer,” the first “talking” motion picture.


  • First scheduled television broadcasts, by WGY (Schenectady, New York).


  • Stock exchange collapses on October 28, inaugurating the Great Depression.


  • The Woman’s Missionary Council (M.E.C.,South) sends Mrs. B.W. Lipscomb to organize women of two Spanish- speaking conferences (Texas-Mexico and Western Mexico).
  • The Bureau of Social Service of the Woman’s Missionary Council (M.E.C.,South) becomes the Bureau of Christian Social Relations with commissions on industrial relations, interracial, cooperation, and rural development under the leadership of Bertha Jewell.


  • Hattie T. Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
  • The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, led by Jessie Daniel Ames (M.E. Church, South), is founded.


  • Frances Perkins becomes the first woman Cabinet member (Secretary of Labor).
  • Concentration camps are first erected in Germany by the Nazis.
  • The 21st Amendment repeals Prohibition.


  • Congress of Industrial Organizations founded by John L. Lewis.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune is named director of the Negro Division of the National Youth Administration, a position she holds until 1943. In 1935 she also becomes the first president of the National Council of Negro Women.
  • The Social Security Act provides maternal and child welfare benefits.


  • U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of a minimum wage law for women.
  • Government statistics show that 500,000 Americans were involved in sitdown strikes between September 1936 and May 1937.


  • The Fair Labor Standards Act ensures minimum wages and maximum hours.


  • War begins in Europe.
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church, the M.E. Church, South, and the Methodist Protestant Church merge to form The Methodist Church.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune and others oppose the formation of the Central Jurisdiction in the Methodist Plan of Union because it reinforces segregation.
  • The various women’s home and foreign missionary societies and other women’s groups of the three uniting churches are joined and become the Woman’s Society of Christian Service. The Wesleyan Service Guild remains a separate organization.
  • Georgia Harkness, active M.E. leader and local elder, becomes professor of applied theology at Garrett Biblical Institute, the first woman to hold such a position at a major seminary.


  • 30 million U.S. homes have radio.
  • The Woman’s Society of Christian Service, Central Jurisdiction, is formed.
  • Asociacion de Damas Evangelica de Puerto Rico is founded.


  • The U.S. enters World War II; during the war, over six million women enter the American workforce for the first time, mostly in defense plants. The majority of these workers are married.
  • Executive Order #9066 uproots 110,000
  • Americans of Japanese ancestry and places them in ten detention camps for the duration of World War II. Nearly half of the detainees are women.


  • Sugar, coffee, and gasoline rationing are begun.
  • The first computer is developed in the U.S.


  • Infantile paralysis epidemic kills almost 1200 in the U.S., cripples thousands more.
  • Race riots break out in several major U.S. cities whose labor population has been bolstered by an influx of southern blacks.


  • The cost of living rises almost 30%.
  • The Women’s Division of the Board of Missions of The Methodist Church forms a Committee on the Status of Women.
  • The Methodist Church launches the Crusade for Christ.
  • The Evangelical Church organizes the Christian Service Guild for employed women.


  • V-E and V-J days signal the end of World War II.


  • The Evangelical United Brethren Church (E.U.B.) is formed from the merger of The Evangelical Church and the United Brethren in Christ.
  • The first women delegates attend the General Conference of the Evangelical Church, then the joint E.U.B. General Conference immediately following (Irene Haumersen and Mrs. Edward Stukenberg).
  • Women are denied ordination in the newly organized E.U.B. Church.
  • With the formation of the E.U.B. Church, the women’s organizations merge to become the Women’s Society of World Service. The Christian Service Guild remains a separate entity until 1958.


  • Dorothy Rogers Tilly, Methodist laywoman and member of President Truman’s Commission on Civil Rights, founds the Fellowship of the Conference, an interracial group dedicated to seeking courtroom justice for blacks in the South.


  • The National Council of Churches is organized.
  • The Oriental Provision Conference of The Methodist Church is organized.
  • Early in the decade, Nisei women of the Pacific Japanese Provisional Conference organize a Woman’s Society of Christian Service.


  • The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is published.


  • The Supreme Court rules that segregation by color in public schools violates the 14th Amendment.
  • Army-McCarthy hearings result in Joseph McCarthy’s formal censure and condemnation by the Senate.
  • 29 million U.S. homes have televisions.
  • Billy Graham holds evangelistic meetings in New York, London, and Berlin.
  • World Council of Churches convenes in Evanston, Illinois.


