Three Ways of Looking at an Episcopalian
Abstract and Keywords
The world of the Episcopal Church between the Civil War and the Great Depression was one of considerable complexity and ferment, with consequences far beyond the internecine struggles among High, Low, and Broad Church factions as portrayed in traditional history. Episcopalians were also emerging at this time as a distinctive social configuration—a national elite. The question of whether Episcopalians were essentially Evangelical Protestants or Reformed Catholics reemerged after the Civil War, leading to the development of the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1871. Alternatively, the Broad Church movement essentially was an attempt to adapt the best from modern thought and culture to the purposes of the church. Most generally, the major contribution of the Episcopal Church to American life was a religious legitimization of the material realm, not only as a not fatally contaminated by sinfulness but as an authentic means for the experience of divine grace. Another major theme in American Episcopal life was philanthropy, a subject intimately involved with money.
SHE IS NOW A DUCHESS
Miss Consuelo Vanderbilt’s Marriage to the Duke of Marlborough
GREAT CROWDS CHEER THE BRIDE
Thousands of Women Besiege the Young Woman’s Home and St. Thomas’s Church
GIVEN AWAY BY W. K. VANDERBILT
Guests at the Wedding Breakfast—
Departure of Bride and Bridegroom for Oakdale, L.I.
Thus read the lead-in to the elaborate coverage of the celebrity event of the year in the New York Times for November 5, 1895. On the previous day, the heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt had been forced by her mother into marriage to the Ninth Duke of Marlborough, a cash-strapped English nobleman whom she loathed. (The story was told that she had been locked in her hotel room until she relented.)1 Henry Codman Potter, the Episcopal bishop of New York, who, with a cadre of other bishops and clergy, officiated at this notorious event, could easily be caricatured as a panderer to the rich—anciennes and nouveaux—who made up his constituency. While there is an element of truth in such a caricature, the reality of Potter’s career is considerably more complex. A genuine celebrity in New York, he was known not only as an abettor of the follies of the wealthy, but also as a trusted ally by the working-class community, few of whom were Episcopalian, and as a fair-minded arbitrator of labor disputes.2
In truth, the world of the Episcopal Church between the Civil War and the Great Depression was one of considerable complexity and ferment, with consequences far beyond the internecine struggles among High, Low, and Broad Church factions that make up much of the stuff of traditional institutional history. Episcopalians were also emerging at this time as a distinctive social configuration, that is, a national elite. While by no means all numbered (p.2) themselves among “the rich, the well-born, and the able”—a phrase coined by a notable Episcopalian of an earlier time, Alexander Hamilton—enough did so that their denomination acquired a reputation that continued to attract many who aspired to high social status as well as retain those who had already achieved such status. Finally, many among the Episcopal Church’s rapidly growing membership were involved in a variety of discourses and activities that helped shape an emergent, distinctively American, urban culture, just as they were in turn shaped by many of the broader forces in that culture.
To chronicle the history of the Episcopal Church as that of one denomination parallel to similar brands of Protestant Christianity has been done ably enough many times, but it is an approach that omits a good deal of what it meant to live as an Episcopalian during this era and what impact Episcopalians collectively exerted on the broader culture.* A tripartite analysis suggests itself, involving somewhat porous, but nonetheless useful, distinctions between religious, social, and cultural history. The first of these, which has been traced many times, can be brief. The second, which has never been treated very systematically, can be sketched from a variety of sources, but still awaits more definitive treatment by historians versed in the methods of social history. The third is the focus of this study, and includes such themes as philanthropy, the arts, education, and social criticism and reform.3
The Episcopal Church emerged from the Civil War reasonably unscathed. It avoided the antebellum divisions that had rent the national Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations, in part because much of its leadership had made a policy of avoiding political involvement as beyond the scope of the church. It had been well established in the South during colonial times (p.3) as the church of the elite, and that elite—including a number of clergy and bishops—continued to hold slaves after independence. Northern Episcopalians were not of one mind on the matter: Some actively defended the “peculiar institution,” and only a few flocked to join the movement for abolition. The Southern dioceses seceded during the “late unpleasantness” to form the short-lived Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America, but their bishops began to straggle back into the 1865 General Convention—the triennial assemblage by which the church is governed—and the status quo ante was restored with little fanfare or controversy.
The only enduring schism in the Episcopal Church during the nineteenth century arose out of a division not over social policy but rather over matters of doctrine and liturgical practice. Almost since its inception, the (Protestant) Episcopal Church found itself divided into two parties, which inherited from their English predecessors the labels “Low Church” and “High Church.” In the United States, “Low Church” was code for “Evangelical”; its adherents, who were based in the vicinity of the nation’s capital, saw themselves as Reformed Christians who followed a distinctive liturgy—the Book of Common Prayer—and were governed by bishops. However, they regarded these particulars as less important than the universal marks of Evangelical Protestantism: the authority of scripture, the need for a personal experience of regeneration, the doctrine of the vicarious atonement, and the imperative to spread the faith aggressively. “High Church” Episcopalians, based in New York City, stressed instead the centrality of Episcopal polity—that is, the necessity that its bishops be firmly planted in the “historic episcopate,” or apostolic succession of bishops—and of sacramental worship, focused on the “dominically instituted” rites of baptism and the Holy Eucharist, which were believed to have been mandated personally by Jesus. Much of the antebellum history of the Episcopal Church consisted of sniping and jockeying between these two factions as they vied for control of the denomination and its agencies.
The question of whether Episcopalians were essentially Evangelical Protestants or Reformed Catholics reemerged after the Civil War, as each of these parties began to mutate and factionalize internally with changes in generational leadership. The more extreme Evangelicals grew increasingly restive with what they saw as insufficiently Reformed language concerning regeneration in the prayer book’s baptismal service, and unsuccessfully petitioned the General Convention of the Episcopal Church to change the wording. This did not happen, and those clergy who substituted their own wording without Episcopal authorization sometimes found themselves facing disciplinary (p.4) action. The more militant Dissenters left to organize the Reformed Episcopal Church in 1871. Although this schismatic group, which still exists, has never flourished numerically, it drained enough of the younger leadership from the Low Church community that the latter’s influence was thereafter minimized within the parent denomination. In the following account, they play only a marginal role.
