Famous Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists

The following is just a small selection of interesting people who have shared our faith. All individuals included have some connection with Unitarianism, Universalism, or Unitarian Universalism: they attended a congregation regularly, they were members or ministers of a congregation, or they identified themselves in public or private statements as Unitarians and Universalists. For a more extensive list, you may wish to visit either FamousUUs.com (organized by area of accomplishment) or the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto’s list of Notable Unitarians. For an explanation of why we have all these different denominational names, see our article on Unitarian Universalist history.


  • Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) Scientist, inventor, engineer
  • Arthur Lismer (1885-1969) Canadian painter, member of the Group of Seven
  • Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) Children’s author and illustrator, conservationist, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Bruce Hyer (1946-) MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North 2008-present
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) Author of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist
  • Dorothy Livesay (1909-1996) Canadian poet, professor, and journalist
  • Emily StoweEmily Stowe (1831-1903) Physician, suffragette, one of the first women doctors in Canada
  • Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) Architect and designer
  • Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) Practical philosopher, Transcendentalist, author of Walden
  • Isaac Newton (1642-1727) Natural philosopher, discovered gravity
  • John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) First Prime Minister of Canada
  • John Molson (1763-1836) Canadian Brewer, Member of Legislative Council of Lower Canada
  • Joseph Workman (1805-1894) Canadian psychiatrist, educator, mental health advocate, founder of First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto
  • Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) Author of Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions
  • Lloyd Francis (1920-2007) MP for Ottawa Area Ridings, Parliamentary Speaker
  • Lotta Hitschmanova (1909-1990) Humanitarian, Founder of the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada
  • Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) Author of Little Women
  • Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) Canadian author of The Stone Angel and The Diviners
  • Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) Minister, Transcendentalist, author of Self-Reliance
  • Robert Munsch (1945- ) Canadian children’s writer, author of Love You Forever and The Paper Bag Princess
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Third president of the United States


Unitarian Universalists

  • Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) Architect
  • Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) Actor, spinal cord injury activist
  • Paul Newman (1925-2008) Actor, director, philanthropist
  • Pete Seeger (1919-) Musician, songwriter, activist
  • Ray Bradbury (1920-) Science fiction writer, author of Fahrenheit 451
  • Tim Berners-Lee (1955-) Physicist, computer scientist, inventor of the Internet
  • William Dennison (1905-1981) Mayor of Toronto 1966-1972
  • Robert Fulghum (1937-) Minister, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten



  • Clara Barton (1821-1912) Nurse, humanitarian, teacher
  • Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), American Universalist clergyman and theological writer
  • Olympia BrownOlympia Brown(1835-1926) American suffragist. Regarded as the first woman to graduate from a theological school, as first full time ordained minister
  • P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) Circus owner and showman