Project Canterbury

The Story of St. Mary's

The Society of the Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City 1868-1931

Edited by Newbury Frost Read

New York: Published for the Board of Trustees, 1931.


At the first Meeting of 1891 the thanks of the Board were "tendered to Miss Sara L. Cooke for her generous gifts to the Church during the past year and for her warm interest in the welfare of the Parish."

This was before the days of "Budgets," but the Trustees at the January Meeting of each year, fixed the appropriations for the year. For a long time they were the same year after year, and they are set down here in the belief that comparison betwen them and the Budget of a recent year may be interesting: Rector, $4,000, Clerical Support, (meaning curates) $1,400, Organist, $1,800, Sexton (including organ blower), $1,200, Choir, $1,200, Fuel & gas, $650, Interest, $1,250, Incidentals, $400, Diocesan Funds, $175, Repairs, $100, making the total of the appropriations $12,175.

The item of "Clerical support" was fixed at that amount to enable Fr. Brown to secure a suitable assistant if he could find one. Apparently he succeeded, and on the 1st February, 1891, the Reverend H. L. Gamble became an assistant minister of the Parish at a salary of $1,200 a year.

[58] During the latter part of this year William V. Chapin passed through a severe illness, and was obliged to be out of the City for an indefinite period. He felt it right, under such circumstances, to resign both as Treasurer and Trustee, and on the 9th November his resignations were laid before the Board. His associates relieved him of his financial duties, which the faithful Col. Burt assumed, but would not consent to his leaving the Board.


The first Meeting of 1892 saw the beginning of two libraries in the Parish, or, perhaps it would be more cautious to say, the first official grants to the libraries: that to the music of $108.93 for "Sheet Music, printing, etc."; and that to the Sunday School of $50 for books.

The 8th February, 1892, Bowen Whiting Pierson was elected a Trustee.

At this Meeting the resignation of Col. Burt as Treasurer and Trustee was received, but was laid upon the table. It seems to be a reasonable inference that efforts were made to induce Col. Burt to reconsider, but they failed, and a Special Meeting was called at the residence of Dr. Edward H. Clarke, 234 West 42nd Street, on the 23rd March, 1892, when Col. Burt's resignations were regretfully accepted. On motion of Beverly Chew seconded by Dr. Clarke, Haley Fiske was at once elected Trustee and Treasurer. This was an unusual procedure, but proved to be amply justified in this case; and thus began a loyal service of thirty-seven years, which was only to end with his life. To us, of this generation, the three heroes of St. Mary's, are Dr. Barry, Haley Fiske, and Beverly Chew. Haley Fiske came to stand, in Church matters, toward Dr. Barry much as William Scott had stood toward Fr. Brown, but those earlier giants, in the rushing pace of today, are already becoming legendary, wrapt in the mists of long ago. Most of us can remember the more recent trio, and it seems strange to read that Haley Fiske was elected a Trustee and the Treasurer. So completely did he come to permeate St. Mary's that it is hard to picture a time when he had no connection with it.

On the 9th May, 1892, the Trustees recommended to the Trustees of the Mission House, the sale of the house, and the purchase of 232 West 45th Street, adjoining the Church on the west. The Treasurer was [58/59] authorized to have prepared preliminary plans of the alterations that might be necessary. He inspected the house, and reported to the first Meeting in the autumn that the plan was impractical, and it had been abandoned. The first meeting of the autumn, held the 10th October, 1892, was destined to become historic, although it is likely enough from the tone of the record that the participants did not at the time realize its significance. It began, as had so many other meetings, with the announcement that the funds had been exhausted and that the Church was in debt $1,200. This condition of the finances had become perennial, and the same action was authorized now that had been authorized many times before. The treasurer was empowered to borrow such sums as might be necessary, to the extent of $1,000 and to put up the sole security of the Church, the $1,000 bond belonging to the Endowment Fund, as collateral. That poor bond had been used so often for this purpose that it must have acquired, like the spendthrift's yellow shirt, a familiar appearance at the money-lenders.