One of the reasons for the drastic action taken by the more militant Evangelicals was their growing alarm over developments within the High Church community. The latter had been energized in the 1840s by the emergence in England of the Oxford, or Tractarian, movement, led by university dons John Henry Newman, John Keble, and Edward Bouvier Pusey. These “Oxford Apostles” argued that the apostolically rooted and historically continuous character of the church as the repository of sacramental worship was essential to authentic Christian life and practice. Tractarianism rapidly took root in the United States in the old High Church hotbeds of New York and New Jersey especially, and was accompanied by its Cambridge-based counterpart, known as the Ecclesiological movement. English and American Ecclesiologists argued that proper Christian worship along Tractarian lines could be conducted only in churches designed on the medieval Gothic model, every detail of which was believed to have symbolic and sacramental significance. (This doubtful assertion was based on the Ecclesiologists’ reading of a late medieval text by Durandus, who delighted in finding symbolism where the builders had most likely intended practicality or ornament.)4 The results were embodied in a wave of new church designs, beginning with St. James the Less in what is now Philadelphia, and continuing with the prolific work of English-born architect Richard Upjohn, whose 1845 Trinity Church in lower Manhattan is still a monument to the Gothic revival in the United States.5 These churches were designed not as preaching halls but as sacramental centers, and featured such elements as a sanctuary clearly delineated from the nave, where the congregation was seated, in which the altar—not the “Communion table”—was the visual and spiritual center of the structure.
Following the Civil War, a new emphasis developed among the heirs of the Oxford movement that also derived from English precedent, namely, “Ritualism” (a term more or less interchangeable with “Anglo-Catholicism.”) Ritualists embraced what their opponents saw as an extreme Roman version of liturgical observance, a practice made all the more alarming because of the defection of a number of prominent Episcopalians, including one bishop, to Roman Catholicism prior to the Civil War.6 They advocated such practices (p.5) as auricular confession (that is, made orally and individually to a priest) and absolution; veneration of the saints; belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; and adoration of the exposed Eucharistic host. Ritualists were also fond of the use of incense and of bells during services, which gained their churches the enduring nickname of “smells and bells.” In major eastern cities, such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, they were represented particularly by one of the new religious orders, recently revived in and imported from England, the Cowley Fathers, who periodically encountered resistance both from local bishops and their superiors back in England.7 These religious orders, for both men and women, would play an instrumental role both in the promotion of educational and social projects as well as in the introduction of a new kind of spirituality for clergy and laity alike.
It was in the Great Lakes area, however, where American Ritualism particularly flourished under the leadership of bishops such as Charles Grafton of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and James DeKoven of Illinois. This area was nicknamed the “Biretta Belt,” after a piece of headgear worn by Roman Catholic clerics and favored by Ritualists, and the flavor of the community there was captured in a 1900 photograph of an assemblage of Anglo-Catholic bishops colorfully arrayed in a variety of Episcopal regalia, some apparently borrowed from the Eastern Orthodox Church, which earned the assemblage the derogatory label “the Fond du Lac Circus.” Nashotah House, a seminary founded in Wisconsin in 1842, became the center for training clergy in this tradition. New York City’s General Theological Seminary, the first Episcopal theological school in the nation, was founded in 1817 as a focus for the older High Church party led by New York bishop John Henry Hobart. Its Low Church counterpart historically was Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria (1823), now a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Though Ritualism had to struggle against Low Church opposition during its early years and never gained ascendancy within the denomination, many of its less extreme liturgical innovations eventually gained wide acceptance, and the educational and social work of its religious orders was a major contribution to Episcopal outreach efforts. The wave of the immediate future, however, was to be neither High nor Low, but rather lay in a new movement, also English-inspired, that began to take shape during the decades that followed the Civil War. The “Broad Church” movement, as it came to be called, was never an organized faction, but rather a climate of opinion that rapidly spread among some of the most influential church leaders of the era such as Boston’s Phillips Brooks and New York’s William Reed Huntington. (p.6)
The Broad Church movement essentially was an attempt to adapt the best from modern thought and culture to the purposes of the church. Its origins can be traced to the publication in England in 1860 of a collection of articles by several scholars entitled Essays and Reviews, which were intended to introduce an Anglican audience to the fruits of the new, critical biblical scholarship that had been developing in Germany. Subsequent English theologians such as Charles Gore published in 1889 another collection entitled Lux Mundi (“The Light of the World”), which built on this earlier recognition of the value of modern scientific and historical thought to religion. The authors of Lux Mundi stressed especially the centrality of the traditional Christian doctrine of the Incarnation, thereby legitimizing a focus of Christian concern away from the ecclesiastical and supernatural and toward the contemporary world and its opportunities and challenges. Among the latter were the traumatic results of industrialization and urbanization in Britain, issues that prompted Anglican writers such as Frederick Denison Maurice and Charles (p.7) Kingsley to mobilize Anglican theology as a basis for a rigorous critique of laissez-faire capitalism. Another representative of British Broad Church concerns was Thomas Arnold, whose literary son Matthew is better remembered today. Arnold was an educational reformer—he transformed Rugby School according to his version of Christian principles—and advocate of church reform, as well as the inspiration for the popular English novel Tom Brown’s Schooldays.8 Arnold’s role as an embodiment of the movement’s principles is captured in a contemporary’s observation that “he awoke every morning with the conviction that everything was an open question.”9
The American Broad Church movement absorbed much from its British antecedents and contemporaries, and set about applying these lessons not only to the Episcopal Church but to contemporary society more broadly, which they saw as the ultimate object of their ministry. Phillips Brooks, for example, organized groups of local clergy, first in Philadelphia and then in Boston, for ecumenical discussion of current topics of all sorts. He and like-minded Episcopal clergy in 1874 expanded the scope of these meetings into the American Church Congress, a forum open to Episcopal clergy of all stripes that also entertained visiting speakers of a variety of persuasions, such as the tax reformer Henry George.10 The idea here was to engage the world on its own terms rather than distancing oneself in an ecclesiastical ghetto.
Broad Church advocates were by-and-large committed Episcopalians, although a few, such as William S. Rainsford at St. George’s in New York, eventually found that even the minimal creedal requirements of the church were more than they could in good conscience accept. Where Low Churchmen felt kinship with fellow Evangelicals in Reformed denominations, and Anglo-Catholics sometimes went the whole distance to Rome, those of the Broad persuasion felt themselves to be kindred spirits with other liberal Protestants. One arena in which this collaboration played itself out was the Social Gospel movement, which marshaled the resources of German-derived theology and biblical scholarship to reinterpret the Christian message as aimed at the redemption not only of the individual but of society as a whole. Its most visible publicists were not Episcopalians: Walter Rauschenbusch was a Baptist and Washington Gladden a Congregationalist. However, as will become clearer in a later chapter, Episcopalians played an early and especially creative role in applying the movement’s teachings to the social realities of the contemporary American urban scene.
