Mary Hunter Moore served the denomination for more than half a century in the areas of education and publishing. She authored several books and scores of magazine articles and columns.1
Born April 21, 1889, Mary grew up in a seventh-day Sabbath observing Presbyterian family in Chicago. During her childhood she struggled with severe vision problems, once commenting that she thought the depiction of the crescent moon in drawings was only an artistic convention and not real. Becoming a Seventh-day Adventist, she attended Union College and received her B.A. degree in 1914. After graduation, she tutored the children of a wealthy family that was one of the first major donors to the College of Medical evangelists and taught church school in California. While there she attended Ellen G. White’s Oakland, California, funeral service in 1915. A memory of the service that stayed in her mind the rest of her life was the sheaf of wheat laid across Mrs. White’s casket, a symbol of resurrection.
Moore taught for three years in California, then served another three years as girl’s dean and teacher at Maplewood Academy in Minnesota. Leaving the world of education, she accepted in 1920 a position as proofreader and librarian, despite her vision problem, at Southern Publishing Association in Nashville, Tennessee.2 Because she had not married, she was one of the few women in the denominational work force to keep her job during the American Great Depression of the 1930s when institutions laid off numerous employees and generally retained only male heads of households.3
Moore remained at Southern Publishing until her retirement in 1958. Among her many responsibilities at Southern was serving on a committee that did a special revision of Uriah Smith’s Daniel and Revelation to sell in the Southern Union. Church leadership also called upon her to do research on various doctrinal and other issues troubling the denomination at the time, such as the Wednesday crucifixion theory promoted by Herbert W. Armstrong. In addition, Moore authored a “God’s Two Books” column in These Times magazine and became a popular speaker on nature and the spiritual lessons it taught. She also wrote the responses for the Bible question and answer column in These Times (previously titled the Watchman, then Our Times).4
In addition, she wrote numerous magazine articles and several books, including The Gleaner of Bethlehem (Southern Publishing Association, 1930), They That Be Teachers (SPA, 1937), A Workman Not Ashamed (SPA, 1942), I Shall Be Satisfied (Review and Herald, 1947), and Down Nature’s Path (SPA, 1953). During the early 1960s she wrote a short history of Southern Publishing Association that became the entry about the publishing house for the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia first published in 1966. Although she officially retired from Southern Publishing in 1958, Moore continued to volunteer as its librarian through the 1960s. Her struggles with vision problems led her to volunteer as a teacher at the Tennessee School for the Blind. Eventually, she moved away from the Nashville area with her sister, Julia, and died December 21, 1975.5
“Mary Hunter Moore.” Madison Survey and Alumni News, March 1976.
“Moore, Mary Hunter” obituary. ARH, February 26, 1976.
This article draws on the author’s personal conversations with Mary Hunter Moore during his years of service at Southern Publishing Association, beginning in 1967.↩
“Mary Hunter Moore,” Madison Survey and Alumni News, March 1976, 7.↩
Kit Watts, “The Rise and Fall of Adventist Women in Leadership,” Ministry, April 1995, 9-10.↩
“Moore, Mary Hunter” obituary, ARH, February 26, 1976, 23. The unsigned columns or “Departments” were titled “The Watchman Answers” in Watchman, “Scripture Problems Answered” in Our Times, and “Please Explain” in These Times.↩
“Mary Hunter Moore.”↩