"The Treasurer reported the late Miss Sara L. Cooke a member of this parish, had made this Church her residuary legatee. That upon inquiry he had learned that the amount coming to this Church ought to be at least one hundred thousand dollars. It was upon motion voted that the Treasurer be authorized to retain such counsel as is necessary to protect the interest of this parish."

That is the whole announcement; not another word appears about it. Even this statement is not given a paragraph of its own, but is tacked on to the Treasurer's everlasting deficit. Did the Trustees realize what the legacy would mean? Or had they dealt in small amounts, usually on the wrong side of the ledger, so long that they could not comprehend a sum that would increase the Church's income almost 50%? Or was there some question in their minds about getting it? The resolution to retain the lawyer would seem to lend color to this hypothesis.

Perhaps it was that the death of Col. Burt, which was announced at this Meeting, subordinated all other matters of interest in their minds. Certain it is that the Resolution spread upon the Minutes, a copy of which was sent to the family, leaves no room to doubt the place which Col. Burt had held in the affection and esteem of his associates. The Resolution is as follows: "This board has heard with deep sorrow of the death of our late associate Col. James Burt, for so many years a [59/60] member of this board. The interest he always felt, the devotion he ever manifested and the willing service he so cheerfully rendered in the work of the parish, will always be lovingly remembered. His genial presence and charming qualities endeared him to all who were associated with him--and his sudden death is deeply felt by all the members of this board, who were so closely united to him by the bonds of warm personal friendship. His services as Treasurer through times of much anxiety and many troubles will ever be most gratefully remembered; and this board feels it but just to his memory to record that the successful placing of the parish on a sound financial basis, is due, under God, almost entirely to his wise and careful management. High and noble views of life, loyalty to the Catholic Faith and unfaltering devotion to duty were the prominent traits of his character, accompanied at the same time by that rare modesty and entire absence of self assertion that makes his example all the more telling to those who knew and loved him. 'Grant him O Lord, Eternal Rest and may Light perpetual shine upon him. Amen'."

To complete the business of this meeting Willett Bronson tendered his resignation, but it was laid on the table.

At the Meeting of the 14th November, 1892, the new Treasurer, Haley Fiske, had a gloomy account to give of the finances. Acting upon the authority given him at the last Meeting, he had borrowed $800 (on the useful and familiar collateral) but the Church was still in debt about $1,300. This condition seems to have been caused by "arrears", of which the Treasurer thought from $700 to $900 would be made good. Some of the anxiety that marked this discussion was no doubt due to the Treasurer's not having served through a summer before and therefore not being familiar with the practise of many pledgers to go away at that time of the year and let their contributions wait until they begin to attend Church again in the autumn or winter, evidently under the impression that the Parish has no expenses from about the 1st of June until the end of November. But, making allowance for this curious practise, there was enough in the financial condition of the Church to cause grave concern.

Fiske reported that he had retained Arnaux, Rich and Woodford as counsel to look out for the interest of the Parish in connection with the Cooke legacy, and that from present indications the amount would [60/61] be somewhat larger than had at first been supposed.

The Rector, who has come to be referred to by that title or as "the Rev. the Rector", rendered a report about the roof and a certain chimney which seems to have been giving considerable trouble. He had had them temporarily repaired, but he stated that they would have to be put in proper shape during the coming summer. There is no more indication in the record of this meeting than in that of the previous one that the large legacy would make any change in the Parish.

William Viall Chapin resigned as a Trustee; and the Reverend William Sharp, Jr. was elected an Assistant Minister. It seems to us now to have been a curious arrangement that the assistants were elected for one year, and that their engagements were continued as the result of annual elections. Why Fr. Brown did not exercise the usual prerogative of a Rector in this matter is not clear, but he may have considered it more tactful not to do so. For some reason which unfortunately is not stated, we find that Miss Norton was paid "$50 for her services in the Choir". As the Choir was a paid one, we can only assume that this was in the nature of a testimonial, perhaps for faithful or long service.

Evidently the matter of the settlement of Miss Cooke's estate was proceeding, at least in some directions, with considerable rapidity. At the Meeting of the 19th December, 1892, we find the following record: "The Rector reported that at the sale of the personal effects of the late Miss Cooke he had with the Treasurer's (evidently some such word as approval is omitted) reserved the clothing, religious books, pictures and such other articles as seemed right, and had ordered them stored at the expense of the Church."

The Treasurer then reported that there was some reason to fear a contest of Miss Cooke's will.

As we have seen, there is a break of about five years in the Minutes, and at this Meeting the present Secretary is requested to write to Willett Bronson the then Secretary "and demand from him the early records of this Parish". Unfortunately for us the demand seems not to have been complied with.

Even in a record which strives to be brief and formal some unconscious humor is apt to creep in. At this Annual Meeting Fr. Brown was duly elected President of the Board for the ensuing year, [61/62] in spite of the fact that under the By-Laws, which were adopted the 8th December, 1873, the Rector of the Church is and must be the President of the Trustees. These By-Laws, for all their importance in later years, seem at first not to have been accurately understood, for we find, during a number of years after their adoption, that William Scott was invariably called the President, whereas he had been made, by the By-Laws, Vice President for life. A note appended by Beverly Chew, the Secretary, to the record of this Meeting explains that the By-Laws were out of his possession, and that when he got them, presumably from Willett Bronson, he found the election of Fr. Brown to have been unnecessary.

At this Meeting the Rector reported that a memorial window had been placed in the Church by the family of the late Daniel Cottier.

It was at this Meeting too that we get the first reference to elec-. tricity, when "the Rector and Mr. Pierson were appointed a Committee to consider the question of securing an electrical plant for pumping the organ." It was in due time discovered and reported that such an article could be installed at a price varying from $125 to $225, according to the amount of power to be furnished, and it was ordered to be set up.


In the Treasurer's report for the year 1892, mention appears for the first time of a Summer Home. That mention is confined to the not very adequate information that $805 was raised for the Summer Home and $626.25 spent thereon.

Mr. Chatter was presented with $50 "for his services in the Choir".

In connection with the choir, it is interesting to us to note that the appropriation of $2,000 for the music of the year 1893 was made "on condition that a solo singer be provided for every week day 9:30 A.M. Mass (that A.M. in this connection is amusing) that may be appointed by the Rector, and that a soloist or a sufficient number of men and boys be furnished for the 9 o'clock Sunday Mass throughout the year, together with a competent organist." We learn later that George B. Prentice, who had recently been made a Doctor of Music, saw his way to meeting these conditions--although how he did for $2,000 a year is something of a puzzle to one accustomed to the costs of today.

[63] Another evidence of the changes that forty years have wrought is the statement in the February Meeting that the electric motor to pump the organ had been set up, "but that the connections with the street had not yet been made". Imagine a church without any form of electricity, and yet that was the condition of St. Mary's thirty-eight years ago. Nathan A. Chedsey, the Executor of Miss Cooke's will, held several conferences with Haley Fiske, whose courses and methods even in these early days seem perfectly natural to and consistent with the man we knew: he acted as his own judgment dictated, and then sought the approval of the Board for what he had done.

The Reverend John A. Staunton was invited to become an Assistant Minister, to take up his duties on the 1st June, and accepted. Fr. Sharp was granted a four months leave of absence, during which his salary was to be paid.

The record of the Meeting of 10th April, 1893, furnishes food for thought to those of us whose knowledge of St. Mary's is gained from written records only and not from personal acquaintance. The Treasurer reported that at the request of Mr. Chedsey, executor under Miss Cooke's will, he had appraised three pieces of property, forming part of her estate, in Brooklyn, and had advised their sale for $94,000. He also reported that the inheritance tax on its legacy would not have to be borne by the Corporation. It is clear from this that whatever doubts may at one time have been entertained with reference to the amount that the Church would receive as residuary legatee under Miss Cooke's will, the sum would be substantial. Yet there appears to have been no thought that this would lead to the erection of a new building, or make any difference in the course of the Parish, which had been running for a number of years with very little change in the numbers of its congregations or the extent of its finances. At this same meeting the Rector reported that negotiations had been opened looking to the purchase of the house adjoining the Church on the west, "with a view of its use as a clergy house, and that sufficient money to pay for the same in full had been promised."

