Treasures of the Archives

History: Association of Unity Churches/UWM

Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore were convinced that their teachings would be so profound when launching the Unity movement that religious denominations would come to acknowledge the importance of their instruction. When this did not happen, Unity followers eventually migrated into groups that became known as “Unity Centers.”

Becoming a proper instructor of the Unity beliefs required a certification process that eventually led to ordination. The first such Unity ordinations were conferred by the Unity Society of Practical Christianity on August 31, 1906. Charles and Myrtle were among the first ordained Unity ministers that year.

Unity: A History of Dedicated Service to Others

Unity has always made a pointed effort to remember Unity friends, family, and leaders who served in ways that left a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

In “A Grandson’s Reflections: An Interview With Charles R. Fillmore,” the first grandchild of Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore describes the elder Fillmore as “very outgoing, generous, and patient.” Just before entering the U.S. Navy in World War II, his grandfather gave him a watch, making a memory to last a lifetime.

Unity and Radio

Unity started “broadcasting” its message over the airwaves in the early 1920s, not long after America heard its first-ever national radio broadcast.

In this installment of its Treasures of the Archives series, Unity Archives draws from its extensive collection of data and artifacts and takes a look at Unity broadcast history.

Uncovered is a dynamic broadcast history that officially began in July 16, 1922, when Unity School of Christianity went on the air with its first radio talk on WOQ, which is recognized as the first official commercial radio station in the Midwest.

Unity Farm and Earth Day

To commemorate Earth Day, Unity Archives revisits the history and wonder of Unity Farm, which was begun and maintained with an intentional and celebrated respect for the earth.

It was the summer of 1919 when Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore and his sons, Rickert and Lowell, discovered a 58-acre tract of land that would befit their plan for Unity to have a space separate from the headquarters at 917 Tracy in Kansas City.

Historic Connection of Prayer and Unity

Prayer is the founding centerpiece of Unity. The healing power of affirmative prayer started in the 1880s when Charles and Myrtle Fillmore each experienced physical healing from their prayers and faith in God.  
“Prayer was the crux, core, and sinew of those first healings which started the Unity movement,” writes Dana Gatlin in the 1939 paperback, The Story of Unity’s Fifty Golden Years. “Unity’s prayer ministry is the backbone and breath and pulse of all of Unity’s endeavors.”

Unity Service to the Blind

Unity started offering its materials in braille as early as 1935, when it started publishing Daily Word® in braille.

Throughout the years, Unity continued to offer and expand its service to people with visual impairments with its braille publications. The first braille Wee Wisdom®, the monthly magazine started by Myrtle Fillmore in 1894, was printed in 1938.

Keep a True Lent

Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore believed Lent marked a time for personal transformation. 

“Lent is a season of spiritual growth, a time for progressive unfoldment,” Fillmore wrote in Keep a True Lent, which was published posthumously in 1953.

The hardcover book drew material from Fillmore’s published and unpublished writings about Lent and provided 47 lessons for inspiration and guidance during the Lenten period. The original book and reiterations, including a 2005 paperback edition, are among the many treasured publications found in the Unity Archives collection.

Ivan Lee Box Art and the Macklin Bible

A beautiful Macklin Bible of 1800 is on display at Unity Archives, where it is permanently housed. Only 150 of the six-volume sets were printed, making it among the rarest objects in the archives’ collection.

The illustrated folio Bible is named after its publisher, Thomas Macklin, a famous 18th-century print seller and picture dealer who produced the project to highlight the “glory of the English school of painting and engraving.” He created a new typeface and new kind of paper for the oversized Bible. Inside each volume are full-page paintings and designs by some of the foremost artists of that era as well as copperplate engravings.

Heart of Unity: Myrtle Fillmore

Myrtle Fillmore

Often referred to as “the heart” of Unity, cofounder Myrtle Fillmore was known for her thoughtful, joy-filled letters to people throughout the world who requested prayer.

She and Charles Fillmore met in 1876 and married in 1881. It was her personal healing experience with prayer that led to the creation of the Silent Unity prayer ministry. The couple founded the international Unity movement in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Society of Silent Help, now Silent Unity®, the following year.

The Winged Globe’s Variations in Print

The renowned “winged globe” emblem first appeared in print in June 1891, on the cover of the debut issue of Unity magazine (now Unity Magazine®). Since then, the symbol has gone through more than 100 different designs.

Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore chose the “winged globe” as a symbol for Unity because of the important message it conveyed. But what did the emblem mean? Unity magazine answered that question in its November 1891 issue.