A few other developments within the Episcopal Church during these decades are worth noting by way of background. One was negative. The furor (p.8) raised within the Reformed denominations, especially Baptists and Presbyterians, by the twin challenges of Darwinian evolution and German biblical criticism—both posited on the assumption of dynamic development over time rather than stasis, whether of species or revelation—were nonstarters among Episcopalians. Charles Briggs, for example, the controversial professor of biblical studies at New York’s Union Theological Seminary, was deposed from his status as a Presbyterian minister, but was shortly afterward ordained as an Episcopal priest. Although by no means all Episcopalians accepted these developments with equanimity, these issues never rose to such a point of contentiousness as to threaten denominational unity or the good standing of individual clergy.
A very different sort of development reflected the impact of the broader culture on the church’s polity. Although the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1789 as an American denomination independent of the Church of England provided for Episcopal polity—that is, governance by bishops—its canon law did not empower bishops with a great deal of authority within their dioceses. There was a presiding bishop, but this was more of an honorific for the senior bishop than a post carrying real power. This latter office was made elective and upgraded to carry with it real executive status by acts of General Convention in 1901 and 1919, reflecting the themes of consolidation, centralization, and professionalization that characterized business and other secular institutions during the Progressive Era. Similarly, individual bishops sought consolidation of their diocesan authority, in part through the movement begun in the mid-1860s to establish cathedrals as symbols of Episcopal presence and centralized agencies of administration. Although early cathedrals were usually urban churches with enhanced status, the desire for such structures soon gave rise to such architectural marvels as St. John the Divine in New York, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. The potential of such cathedrals for artistic and symbolic expression is a major theme of this study.
One of the most remarkable figures of mid-nineteenth century Manhattan was Isaac Hull Brown, who served as sexton of Grace Church from 1845 until his death in 1880. Weighing in at some four hundred pounds, “Brown,” as he was invariably known, began his career as a carpenter, and, in a very American (p.9) story of (ambiguously) upward mobility, he parleyed his position as church caretaker into one of unrivalled influence in the highest circles of New York society. Described as “the leading clerical factotum for the city’s rich and famous Episcopalians,” Brown served not only as pew-rent collector, plant manager, and undertaker for his parish, but also as a sort of free-lance, entrepreneurial concierge for the parish’s members, who came to rely on him as someone who could make social events happen properly by knowing where to obtain every necessary service and commodity. These services included “Brown’s Brigade,” a cadre of well-dressed and mannered young men who could serve as suitable escorts for the daughters of the elite on particular occasions while knowing their proper place at other times. Although never rising above working-class status himself, Brown acquired the position of a social arbiter upon whom the elite relied to be an impeccable judge as to who possessed “correct form.”11
Grace Church, designed in its most recent incarnation by James Renwick Jr. in the mid-1840s, has been described as “a handsome venue for a collective social display of the city’s most privileged citizens, and a place dedicated to secular affirmation of class solidarity.”12 Renwick, an Episcopalian, was also the architect for St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral on Fifth Avenue as well as the Smithsonian Institution’s “Castle.” As at most such churches, pews were not open to the general public, but were rented or sold at auction to raise funds for the church and to guarantee a literal and figurative position for the pew holder. Pews were thus real property, subject to being passed down as part of an estate and subdivided among heirs and even being sold to third parties.13 At Boston’s Trinity Church, the story goes, an entrepreneurial vestryman regularly rented a number of prime pews, sublet them profitably, and dutifully returned 10 percent of his yield to the parish.14
Although Grace Church has retained its fashionable cachet to the present day, it would be both unfair and inaccurate to dismiss it as the preserve of the well-to-do. Under a series of remarkable rectors in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Grace Church, like many of its urban counterparts, invested its funds not only in architectural enhancement and musical programming but also in outreach to the community. Henry Codman Potter, who served as rector from 1868 until his election as bishop in 1883, instituted a parish yearbook in order to publicize the parish’s outreach work, and transformed the once complacent parish into the prototype of one of the Episcopal Church’s major contributions to social Christianity: the institutional church. (p.10) (The phenomenon of the institutional church—usually a vast urban plant including all manner of recreational, educational, and even medical facilities as well as worship space—will be revisited at some length in chapter 4.)15
Potter was followed as rector by William Reed Huntington (1884–1909), the ecumenicist responsible for that formative statement of faith, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral. Huntington was not only an ecumenist but also a Broad Church promoter of the church as a vehicle for social amelioration. During his rectorship, a Great Mission House was established that, among other things, provided a place for poor women and girls from the immigrant community to work. This center encroached upon what had been the fashionable neighborhood of Broadway and Tenth Street.16 Huntington prided Grace Church on resisting the temptation to become part of the “spoor of the rich,” as Episcopal churches had been called as their constituencies migrated further and further uptown.17 In the early 1890s, Grace became the employer of the first three graduates of the New York Training School for Deaconesses, “deaconess” being a new vocational category that allowed unmarried women to pursue a career of social service without the taint carried by the terms “nun” or “sister,” which smacked of Romanism. Grace, like other downtown churches, opened a chapel that the poor might attend, presumably to avoid social discomfort both to themselves and their more affluent counterparts. Huntington also kept the church open on weekdays for the benefit of passersby and opened its reserved pews for general attendance at Sunday evening services. Grace eventually abolished pew rents in the 1930s.18
Although Grace was hardly on the cutting edge in its program of outreach to the poor—St. George’s in Stuyvesant Square, of which financier J. P. Morgan was the longtime senior warden, was far more energetic in its outreach programs and abolished pew rents earlier than many others—it does nicely illustrate the fact that wealthy and fashionable congregations often felt compelled to utilize their wealth on behalf of the poor, who were not yet rendered invisible by suburbanization.19 In Manhattan, however, it is safe to say that Episcopal churches were in fact places where the wealthy and fashionable—or the newly wealthy and would-be fashionable—tended to congregate. The Episcopal Church was well established as the church of what passed for an aristocracy in New York well before the Civil War. Columbia University had its origins as King’s College under Anglican aegis, and Trinity Church at Wall Street and Broadway continues to this day to own acres of land in the most expensive part of the nation’s richest city. However, New York’s “masters of the universe,” as Tom Wolfe would later style them, were a notoriously unstable (p.11) community, and the city’s Episcopal churches served as a vehicle through which the mores of the Knickerbockers—the old families of English and Dutch descent—could be passed along to the nouveaux riches “auslanders” who have endlessly replenished the city’s economic leadership.20
In other cities, the situation was somewhat different. Chicago, at one end of the spectrum, was a creature of the postbellum era, and had no established aristocracy—all its riches were equally nouveaux. Although the Episcopal Church had no historic boundaries, it was brought to the city with the earliest entrepreneurs from “back East,” and churches such as St. James—today its cathedral—vied with First Congregational and First, Second, and Fourth Presbyterian as places where business and dynastic alliances could be consummated, just as they could later be at urban and country clubs.21 Much the same might be said of Detroit and other newly flourishing cities of the time.
