Andrews, Stephen (Pearl)(1812–1886) abolitionist, linguist, social thinker; born in Templeton, Mass. A Baptist minister's son, he went to Louisiana at age 18 and studied and practiced law there; appalled by slavery, he became an abolitionist. Having moved to Texas in 1839, he and his family were almost killed because of his abolitionist lectures and had to flee (1843). He went off to England where he failed at his scheme to raise funds to free slaves in America. But he became interested in Pitman's new shorthand writing system and on his return to the U.S.A. he taught and wrote about this new passion while continuing his abolitionist lectures. He also became interested in phonetics and the study of foreign languages, eventually learning 30 including Chinese. By the end of the 1840s he began to focus his energies on utopian communities, establishing Modern Times in Islip, N.Y., (1851), and then Unity Home in New York City (1857). By the 1860s he was propounding an ideal society called Pantarchy, and from this he moved on to a philosophy he called "universology," which stressed the unity of all knowledge and activities. The last two decades of his life saw him at the center of many of the progressive social reform circles in New York City.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.