  • On December 1, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, and the modern civil rights movement is launched with the Montgomery (Alabama) bus boycott.


  • Oral vaccine against polio is developed by Albert Sabin.
  • Women in The Methodist Church win full clergy rights; Maud Keister Jensen is the first woman to be granted such rights.
  • The World Federation of Methodist Women is formed.


  • The U.S.S.R. launches Sputnik I and II, the first earth satellites.


  • President Kennedy establishes the Commission on the Status of Women, chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt.


  • “Freedom Riders,” black and white liberals loosely organized to test and force integration in the South, are attacked and beaten in Anniston and Birmingham.
  • The New English Bible is introduced.


  • James Meredith, backed by U.S. marshals and 3,000 soldiers, enrolls in the University of Mississippi.
  • Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, launches the ecology movement.


  • Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique.
  • Race riots erupt in a number of U.S. cities as reaction against enforcement of civil rights laws.


  • Demonstrations against U.S. military involvement in Vietnam increase as involvement escalates.
  • The Immigration Act alters American immigration policy from one based on ethnic origin to one based on employable skills and family situations.
  • Martin Luther King leads 4,000 civil rights marchers from Selma to Montgomery.


  • The National Organization for Women (NOW) is organized.


  • Margaret Henrichsen (Maine Methodist Annual Conference) is the first American woman district superintendent.
  • NOW resurrects the Equal Rights Amendment, shelved by Congress since the early 1950s.


  • The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren merge to form The United Methodist Church.
  • Full clergy rights for women are affirmed by the new United Methodist Church.
  • The women’s organizations of The Methodist Church and the E.U.B. Church are merged in the new United Methodist Church under the names Women’s Society of Christian Service and Wesleyan Service Guild.


  • U.S. begins withdrawal of troops from Vietnam.
  • American astronauts land on the moon.


  • U.S. census shows smallest number of men (94.8) in ratio to women (100) in history.
  • The Women’s Strike for Equality commemorates the victory of woman suffrage in 1920.


  • Cigarette advertisements are banned from U.S. television.
  • From 1971 to 1974, Congress enacts numerous pieces of equal rights legislation.
  • Women’s organizations in The United Methodist Church merge to form United Methodist Women.
  • “The Jesus Movement” becomes a much- publicized element of religion in America.


  • The Watergate scandal begins.
  • Congress enacts an Ethnic Heritage Studies Bill.
  • General Conference ratifies the formation of United Methodist Women. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women is also established and funded.
  • The military draft is phased out; the U.S. armed forces become all-volunteer.


  • The Supreme Court rules that individual states may not prohibit abortions during the first six months of pregnancy.


  • Richard Nixon resigns the Presidency.


  • The U.S. ends two decades of military involvement in Vietnam.
  • The first United Methodist Clergywomen’s Consultation is held in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • First Women’s Bank opens in New York City.


  • U.S. Air Force Academy admits 155 women, ending the all-male tradition at military academies.
  • Ten women are elected as the first women clergy delegates to the United Methodist General Conference.


  • Women’s History Project of the General Commission on Archives and History is established, the first in any denomination.


  • Marjorie Matthews is the first woman to be elected bishop of The United Methodist Church.


  • The Equal Rights Amendment is defeated, three states short of ratification.


  • Marjorie Suchoki (an Episcopalian) is selected as the first woman Dean of a United Methodist seminary (Wesley Theological Seminary).


  • Judith Craig and Leontine Kelly become the second and third woman bishops of The United Methodist Church. Kelly is the first black woman bishop of the church.


  • First Hispanic women’s consultation in The United Methodist Church takes place.


  • Susan Morrison and Sharon Brown Christopher become United Methodist bishops.


  • Fifty women serve The United Methodist Church as district superintendents.


  • Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher elected first woman president of the Council of Bishops of the UM Church.


  • Rosemarie Wenner was elected bishop for the Germany Episcopal Area in 2005, becoming the first woman bishop to serve outside the United States and in 2014 was elected as president of the Council of Bishops.


  • Barack Hussein Obama II is elected 44th president of the United States and is the first African American to hold that office.


  • Clergywomen represent 21.5 percent of more than 26,000 pastors-in-charge, about 1% serve as senior clergy in churches with 1,000-plus members, compared to 6% for men. About 15% of female elders are district superintendents. The UM Church has elected 21 women bishops, 16 of whom are active.