In 1731, Anne and her minister husband, Benjamin Dutton, settled in Great Gransden, Huntingdonshire. After Benjamin's death, Anne became known on both sides of the Atlantic primarily through her extensive writings, including tracts, treatises, poems, hymns, and letters. Among her many correspondents were Howel Harris, Selina Hastings, William Seward, Phillip Doddridge, John Wesley, and George Whitefield. Harris believed God had entrusted her "with a Talent of writing for Him."
Whitefield, who helped promote and publish Anne's writings, commented upon meeting her that "her conversation is as weighty as her letters." She wrestled with the question of whether it was "biblical" for a woman to be a writer of theological matters. But in a tract entitled "A Letter to such of the Servants of Christ, who may have any scruple about the Lawfulness of Printing any thing written by a Woman" (1743), she stated that she wrote not for herself but "only the glory of God and the good of souls." Dutton's writings impacted evangelical revival in England and America. Not since 1884 have any of her writings been readily available. Now extensive portions of her letters, her tracts and booklets, and her poetry and hymns are once again available.
Joann Ford Watson is the H. R. Gill Family Professor of Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio. She received her B. A. from DePauw University, her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, USA, with rural-parish pastoral experience and inner-city experience. She has worked in Calcutta with Mother Theresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity.