Who started Ethical Culture and what did they believe?

image of Felix Adler founder of ethical culture

“Felix Adler and the four slightly younger men who joined him as founding leaders of the first Societies for Ethical Culture were united in their assertion of the independence and the supremacy of ethics, Adler in New York (1876), William Mackintire Salter in Chicago (1883), S. Burns Weston in Philadelphia (1885), Walter L. Sheldon in St. Louis (1886), and Stanton Coit in London (1888).”

In the early 1980’s Jeff Hornback, then leader of the St. Louis Ethical Society, completed a manuscript that described both the biographies and intellectual philosophical beliefs of those early leaders. Those interested in the history of the movement and its early philosophical considerations will find this a fascinating account.

Mr. Hornback’s privately bound book, The Philosophic Sources and Sanctions of the Founders of Ethical Culture, has been newly transcribed and is publicly available in both PDF and HTML formats on the Ethical Society of St. Louis’s website.

Read or download it on our new Books and Publications page.