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“Companions of My Tribulation”: Transatlantic Female Preaching Networks in the Early Nineteenth Century




Greer, Caroline

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis



Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



As part of the pulpit in the early republic, female preachers created their own identities separate from the domestic sphere by forging successful careers as religious authorities speaking in public. Bolstered by a growing rejection of the authority of educated clergymen, the idea of election, and the acceptance of the primacy of emotional conversions and universal salvation, opportunities for female preaching arose despite the disdain from more established religious institutions and male clergy. Groups such as sectarian Methodists and Baptists, and others such as the Christian Connexion, utilized female preachers because of their speaking talent and ability to connect with listeners. Female preachers successfully converted listeners, fostering emotional religious experiences and conversions, especially for women. They created more female preachers by providing support for establishing a preaching career. By working and traveling together, successful women provided more opportunities for other women to preach in new places. American and British female itinerant preachers relied on an informal network of communication and exchange that allowed platforms for preaching, companionship, financial and emotional support during travels in the early nineteenth century.