There Are Saints, There Are Sinners, And There Are Beechers

How the Beecher family defined 19th century America.

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Debby Applegate
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Joan Henrick
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Susan Campbell and Joan Henrick
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Susan Campbell
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Chion Wolf
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Betsy Kaplan
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Susan Campbell
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Joan Henrick
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Susan Campbell
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Chion Wolf
Debby Applegate
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Patrick Skahill
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Jules Lefevere
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Will Baker
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There Are Saints, There Are Sinners, And There Are Beechers
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There Are Saints, There Are Sinners, And There Are Beechers

You can't make this stuff up. The Beecher family was at the forefront of every important reform movement of the late 19th century. Abolition. Education. Temperance. Women's suffrage.

Underlying that was a streak of untameable craziness, especially as incarnated by Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher was a pastor and a rock star orator. He was also, one would have to conclude, a little bit out of control on the sexual front.
 
But it's so much more than that.  For all their solid Christian good works, the Beechers also embraced enthusiastically all the nuttiness of the later 19th century -- from seances to bizarre health treatments.
 
Today we've done something we're pretty sure is unprecvedented. We have three Beecher biographers -- two of them Pulitzer Prize winners -- assembled before a live audience in a 19th century library in New Haven.

You can join the conversation. E-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.


  

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E-mail from Lisa

Did you know that Beecher made his way to the Plymouth Church because of another great CT man - Henry C. Bowen? Check out Roseland Cottage in Woodstock if you want to know more.