"The Rector also reported that a parishioner, Mr. Geo. W. Sutton, had agreed to supply the Church with the Stations of the Cross as a memorial to his wife; and that he had given the order for them. He reported that Mr. Fiske had offered a Crucifix to be placed near the pulpit as a memorial to his father and mother."

[64] To the viewpoint of today the two classes of business which occupied the Trustees at this Meeting seem strangely incongruous: they noted a large accession of wealth, and they planned to buy the property adjoining the small Church building, and to receive, in one case from a member of the Board, additions to that building. To our minds, the first thought that would have occurred to them, when the receipt of Miss Cooke's magnificent legacy became assured, would have been that now they would be in a position to leave the vicinity of Eighth Avenue and erect a church building adequate for the congregation; but this seems not to have been the case.

The Minutes of the Meeting held on the 18th May, 1893, contain a number of financial statistics that are of interest, and that furnish yet another of the many instances of the curious amalgamation of poverty and prosperity that made up the financial condition of St. Mary's for so many years--the poverty being by far the larger ingredient. The Easter Collection was $1,196.20 as against $1,112.25 the previous year. The Treasurer reported that he had renewed the note for $800 for three months, and he was authorized to renew it for a like further period. He also reported that he had $200 on hand and unpaid bills to the amount of $325 in addition to the $625 interest on the mortgage due the 1st June--about twelve days hence.

Following the system that he adhered to for so many years, the Treasurer made a brief general report of the income, and showed that "the number of pledges this year was 189, and that they amounted to about $119 per Sunday; and that the payments so far this year had been good, but that there was still $520 due from last year's pledges."

At the conclusion of the Treasurer's report, it is not surprising to find that "It was on motion voted that Fr. Brown and Mr. Fiske be appointed a committee to raise the sum of $2,500 to pay the present indebtedness and carry the Church through the summer."

But poverty was not the only note of the Meeting. Fr. Brown reported that Mrs. Emily M. Noyes had given $8,080 with which to purchase the house next the Church, 232 West 45th Street, for use as a clergy house, "and in addition the sum of $1,000 to repair and furnish the same". In thanking Mrs. Noyes, the Trustees notified her that this gift would be treated as a fund for the maintenance of a clergy house. Mrs. Noyes's generous gift was a memorial to her [64/65] husband, and there was a singular appropriateness in its being made a kind of endowment for a clergy house in connection with the Church which he had served as assistant minister for almost ten years.

"For his kindness and skill in the matter of this purchase, Anthony H. Creagh received the thanks of the Board."

At this Meeting the report could at last be made that the difficulties of getting electric current into the Church had been overcome, and that the electric motor, which had been completed at a cost of $281, "was giving good satisfaction". That this statement could be made about an ordinary electric motor was so very gratifying in the year 1893, that a vote of thanks was given to Messrs. Tucker and Gese for their work of installing it. Mechanically, there have been some changes in the last thirty-eight years.

The name of Miss Guion first appears in the records in a Resolution authorizing the Treasurer "to assent if necessary that Mr. Chedsey pay to Miss Guion the disbursements and expenses incurred by her during the sickness and at the death of Miss Cooke."

Willett Bronson and Dr. Clarke were formally excused for "their past absences from Meetings". Only Fr. Brown maintained a perfect record of attendance, but the others did not regard themselves as free to attend or remain away as they saw fit, and when they were obliged to be absent took steps to be excused. It is satisfactory to note that this tradition continues to the present day.

George W. Sutton, who had been elected a Trustee in 1882, and declined, was again elected at this Meeting, and accepted.

