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Wilson, Edwin H. | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center

Name: Wilson, Edwin H.

Historical Note:

Edwin H. Wilson was born August 23, 1898, in Woodhaven New York.  He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Boston University in 1922, and graduated from the Meadville Theological School in 1924.  He became an ordained Unitarian minister in 1926, and for the next six decades served congregations in Dayton, Ohio; Schenectady, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Yellow Springs, Ohio; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Wilson had a lifelong interest in religious humanism.  He was a contributor, then editor of The New Humanist.  When that publication ceased in 1936, he published his own newsletter, the Humanist Bulletin, which was followed by The Humanist, journal of American Humanist Association, which Wilson helped co-found in 1941.  In addition to editing the journal, Wilson was Executive Director of the American Humanist Association for over twenty years, and also served on its Board of Directors.

Wilson is perhaps best known today for co-authoring the Humanist Manifesto in 1933.  He also co-authored Humanist Manifesto II in 1973, and was a founding member of the International Humanist and Ethical Union in 1952.  Even after retiring from the ministry, Wilson continued a voluminous correspondence and followed events related to humanism and civil liberties.  He died in 1993 at the age of 94 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sources: Materials in the collection and the preface to "Genesis of a Humanist Manifesto," edited by Teresa Maciocha.

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