At the other end of the American urban historical spectrum were Boston, Philadelphia, and even Pittsburgh, in which Unitarians, Quakers, and Presbyterians had the advantage of colonial or at least antebellum beginnings. Boston had, by the early nineteenth century, shed most traces of its Puritan origins, and the liberal Congregationalists—by 1825 officially organized as Unitarians—were universally, if sometimes ruefully, recognized as dominating the city’s educational, cultural, and financial as well as religious institutions.22 Harriet Beecher Stowe (a convert to the Episcopal Church) wrote in the autobiography of her father, the redoubtable evangelist Lyman Beecher: “All the literary men of Massachusetts were Unitarians. All the trustees and professors of Harvard College were Unitarians. All the elite of wealth and fashion crowded Unitarian churches.”23
By the 1870s, however, the situation was shifting. Cleveland Amory, the chronicler of The Proper Bostonians, wrote of this transition:
Little by little, however, a practical low-church Episcopalianism began to make severe inroads on Boston’s home-grown Unitarianism. Many a First Family woman turned with joy to the more definite ritual of Episcopalianism, which included kneeling for prayer—Unitarians bend and make “slight obeisance” but do not kneel—and belief in the divinity of Christ. Sometimes she brought her husband along with her; sometimes First Families were split on the question. When the handsome young bachelor Phillips Brooks came to Boston in 1869 from Philadelphia, it was the Boston woman who soon made a social as well as an ecclesiastical lion out of him. With ringing rhetoric from his (p.12) Trinity Church pulpit Brooks soon had even such staunch Unitarian feminists as the daughters of James Russell Lowell and Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes proudly referring to him as “our bishop”; since Brooks had been born a Unitarian, his success was singularly important in placing Episcopalianism on a par with Unitarianism in the fight for the No. 1 religion of Boston’s best.24
Philadelphia was a somewhat different situation. The Pennsylvania colony had been founded as an idealistic experiment by the Society of Friends, or Quakers, whose pacifism and rejection of religious establishment had earned them the status of a persecuted minority in Britain. Their social connections, however—particularly those of the Penn family—had resulted in their being granted a whole colony in which to implement their religious ideals. The results were not enduring. Two of William Penn’s three sons abandoned the “Friendly Persuasion” in favor of their ancestral Anglicanism, and the stresses of trying to govern a colony that was part of an empire engaged in seemingly continuous warfare soon led to an abandonment of responsibility to outsiders such as Benjamin Franklin, who had fewer scruples as to the uses of violence.25
By the time of the Revolution, the transformation of the Philadelphia elite’s allegiance from Quakerism to Anglicanism had progressed dramatically. The crisis of conscience over the issue of the taking up of arms against perceived tyranny had become exacerbated by the revolt of the colonies, and many Quakers abandoned their ancestral principles and creed to serve the patriot cause. Although many Anglicans—particularly the clergy—in other parts of the colonies fled to Canada or the mother country after the outbreak of hostilities, their Philadelphia counterparts mainly supported the movement for freedom, and many Quakers joined them when their coreligionists refused to take sides or arms. As a result, Philadelphia’s Quaker community retained a certain amount of influence and prestige in the new republic, but Christ Church and the newer St. Peter’s emerged as the centers of religious and social influence in the early nineteenth century, and Episcopalians rapidly displaced Quakers as community leaders.26 Many of Philadelphia’s first families—Cadwaladers, Biddles, Morrises, Whartons, Peppers, Robertses—had begun as Quakers, but soon entered into the ranks of the Episcopalians.27 The difference in ethos between the two communities was summed up in two words: “plain” versus “fancy.”28 Where even wealthy Quakers shunned (p.13) conspicuous display, Anglicans had little compunction about emulating the lifestyles of their worldly British paragons.29
The heyday of Episcopal influence in Philadelphia came, as in many cities, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was during this period that a demographic shift among the elite took place from the core city to emergent peripheral neighborhoods. In Boston, this meant the Back Bay and Copley Square, the site of Phillips Brooks’s Trinity Church. In Philadelphia, it was Rittenhouse Square, where Anglo-Catholic St. Mark’s vied with the “Lower” Holy Trinity for fashionable adherents.30 The latter’s rector in the 1860s, the same Phillips Brooks who would soon distinguish himself in his native Boston, described Philadelphia’s religious scene as follows:
Philadelphia is a city where the Episcopal Church is thoroughly at home. Side by side with the gentler Puritanism of that sunnier clime, the Quakerism which quarreled and protested, but always quarreled and protested peacefully, the Church of England had lived and flourished in colonial days, and handed down a well-established life to the new Church which sprang out of her veins at the Revolution. It was the temperate zone of religious life with all its quiet richness. Free from antagonism, among a genial and social people, with just enough internal debate and difference to insure her life, enlisting the enthusiastic activity of her laity to a degree which we in Boston know nothing of, with a more demonstrative if not a deeper piety, with a confidence in herself which goes forth in a sense of responsibility for the community and a ready missionary zeal, the Church in Philadelphia was to the Church in Boston much like what a broad Pennsylvania valley is to the rough New England hillside.31
During the decades between 1860 and 1900 the three churches in Rittenhouse Square—St. James, which closed its doors in the 1940s, was the third—increased in membership by 338 percent, while the population of the county only grew by 130 percent. This pattern reversed itself after the turn of the century, when, as in most America cities, suburbanization took the lead, and formerly rural churches like Old St. David’s in Radnor and new parishes along the Mainline and in Chestnut Hill rapidly eclipsed the growth of urban churches.32 Wherever they were based, however, Episcopalians maintained hegemony over Philadelphia’s elite institutions in a remarkable way. Quakers still maintained some influence, as did Presbyterians, whose religion was (p.14) regarded by their Anglican counterparts as “not a sin … just a social error.” Henry Coit, the founding headmaster of St. Paul’s School, similarly remarked: “Never forget, my dear, that in the life to come Presbyterians will not be on the same plane as Episcopalians.”33 Even Jewish families succumbed to the temptation of assimilation. “It would be impossible,” wrote Nathaniel Burt, a popular chronicler of Philadelphia’s social mores, “to be more fully accepted without being eaten and digested … Gratzes, Ettings, and Hayes all became Episcopalians, like everybody else.”34 This is, certainly, an overstatement, since personal conviction, often in the context of interfaith marriage, played important roles in such decisions.35 Nevertheless, the ambience radiating from the Episcopal community was difficult to elude completely among the socially eminent of any background.