On the 28th of June, 1893, the Trustees met for the first time in the office of Haley Fiske, the Treasurer, at No. 1 Madison Avenue. During the next thirty-six years practically every Meeting was held in the same office of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company at that address, and "No. 1 Madison Avenue" was for many years the recognized business and financial headquarters of St. Mary's.

It is probable, however, that through all those years few of the Meetings were as abortive and unsatisfactory as the first one. The Treasurer was obliged to report that the appeal sent out by Fr. Brown and himself for the $2,500 so urgently needed, had produced but $750. Many of the parishioners had already gone away, the summer was upon them, less than a third of the necessary money was in hand, and [65/66] the much hypothecated $1,000 Bond was already pledged for all it could produce. In the face of this financial crisis, the action of the Trustees before they parted for the summer was eminently characteristic: they advanced to Fr. Staunton the sum of $275, and they appointed Fr. Brown and Haley Fiske "a committee to examine certain property offered for a Summer home at a price of $4,500".

It would be a curious speculation to consider if the Oxford Movement in England, which had been Fr. Brown's inspiration in founding St. Mary's, had given to him some tradition of national character as well as of churchmanship. Whether it had or not, and whether his official associates had acquired some of the transplanted national characteristics from him, is a theory that might not be susceptible of definite proof; but certain it is that the early Board of Trustees of St. Mary's displayed the true tenacity of the mother country; and evinced, in every critical period of their Church's history, that inability to consider even the contingency of defeat, and that refusal to be held back which is inherent in the Anglo-Saxon stock.

The Trustees were convened on the 4th October, 1893, to take formal action in the matter of the bequest to the Church under the Will of the late Sara L. Cooke. This action consisted of nine Resolutions, most ably framed to satisfy the Executor and safeguard the Corporation. Throughout the long and complicated transactions following Miss Cooke's death, and involving her Executor, N. A. Chedsey, certain of her friends and family, Fr. Brown, and Haley Fiske, representing St. Mary's, there is a remarkable tone of probity and business caution, combined with a scrupulous desire to follow the wishes of the dead, and a delicate consideration for the feelings of the living.

The Church, as Residuary Legatee, requested the Executor not to sell the residence at 29 West 25th Street, and agreed to accept it at a valuation of $60,000. It also agreed to rent the house until 1899 to Mrs. Cornelia L. Cooke at the rental of $3,500 a year, and to pay for the making of such repairs as were certified to be necessary by Geo. R. Read, upon whose judgment in real estate matters the Trustees relied.

Fr. Brown was "appointed a Committee to confer with Miss Guion with respect to the proper disposition as desired by Miss Cooke of the apparel and toilet articles belonging to her remaining in the hands of the Executor". The President and Treasurer were also appointed [66/67] a Committee to confer with Miss Guion and Chedsey, the Executor, relative to the erection of a monument over the grave of Miss Cooke. Fr. Brown's part in these personal matters, especially that of the apparel and toilet articles, leaves no room for doubt that Miss Cooke considered him one of her trusted and intimate friends. In fact it would appear that Miss Guion and Fr. Brown were Miss Cooke's closest friends; and it was therefore natural, that, having made what she considered adequate provision for the former under the terms of her Will, she should leave St. Mary's, the main object of Fr. Brown's life, her residuary legatee.

Having settled these matters, and done their utmost to carry out Miss Cooke's wishes, the Trustees arranged that the first money payment made to the Corporation should be used to pay off the only funded debt on the Church, the mortgage held by the Mutual Life Insurance Company.

At the Meeting of the 9th October, 1893, the resignation of Willett Bronson as a Trustee, which had been lying on the table since the 10th October, 1892, was, upon his insistence, accepted with sincere regret. He had served as a Trustee for twenty-three years, for twelve of which he had been Secretary.

Upon the nomination of Haley Fiske, William H. Lane was elected to fill the vacancy on the Board.

