BUCK, REV. FLORENCE (19 July, 1860-12 Oct. 1925) served with MARIAN MURDOCH from 1893-1899 as joint ministers of the First Unitarian Society of Cleveland.

Born in Kalamazoo County, MI., to Samuel P. and Lucy (Reasoner) Buck, Florence attended Coldwater and Kalamazoo schools. She became head of the science department and principal of Kalamazoo High School. Raised a Methodist, Buck was converted to Unitarianism by her friend, Marian Murdoch. Buck attended Meadville Theological School and studied for a year at Manchester College in Oxford and at Oxford University in England before graduating from Meadville in 1894.

Buck was ordained on 24 Sept. 1893 in Chicago. In 1893 Buck and Murdoch were called by the First Unitarian Society of Cleveland to serve as joint ministers of the First Unitarian Church (Unity Church). During their tenure the church prospered, growing to 80 members.

In 1899 Buck and Murdoch resigned in order to travel and study in Europe. In 1901 Buck moved to Michigan as a field worker for the American Unitarian Association (AUA). Later that year she went to work in Kenosha, WI, remaining until 1910. She moved to Palo Alto, California in 1910, then onto Alameda from 1911-1912. Buck served as Associate Secretary of the AUA's Department of Religious Education in 1912 and the Department's Executive Secretary in 1925.

In 1920 Buck was honored for her work in religious education by becoming the first woman ever to receive a Doctor of Divinity degree from the Meadville Theological School.

Buck died in Boston, Mass. following a bout of typhoid fever.

Morton, Marian. Women in Cleveland: An Illustrated History (1995).

Article Categories