In Pittsburgh, a city whose social transformation has been analyzed by social historians with more than anecdotal thoroughness, a slightly different pattern emerges. During its antebellum decades, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians established a strong base in the city and built its early fortunes. Following the Civil War, however, a metamorphosis took place parallel to that in most northeastern cities in which the old “strict no-nonsense Calvinist” stock was forced to share hegemony with their new Anglican rivals.36 A new elite, less insular than its predecessors, began to assemble following the Civil War, making its fortunes in steel rather than the iron that had been the staple of the city’s earlier economy.37 As in other cities, the old and new elites rapidly forged alliances, abetted by new patterns of residence, sociability, and civic and religious involvement that characterized Victorian and Progressive Era Pittsburgh as much as they did other cities.38
Not surprisingly, the Episcopal Church played a role in this social transformation of “the dour provinciality of the iron elite,” as an 1868 observer characterized the older business barons.39 As historian Francis Couvares put it, “The Presbyterian elite was ill-suited to the role of patriciate.”40 As the East End, geographically isolated from the ethnic enclaves of factory workers, became the fashionable residence for the well-to-do, a new set of institutions rapidly developed that helped define the social identity and lifestyle of such a patriciate. These included a whole complex endowed by Andrew Carnegie featuring a music hall, library, museum, and art institute; the exclusive Duquesne and Pittsburgh Clubs; other clubs for genteel exertions such as tennis, golf, and archery; and new department stores that kept the community’s women au courant with the fashions in Boston and New York. Sending one’s children—sons especially—off to eastern prep schools and Ivy League colleges eroded (p.15) the city’s earlier provincialism, and intermarriage with auslanders further integrated the local elite with the culture of privilege that was expanding from the East Coast to form a national community.41
New occasions demanded new churches, and the East End soon boasted Calvary Episcopal as well as East Liberty and Shadyside Presbyterian as suitable houses of worship for this emergent suburban constituency. The first two of these were designed, in elaborate Gothic revival style, by Anglo-Catholic architect Ralph Adams Cram. East Liberty Presbyterian is something of a hybrid, a cross between a Gothic cathedral and an institutional church—much like its Chicago analogue, Cram’s Fourth Presbyterian on Michigan Avenue. Except for a few details, such as the liturgical apparatus and stained glass windows commemorating Presbyterian history, it is difficult to tell that these are not Episcopal churches.42 In addition to architecture, music came into play. As Couvares puts it, “A virtual explosion of music within a severely Low Church community served as a crucial mediator of the musical development of the city as a whole.” These churches engaged professional organists, soloists, music directors, and other arts professionals from New York City, which in turn helped create a climate conducive to the organization of local musical production, both amateur and professional.43 Although Presbyterians continued to dominate the upper class numerically, it is clear that their own churches were rapidly changing, especially in their approach to aesthetics, to come much closer to the Anglican way than their earlier austere ethos had permitted.
Calvary Episcopal also served, as did St. George’s in Manhattan, as a locus of political reform in a city that, like many of its counterparts, had fallen into the thrall of machine governance.44 During the rectorships of George Hodges (1889–94) and James McIlvaine (1900–1916) especially, Calvary provided leadership in implementing the principles of the Social Gospel—for example, by helping found Kingsley House, an urban settlement—and in implementing Progressive reform of urban government. In 1906, George Guthrie, a Calvary stalwart, was elected mayor on a reform platform; four years later, McIlvaine played a major role in producing the Pittsburgh Plan for municipal reform.45 And, just as J. P. Morgan had steadfastly backed William Rainsford at St. George’s, so did Henry Clay Frick and other “robber barons” remain (perhaps less than enthusiastic) members of Calvary in the midst of its heyday as a center of reform.46
Throughout the urban centers of the Northeast, the Episcopal Church seems almost universally to have played the role of social catalyst during the (p.16) late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It became a “virtually generic upper class religion,” building on its earlier strengths along the Eastern Seaboard and taking its place from early on, as an upper class began to develop in the newer cities of the Great Lakes and beyond.47 Although the Presbyterians and other locally elite denominations by no means disappeared, they were often shaped in their aesthetics and mores by an Anglicanism that had always been at home in realm of the material world and its pleasures. Episcopalianism, in short, was the ideal church to teach a newly coalescing national elite how to conduct itself now that the imperative for rigorous self-discipline and “inner-worldly asceticism” had relaxed.48 Although Episcopal clergy were held to high moral standards, their social and educational backgrounds and lifestyles were often similar to that of their affluent congregations. Episcopal churches and cathedrals were among the largest and certainly the most ornate among Protestants, and their architects—Richard Upjohn, H. H. Richardson, Henry Vaughan, Ralph Adams Cram—set the tone for other denominations. The Episcopal Church had become the church à la mode.
Or was it? Although Episcopal churches were not exactly in the forefront of social change in Chicago and Philadelphia, the examples of William Rainsford and George Hodges certainly indicate that they were driving forces for reform in New York and Pittsburgh, and their counterparts can be found in Boston, Cincinnati, and other cities. Even though a few Episcopal Social Gospel leaders were avowed socialists, one can argue that the major thrust of urban reform was essentially bourgeois, aimed at reinforcing the status quo rather than overturning it. This is plausible, but it complicates the argument that Episcopalians were aristocratic in their values. In fact, those values might more accurately be described as a complicated mix of aristocratic aspiration and bourgeois moralism, with an occasional dollop of social radicalism. And, although a large majority of Episcopalians during this era were most likely at least middle class in status, missions for immigrants, Native Americans, and industrial workers added a periphery of diversity.
“Culture” is an ambiguous but indispensable term for understanding yet another layer of the Episcopal experience. Culture, in the ethnological sense, refers both to the underlying templates that govern the way a coherent social group lives, as well as that group’s intellectual, symbolic, aesthetic, and material production. In a more aesthetic sense, the term sometimes refers to what (p.17) are in fact “taste cultures,” as in “highbrow” and “lowbrow.”49 We have already touched on the issue of culture in describing how Episcopalians participated formatively in an emergent national network of social institutions—prep schools and elite colleges, urban and country clubs, boards of charitable and cultural institutions, as well as churches themselves. All these helped to define and perpetuate, if not an aristocracy, an upper class that for several decades wielded considerable influence in the broader society, a class whose tone was definitively “highbrow.” But Episcopalians also participated in and helped shape a variety of discourses in Gilded Age and Progressive Era American culture—sometimes appropriating what that culture provided, sometimes taking the lead in contributing new strands, and occasionally providing distinct alternatives to what it had to offer.