Matters connected with the legacy from Miss Cooke's estate, small payments on account of which were now being made from time to time, were considered, and the Treasurer, reporting that he had a sufficient sum on hand, was authorized to pay off the mortgage of $8,700 on the Rectory. It must have seemed strange, after all the years of struggle to make ends meet, to now be in a position to spend some money without first having had anxious consultation as to where it was coming from. But the accession of wealth cannot justly be described as having gone to the heads of the Trustees; for, in addition to paying off the Rectory mortgage, they added $25 a month for the balance of the year toward the maintenance of the Clergy House, and $80 a month for a like period to increase the Choir appropriation.

Beside these two not wildly extravagant outlays, they authorized Fr. Brown to have a door cut in the westerly wall of the Church to make a passageway into the Clergy House. From this it appears clear that there was as yet no intention to abandon the old Church.

[68] But there is a less anxious tone about the financial reports, and such an entry as the following would not have occurred a few years before: "Resolved that the Treasurer be and is hereby authorized to expend whatever additional sum may, in the opinion of Mr. Read, be necessary to repair the house No. 29 West 25th Street."

At the Meeting of the 13th November, 1893, the Trustees had the satisfaction of paying off the mortgage on the Church, the necessary amount of money having by that time been received from Miss Cooke's estate. While this particular mortgage from the Mutual Life Insurance Company was made only in 1877, it succeeded one for a similar amount made in 1870, so that for the twenty-three years of its existence the Church had had that financial cloud upon it. No wonder that the satisfaction of the Board was very real when it was at last removed. No permanent mortgage has since been placed upon the property of the Church.

Fr. Brown and Bowen W. Pierson were appointed at this meeting a Committee to revise the By-Laws. This matter had been regularly brought up by Haley Fiske for several months, but had been postponed under the pressure of other business. Now that the Cooke legacy was claiming less attention, the Trustees could turn to the consideration of other things. Among them we note the first reference to Miss Cooke's legacy of $50,000 to Fr. Brown; and to special appropriations for music for a particular day, $15 having been voted, on motion of Haley Fiske, "for extra music at the services in the Octave of All Saints." One wonders if, in his latter days, the Treasurer ever looked back upon such an entry; and one wonders, too, what the Musical Director would think now of an appropriation of $15 for extra music at several services!

At the suggestion of the always practical and always thoughtful Beverly Chew, the Treasurer was "authorized to employ such assistance as may be necessary in the work of his office"; and Haley Fiske was given authority "to pay Mr. Wm. H. Daily the sum of fifty dollars, for services rendered to the Corporation as assistant to the Treasurer". This office, created in this inconspicuous way, was destined to have a marked effect upon the fortunes of St. Mary's in the days that were to come.

Another innovation of this Meeting was destined to rise to a position [68/69] of much importance. "On motion of Mr. Pierson it was resolved that the President, Secretary and Treasurer be appointed the Executive Committee of this Board with the usual powers of Executive Committees". The powers thus rather vaguely described have since been defined, and there have been times in the history of St. Mary's when the wisdom of creating this Permanent Committee has been abundantly proved.

Fr. Brown was authorized "to consult with the Trustees of the Mission House of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, and with Mr. Cooke the donor thereof, with the object of having title of the Mission House property transferred to the Church Corporation".

There runs through all these deliberations one note: the note of preparation. The Trustees were so obviously putting their house in order, coordinating their affairs, rendering their organization more mobile, and making ready for more important developments than any they had yet undertaken, that we are in a measure prepared for the record which ends the long Minutes of this Meeting, probably the longest that had been held up to this time:

"After a lengthy discussion on the subject of enlarging the present Church or purchasing property for a new Church it was resolved that the Treasurer be authorized to consult with Mr. Read as to securing eight interior connecting lots running through the block in the section of the City between 44th and 48th Streets and Sixth and Seventh Avenues."

At the Annual Meeting, held 11th December, 1893, the Treasurer was able to make other gratifying announcements beside the fact that the satisfaction piece, completing the process of clearing the mortgage indebtedness from the Church, was now a matter of record. He was able to report that he had repaid the $800 note and had redeemed the oft-hypothecated $1,000 Bond. Let us hope it enjoyed its well-earned release from durance, and lived long in dignified liberty! He also stated, with pardonable pride, that all bills were paid, including one for $250 "to Stephen P. Nash for an opinion on the legality of assigning seats" at certain services.

