The best organized series of Unitarian Universalist religious education curriculum, and certainly the series which maintains the highest quality overall, was the New Beacon Series in Religious Education, produced from 1937 to c. 1957 under the editorship of Sophia Lyon Fahs by the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America. Ask someone who went to a Unitarian or Universalist Sunday school in the 1950s, and they’re almost certain to remember Beginnings and How Miracles Abound and The Church across the Street. Ask someone whose children went through a Unitarian or Universalist Sunday school in those days, and they would probably add the Martin and Judy books for preschoolers.
In the Palo Alto church’s Sunday school this year, we used the book From Long Ago and Many Lands from the New Beacon Series. It has been so successful that I’m thinking of continuing on with the next book in the series. I searched the Web for a complete listing of the New Beacon series arranged in order of the age of the students, but could find nothing. Below find just such a listing. Please leave corrections in the comments.
A list of curriculum books in the New Beacon Series.
Arranged from youngest age group to oldest age group. Sources: “The Educational Philosophy of the New Beacon Series in Religious Education,” doctoral dissertation by Robert L’H Miller, Boston University, 1957; books from the series in my collection. Supporting books (e.g., teacher’s guides, parent’s guides, song books, theory books, etc.) are not included in this listing.
Martin and Judy in Their Two Little Houses, vol. 1 of the Martin and Judy series. Verna Hills, 1938 (rev. 1944).
Martin and Judy in Sunshine and Rain, vol. 2 of the Martin and Judy series. Verna Hills and Sophia Fahs, 1949.
Martin and Judy Playing and Learning, vol. 3 of the Martin and Judy series. Verna Hills and Sophia Fahs, 1948.
Primary (gr. K-3)
The Family Finds Out. Edith Hunter, 1951.
Exploring Nature and Life with Five and Six Year Olds. Edith Hunter, 1951.
The Tuckers: Growing To Know Themselves. Katherine Wensberg, 1952.
Animal Babies. Margaret Stanger, 1942 (rev. 1953).
Joseph: The Story of Twelve Brothers. Florence Klaber, 1941.
From Long Ago and Many Lands. Sophia Fahs, 1948.
Elementary (gr. 4-6)
How Miracles Abound. Bertha Stevens, 1941.
Beginnings: Earth, Sky, Life, Death. Sophia Fahs, et al., 1937, 1938; combined edition, 1958.
Children of the Sun. Margaret Dulles Edwards, 1947.
Moses. John W. Flight, 1942.
Jesus, the Carpenter’s Son. Sophia Fahs, 1946.
Junior High (gr. 7-9)
Drama of Ancient Israel. John W. Flight, 1949.
The Church Across the Street. Reginald Manwell and Sophia Fahs, 1947.
Men of Prophetic Fire. Roland Wolfe, 1951
High School (gr. 10-12)
Socrates. Cora Mason, 1953.
Know Thyself. Doreen Spitzer, 1954.
War’s Unconquered Children Speak. Alice Cobb, 1953.
Refugee from War. Alice Cobb, 1953.
The Old Story of Salvation. Sophia Fahs, 1955.
Questions that Matter Most: Asked by the World’s Religions. Floyd Ross and Tynette Hills, 1954.