Most generally, the major contribution of the Episcopal Church to American life was a religious legitimization of the material realm, not only as not fatally contaminated by sinfulness but as an authentic means for the experience of divine grace. This is not to say that Episcopalians, like their Unitarian counterparts, actually rejected such traditional teachings as the doctrine of original sin; they were for the most part quite orthodox in affirming the creeds of the early church. For all their theological liberalism, however, Boston’s Unitarians largely clung to the old ways in carrying on worship focused on verbal proclamation and instruction in decorous meeting houses without elaborate ritual or liturgical apparatus. Episcopalians, in contrast, reveled in architecture and accompanying liturgical arts that were as ornate as the ceremonies conducted therein and therewith. This love of material and aesthetic display not only sent out irresistible cues to the more austere Reformed denominations—Boston’s Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist) boasts an elegant set of Tiffany windows—but also provided an ethos in which the church’s wealthier members could accumulate the treasures of European artistic culture and make them available both for their own gratification and the edification of a broader public.
This legitimation, even sanctification, of the material realm is a central emphasis in my discussion here. In addition, however, Episcopalians of this era participated in a wide variety of discourses—some mutually reinforcing, some in tension with one another—that together constituted a lively cultural and intellectual world in the broader context of the American scene. Some of these discourses were explicitly theological, and have been outlined earlier. In simple terms, Episcopalians, if they paid attention to such issues at all, tended to divide along three party lines: Evangelicals, who identified (p.18) with their counterparts in the Reformed denominations; Anglo-Catholic Ritualists, who admired a great deal about Roman Catholicism; and Broad Churchmen, who shared liberal Protestant theological and social proclivities while stressing their own church’s potential for bridging the denominational chasms that had traditionally divided American Christians. Active identification with any of these three options necessitated participation in theological discourse beyond the boundaries of the Episcopal Church.
One major and obvious component of American Episcopal identity was its origins in the Church of England, the break from which was only a century behind Episcopalians at the start of this era. This post–Civil War period in the United States was also a time in which a sense of Anglican identity, which would eventually acquire worldwide dimensions, was beginning to emerge. A theological and disciplinary dispute in South Africa, which was then still a part of the British Empire, resulted in the archbishop of Canterbury’s convening the bishops of the entire Anglican world in 1867 for what would become the prototype of the decennial Lambeth Conferences. Although the impact of this development would only gradually impinge on American Episcopalians, it was an outward and visible sign that they were not simply an American Protestant denomination but also participants in a living tradition with firm grounding in the Church of England, the “historic episcopate,” and the Book of Common Prayer.
That American Episcopalians were involved in and influenced by transatlantic Anglican theological discourse is apparent in our earlier discussion of the impact of the Oxford and Cambridge movements in the 1840s and the later impact of English Broad Church thinkers—Arnold, Gore, Kingsley, Maurice—and Anglo-Catholic social reformers on thought and practice on the western edge of the Atlantic. Two other English writers who had at one time considered studying for ordination in the Church of England also had a major impact, not only on Episcopalians but on Americans more broadly. These were John Ruskin and William Morris, two of the major inspirations for the Arts and Crafts movement in both Britain and the United States.
Ruskin was a critic of both art and society who saw the two realms as inextricably interlinked. He argued in The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and other works that the value of a nation’s life is manifested in the quality of its artistic production, a category that includes everyday goods such as clothing, housing, and furniture as well as painting and sculpture. Modern industrial production had seriously eroded the quality of the lives of both factory workers, who had been reduced to taking on the function of machines, and (p.19) the consumers of the shoddy goods that they had mass-produced. William Morris, from his base at Kelmscott, both advocated and helped produce a wide range of objects that were intended to be at once beautiful and useful, such as wallpaper, carpets, and books. The ideas of the two men became extremely popular in turn-of-the-century American cities, where Arts and Crafts societies flourished. Prominent in these societies were Episcopalians such as Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram and Detroit publisher George G. Booth, who saw in the movement’s philosophy an expression of authentically Anglican aesthetic ideals. Many of the Episcopal churches and cathedrals that blossomed during this period became veritable showcases of Arts and Crafts-inspired products designed for liturgical use.
Closely allied to the Arts and Crafts movement was the Gothic revival, already mentioned as part of the Cambridge, or Ecclesiological, movement that had commenced in the 1840s. Although Episcopalians did build in other styles—H. H. Richardson’s Trinity Church in Boston, built for “prince of the pulpit” Phillips Brooks in the 1870s, is a prime example—the appeal of the specifically English strain of Gothic became the hallmark of Episcopal church design. In addition to the symbolic resonance promoted by its Ecclesiological enthusiasts, English Gothic had the merit of appealing to the Anglophilia that became a major cultural theme during an era of vast immigration and major demographic upheaval. Although many post-Revolutionary American cultural leaders had repudiated their English origins and systematically set about cultivating an authentic American identity, their postbellum successors again looked to London as the pacesetter for culture at all levels and a symbol of cultural rootedness that was lacking in their own upstart society. (The expatriations of Henry James and T. S. Eliot were extreme manifestations of this tendency, as were the marriages of myriads of socially ambitious young American women to English nobility.)
English Gothic thus became the preferred mode for church building, which accelerated with the burgeoning of America’s cities during this period. In New York, as in other cities, the fashionable fortunes of neighborhoods rose and fell rapidly. Episcopal churches periodically relocated further and further north along Fifth and other fashionable avenues, creating employment and artistic opportunities for Upjohn, Cram, and other gifted architects. Their task was made easier by the abundance of money available from their clientele in the era before the graduated income tax, as well as by the availability of talented immigrant craftsworkers who were employed carving wood or stone ornaments and fixtures for these new houses of worship. In addition (p.20) to this period witnessing the building of neighborhood parish churches, this was also the great age of cathedral building, culminating in such marvels as St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights and the National Cathedral atop Mount St. Alban in the nation’s capital. These cathedrals were at once architectural monuments, venues for artistic and musical production, and institutions designed to project a unified and effective diocesan presence in community and social outreach.
The Arts and Crafts movement and the Gothic revival were both parts of a wider, more diffuse discourse that might be identified as “medievalism.” This discourse, which began in Britain with writers such as Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Carlyle and was continued by Ruskin and Morris, looked to the Middle Ages not, as had many Protestants, as a time of ignorance and barbarism, but rather as a model organic society that contrasted favorably with the ugliness and injustice of nineteenth-century industrial cities.50 Medievalism could be primarily aesthetic, as among the pre-Raphaelite artists such as Sir Edward Burne-Jones, whose stained glass ornamented Boston’s Trinity Church, or it could have the biting social critique of Ruskin’s Traffic (1864). The theme of an organic society, however, became an important part of Episcopal social thought and was closely connected with material expression in architecture and the arts. The architect Ralph Adams Cram gave expression to this impulse both in his voluminous writings and in the panoply of churches and cathedrals he designed beginning in the 1890s.
