Born to Presbyterian missionaries in China, Sophia Lyon's family returned to America when she was a young girl. She graduated with a B.A. from Wooster College (1897), took the M.A. at Teachers College, Columbia University (1904), and graduated with a B.D. from Union (1926). With Mary Ely Lyman, she became one of the first women faculty members at Union in 1927 as Instructor in Religious Education. She was also principal of the Union School of Religion in the building that is now part of Teachers College for the last three years of its operation, and a Sunday school teacher at Riverside Church. Sophia Lyon Fahs was frequently the subject of controversy due to her approach to teaching children about the Bible. She left Union in 1944 to become editor of Parents Magazine and of children's material for the American Unitarian Association, and editor of the Association's Beacon Series of educational books. She became the first woman professor to be ordained to the Unitarian-Universallist ministry in 1959 at the age of 82. She continued to write, edit, and teach for the rest of her life. She died at age 101 in 1977.
Sophia Lyon Fahs (1876-1977)
News article from Fahs' ordination to the Unitarian ministry, 1959
Program cover from ordination
First page of inaugural sermon.