N. A. Chedsey had sent seven trunks, twenty-three pictures and two safes which had been reserved from the sale of Miss Cooke's effects. The Treasurer had retained one of the safes for the use of [69/70] his office in his place of business, and had sent the other and the pictures to the Clergy House. The trunks had been turned over to Miss Guion, who had distributed the contents of six of them among Miss Cooke's personal friends in accordance with her wishes, and had returned the seventh, which contained laces valued at $1,000 to the Church. Those laces were devoted to the Vestments and ornaments, and some of them are said to be in use today. The same honorable fate befell the safes, for the one retained by Haley Fiske was later sent to the Church, and they are now, in their hale, hearty and somewhat ornate old age, guarding some of the Sacred Vessels. If you are not in too much of a hurry to open them, or over-particular about their yielding up their treasures just when you want them, they are still remarkably satisfactory safes; and their knob-and-key mechanism is far more baffling than any combination could ever be--as the present writer can testify, who once spent a wild hour with a key in his hand endeavoring to find a hole into which to insinuate it.

Fr. Brown was requested to distribute to the members of Miss Cooke's family the personal family portraits which had come to the Church; and Miss Guion was thanked for her trouble in the distribution of Miss Cooke's effects.

The Rector was also asked to purchase three hundred Prayer Books and a like number of Copies of Hymns Ancient and Modern of a cheap edition, and to have the same distributed through the Church.

This being the Annual Meeting the elections were held, and for the first time since it became vacant in 1889 by the death of William Scott, the Vice Presidency was filled by the election of Edward H. Clarke. This was a graceful gesture toward the oldest Trustee, who had served since 1871, as Dr. Clarke had long been ill, and had not been able to attend a Meeting for a considerable period.

Finally, at this Meeting, Haley Fiske was able to call up his motion to change the By-Laws by striking out that provision whereby any Trustee absent from two successive stated meetings ipso facto ceased to be a member of the board. It is probable] that this section was never legal, it was certainly very churlish and ill-conditioned, and it was most cumbersome as well as ineffective because of the provisions relating to excuses, which were always invoked by the delinquent's [70/71] associates. The motion was unanimously carried, and the harsh and useless provision stricken from the By-Laws.

A week later, on the 18th December, the Trustees met again to receive the report from Geo. R. Read, which was "that he sees a fair opportunity of securing eight lots on 46th & 47th Sts. midway between Broadway and Sixth Ave. for about $200,000, or $1,000 per front foot. It was moved and seconded that, the Treasurer be authorized to confer with Mr. Read and to instruct him to continue his efforts to secure an option on the eight lots mentioned."

The Committee on By-Laws reported that they proposed to submit a new set of By-Laws for consideration at the next Meeting; and we find recorded the curious motion "that a typewritten copy of the proposed new By-Laws be mailed to each member of the board before the next Meeting". Typewritten documents were not so much matters of course thirty-eight years ago as they are now.

The Reverend Arthur Mason, the Reverend Fr. Sharp and the Reverend Fr. Staunton were elected assistant ministers of the parish, in accordance with the custom of electing the Priests annually with the exception of the Rector.

Now that the Corporation had larger assets than liabilities we find that the funds were distributed through no less than three depositaries: the Hudson River Bank, the National Shoe and Leather Bank, and the Metropolitan Trust Company.

There appears in the records a casual reference to a very common occurrence of forty years ago, which sounds strangely enough today: "The application of the American District Telegraph Company to place wires on the roof of the Clergy House, was on motion denied."