Although Episcopal social thought and action were deeply influenced by English sources, they also had distinctively American dimensions. George Hodges, the energetic rector of Pittsburgh’s Calvary Church and later dean of the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, spoke very much in the language of the Progressive Era in his stress on reform for the sake of both justice and efficiency. His 1906 work, The Administration of an Institutional Church, set forth with a very American practicality and attention to detail a program for the implementation of this very American innovative form of ministry. The urban reform movement that had its roots in his rectorship at Calvary similarly combined elements of idealism, moralism, and practicality. The topic of the Episcopal Social Gospel is thus a complicated one, combining elements of medievalism, socialism, and “bourgeois reformism” in a variety of permutations.
Still another current of British thought that had important consequences for Episcopalians and Americans more broadly was the cult of “muscular Christianity” that emanated from the writings of Charles Kingsley and (p.21) Thomas Hughes. (The latter’s Tom Brown’s School Days of 1857 was a fictionalized tribute to the great Rugby headmaster, Thomas Arnold.) British-educated Endicott Peabody, who became headmaster of the Groton School at the time of its founding in 1884, was a major American spokesman for the movement, which correlated physical fitness with Christian character. The complex of Episcopal boarding schools—“St. Grottlesex”—that arose in the wake of Peabody’s success constituted an Episcopal attempt to popularize this philosophy in the broader context of shaping a national elite infused with Christian values.
A final major theme in American Episcopal life was philanthropy, a subject intimately involved with money. Many wealthy Americans were Episcopalians who had been influenced by that lapsed Presbyterian Andrew Carnegie’s notion that the rich had an obligation to do something socially constructive with that money, an idea he termed “the Gospel of Wealth.”51 Episcopal philanthropy took many forms, including major contributions to the denomination for churches and cathedrals, prep schools, social services, and other projects. In addition to specifically churchly benefactions, wealthy Episcopalians such as J. P. Morgan, who lavished funds on St. George’s Church and the new Cathedral of St. John the Divine, also spent untold sums on the arts. Morgan himself built a fabled personal collection and supported generously the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other cultural institutions. Just as Morgan’s library became a museum after his death, so did the palazzo-like Boston home of Isabella Stewart Gardner, whose apartments on the topmost level included a private chapel where the Cowley Fathers still celebrate annually a memorial service for the repose of her soul. George Booth’s Cranbrook complex near Detroit includes a variety of prep schools, a world-class art school, and Christ Church, which combines the Gothic revival and the Arts and Crafts impulse to remarkable effect. In the realm of historic preservation and instruction, both the eccentrically Episcopalian Henry Ford and the more orthodox W. A. R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church, were the guiding forces behind Michigan’s Greenfield Village and Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg, respectively.
Churches and Gospels
American Episcopalians were thus involved in a variety of religious, social, cultural and intellectual activities that, diverse in their components and complex in their interactions, constituted an engaged yet distinctive sphere within (p.22) the broader society. The following chapters portray in more detail the ways that American Episcopalians attempted to fashion a church and a society in which they sought to achieve beauty and community in the midst of a tumultuous urban landscape often distressingly lacking in both. We might refer to these ways collectively as “the Episcopal project”—a program, loosely organized if at all, in which bishops, clergy, and laypeople worked to provide themselves, other Christian denominations, and the American people as a whole with a set of structures, programs, and institutions that would transform and redeem an aesthetically barren cityscape, an ethically impoverished upper class, and an unjust social order into something more closely resembling the Kingdom of Christ.
Part I of this book, “Churches,” focuses on the built environment for worship that Episcopalians designed and constructed at an increasing pace as their wealth and prestige increased and American cities burgeoned. One model for these urban houses of worship was the Romanesque revival, exemplified most dramatically in Boston’s Trinity Church, designed by H. H. Richardson and intended by its celebrity rector, Phillips Brooks, as a fitting place for a distinctively Protestant sort of worship. An opposing and much more prevalent vision was that of the Anglo-Catholic architect Ralph Adams Cram, who created an Americanized variety of medieval Gothic that broadly influenced not only Episcopal church design but that of a spectrum of other denominations as well. In addition to a proliferation of parish churches, a centralizing administrative vision by the church’s bishops gave rise to a powerful movement toward the construction of monumental cathedrals—most dramatically in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.—designed primarily in the Gothic mode and signifying the church’s hopes for leadership in a drive to Christianize the American city.
In addition to the buildings themselves, these churches and cathedrals were distinguished from most other Protestant houses of worship in their ornate interiors. Here were brought together both liturgical artifacts brought over from Europe in a vast campaign of American acquisition of Old World art, as well as the products of contemporary artists and artisans intended to create an aura appropriate for solemn worship. This artistic production, influenced strongly by the reform-minded Arts and Crafts movement, could be oriented toward the theological slants either of a liberal Protestant—“Broad Church”—ethos, such as that promoted by Brooks at Trinity, or of the “High Church” Anglo-Catholicism of Cram, as exemplified at Manhattan’s Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine under the leadership of a series of bishops (p.23) of alternating persuasions. What ever the liturgical orientation, both factions converged in their advocacy of the use of material means to evoke the “beauty of holiness” in the performance of worship according to their shared Book of Common Prayer.
In Part II—“Gospels”—the focus shifts to a number of movements in which Episcopalians, both individually and institutionally, played leading roles, with significant consequences for the broader American social order. Although the Social Gospel was interdenominational, many of its aspects, such as settlement houses and institutional churches, had roots in British and American Anglican practice. Episcopalians in positions of social and economic leadership fostered alliances between churches, bishops, clergy, and laity and with other religious and community leaders in the advocacy of Progressive reform measures in many American cities. As with the Social Gospel, Broad Church and Anglo-Catholic Episcopalians found common cause in the emergent private boarding school—“prep school”—movement, in which clergy/headmasters aimed to steep new generations of financial and political leaders in Christian values to provide an alternative moral vision to the materialism and corruption of the Gilded Age. Finally, wealthy Episcopalians of a wide variety of theological viewpoints converged in their roles as cultural philanthropists, patronizing new urban cultural institutions, turning their homes into what would eventually become museums, and laying the foundations for the historic preservation movement. What ever the motivations of specific individuals, these movements were united by a this-worldly focus highly compatible with an Anglican sacramental vision and an ideal of the Kingdom of Christ attainable here on earth.
The epilogue—“The Irony of American Episcopal History”—is a narrative and reflection on the aftermath of the “Episcopal project” after cataclysmic shifts in American society brought it largely to an end. The Great Depression put a severe crimp in building campaigns, while the New Deal—under the aegis of the most prominent Episcopalian of his day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt—shifted to the government much of the responsibility for social change and relief. During the middle decades of the twentieth century, much of the cultural energy emanating from Episcopalians of the Progressive Era was eclipsed by their growing identification with the stereotypes of “WASPs,” “preppies,” and the “East Coast Establishment.” By the 1960s, a new shift was taking place. Non-WASPs such as the Kennedys were becoming assimilated into Establishment culture, while the Episcopal Church itself was transformed by an era of conflict both within itself and within the larger society. (p.24) As traditionalists fled the denomination, those who remained shifted the church’s identity from that of an informal national establishment to one of prophetic witness in the causes of social justice. Much of the heritage of the earlier “Episcopal project”—that of national cultural and social leadership—remains, though often now in a pluralistic context. The notion of a church that serves the nation as an informal religious establishment, however, vanished in the vortex of civil rights, women’s ordination, liturgical reform, and the challenges both of secularism and the Religious Right.
(1.) Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 1–7, 144–47; Louis Auchincloss, The Vanderbilt Era: Profiles of a Gilded Age (New York: Scribner’s, 1989), 105–11.
(2.) On Potter, see Michael Bourgeois, All Things Human: Henry Codman Potter and the Social Gospel (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004).
(*) In American usage, “Episcopal” is an adjective, capitalized when used in the name of the denomination and, in lowercase, referring to governance by or the authority of bishops. “Episcopalian” is a proper noun designating a member of the Episcopal Church. “Anglican” refers to the international community of churches that began with the Church of England, spread through the British Empire, and took independent national form as that empire began to disintegrate. The (Protestant) Episcopal Church, which was organized in the 1780s in the wake of American independence, was the first independent Anglican church outside the British Isles, having been preceded by the Episcopal Church of Scotland. The use of some form of the Book of Common Prayer in worship and, since the mid-nineteenth century, attendance of bishops at the decennial Lambeth Conference convened by the archbishop of Canterbury, have been hallmarks of Anglican identity.
(3.) Examples of such denominational histories include E. Clowes Chorley, Men and Movements in the Episcopal Church (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1948); Raymond W. Albright, A History of the Protestant Episcopal Church (New York: Macmillan, 1964); David L. Holmes, A Brief History of the Episcopal Church (Valley Forge, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1993); Robert Prichard, A History of the Episcopal Church (Harrisburg, Pa.: More house, 1991, 1999, 2014).
(4.) See James F. White, The Cambridge Movement: The Ecclesiologists and the Gothic Revival (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962); and Phoebe M. Stanton, The Gothic Revival and American Church Architecture: An Episode in Taste, 1840–1856 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968), for definitive accounts of this phenomenon.
(5.) See Everard Upjohn, Richard Upjohn: Architect and Churchman (New York: Columbia University Press, 1939).
(6.) This was Bishop Levi Silliman Ives of North Carolina. In England, John Henry Newman, the Tractarian leader, not only defected to Rome but was later made a cardinal.
(7.) Their official name was the Society of St. John the Evangelist. The religious orders had been suppressed after the English Reformation by Henry VIII, who coveted the (p.228) monasteries’ rich land holdings, and were not revived in England until the 1860s. Episcopal parishes such as the Church of the Advent in Boston, St. Clement’s in Philadelphia, and St. Mary the Virgin in New York City continue to represent this tradition.
(8.) Thomas Hughes, 1857.
(11.) Eric Homberger, Mrs. Astor’s New York: Money and Social Power in a Gilded Age (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003), 116–19. For more on Brown, see William Rhinelander Stewart, Grace Church and Old New York (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1923), 177–79.
(14.) Cleveland Amory, The Proper Bostonians (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1947), 179.
(20.) Homberger, Mrs. Astor, 182–85; Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850–1896 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 59–60.
(21.) Rima Lunin Schultz, The Church and the City: A Social History of 150 Years at St. James, Chicago (Chicago, Ill.: The Cathedral of St. James, 1986), 12–13, 123; Frederic Cople Jaher, The Urban Establishment (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982), 467, 518.
(22.) See Ronald Story, The Forging of an Aristocracy: Harvard and the Boston Upper Class, 1800–1870 (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1980), esp. 8, 96.
(23.) Barbara Cross, ed., The Autobiography of Lyman Beecher (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1961), II, 82. Beecher’s autobiography was compiled and interpolated by Harriet and others of his many children.
(25.) E. Digby Baltzell, Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class (Glencoe, Ill.: The Free Press, 1958), 240.
(27.) Nathaniel Burt, The Perennial Philadelphians (Boston: Little, Brown, 1963), 75.
(35.) See, e.g., Cynthia Gensheimer, “Annie Jonas Wells: Jewish Daughter, Episcopal Wife, In dependent Intellectual,” American Jewish History (July 2014): 83–125.
(36.) John N. Ingham, “Steel City Aristocrats,” in City at the Point: Essays on the Social History of Pittsburgh, ed. Samuel P. Hays (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1989), 266–67.
(38.) Ingham, “Steel City Aristocrats,” 269. “By mid-nineteenth century, the Pittsburgh elite had created a strong, tightly knit local aristocracy which evidently managed to integrate the older mercantile elite with a newer manufacturing group.”
(42.) The East Liberty Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pa.: East Liberty Presbyterian Church, 1935); Centennial History Calvary Episcopal Church 1855–1955 (Pittsburgh, Pa.: Calvary Episcopal Church, 1955).
(44.) Seth Low, Columbia University president and mayor, first of Brooklyn and then New York City, was, with other St. George’s members, such as Robert Fulton Cutting and Nicholas Murray Butler, active in the reform-minded Citizens Union. Moulton, St. George’s, 70–71.
(45.) Keith A. Zahniser, Steel City Gospel: Protestant Laity and Reform in Progressive Era Pittsburgh (New York: Routledge, 2005), esp. 1, 10.
(49.) Lawrence W. Levine, Highbrow, Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988) is the classic study of the emergence of taste cultures in the United States during this period.
(50.) See Alice Chandler, A Dream of Order: The Medieval Ideal in Nineteenth-Century English Literature (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1970).
(51.) Andrew Carnegie, “Wealth” (1889), published as “The Gospel of Wealth” with other essays in The Gospel of Wealth, ed. Edward C. Kirkland (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962), 14–49.