In the Treasurer's annual statement of appropriations for the year 1894, which was presented at the first Meeting for that year, held the 22nd January, we find some evidences of the improved financial condition: Fr. Brown's salary was made $6,000, $4,000 was allowed for the Choir, while the organist's salary was set at $2,500, $150 was set aside for Extra Preachers, and the expenses of the Clergy house were fixed at $600. The totals of the balance-sheet for the year 1893 are [71/72] in marked contrast to those of the previous year. During 1892 the Church received, exclusive of the Mission Fund, $13,429.36, which amount included an overdraft, honored by the bank, of $18.29; and spent the whole sum. During 1893, the year when some of the legacy from Miss Cooke's estate was received, the total accounted for by the Treasurer amounted to $157,378.56.

At this Meeting the new By-Laws were adopted, and have remained in force without alteration to the present day.

A week later another Meeting was held to consider a further report from Geo. R. Read in reference to the property he was endeavoring to acquire in 46th and 47th Streets for the site of the new Church. The essence of this transaction was secrecy, as the land was held by separate owners, and it was essential if it was to be acquired at reasonable prices, that they be kept in ignorance of the purpose for which it was wanted. The negotiations had to be conducted simultaneously, and great care used to prevent each owner's learning that his neighbours had been approached.

On the next day two Meetings were held, one at 37 Wall Street at one o'clock, and the other at five o'clock at the residence of William H. Lane, whose health would not permit his leaving the house.

Six days later, on the 5th February, 1894, the Board again met and received the report of Geo. R. Read; that he could secure the 100 feet in 46th Street which he had been directed to seek, but that he advised the acquisition of an additional contiguous 43 feet, which would give the Church a total frontage of 143 feet on the street. He further reported that some inkling of the plans had got abroad and he believed that unless this plot was promptly secured it would be impossible to acquire in the desired location a site sufficiently large for the Church.

"After careful consideration and free interchange of opinions it was Resolved that George R. Read be instructed to purchase the eight houses on West 46th Street comprising about one hundred and forty-three feet, as shown in his diagram, for a price not to exceed one hundred and forty-nine thousand dollars."

One week later, at the Meeting held on Lincoln's Birthday, Geo. R. Read reported having purchased six of the eight properties at an aggregate cost of $117,910, thereby saving nearly $5,000 on the amount [72/73] estimated. The contracts for these purchases were turned over to the Church's attorneys, Arnoux, Ritch and Woodford, for examination of titles.

By the time of the next Regular Meeting, 12th March, 1894, three of them had been passed, and the Corporation had become owners in fee of 135, 137 and 145 West 46th Street. In fact, two days before the following article had appeared in the real estate magazine:

"South of 59th Street

"Geo. R. Read has purchased the seven three-story brick dwelling and lots Nos. 133, 135, 137 and 141 to 147, inclusive West 46th Street, from as many owners, for a syndicate the name and identity of which is not disclosed, at prices said to average about $16,500 each. Three of the lots are 16.8 feet front each and four are 18.9 each. What the intentions of the syndicate are with regard to the property could not be definitely learned; but it is said they will build a, big fire-proof storage warehouse upon it."

So far the secret of the ownership had been well preserved.

Geo. R. Read did not attend the meeting, evidently from motives of delicacy, for we find it recorded in the Minutes that he returned the $192.50 which had been paid him as commission for renting the house at 29 West 25th Street; but he sent a letter which seems to have given considerable food for thought, as it involved a scheme of selling one or more of the houses on 46th Street and purchasing property on 47th Street, so that the new Church would run through the block and face on two streets.

From an ecclesiastical point of view this may not have been the ideal arrangement, as it necessitated the Altar's being at the north or south instead of at the east end, but there can be no question that it enhanced enormously the value of the Church's property, as well as adding numerous conveniences of entrance and exit that the buildings would not otherwise have had.

This new plan was considered for five days, and on the 19th March the Trustees again met for further consultation. As the result of their deliberations, it was "Resolved that Mr. Read be authorized to endeavor to effect the exchange of 147 West 46th St. for 139 West 46th St. and if required to pay a bonus of $4,000 and having effected this [73/74] exchange to purchase Nos. 136-142 West 47th St. for $90,000". The object of this was to curtail the east and west dimensions of the plot on 46th Street, as it was now proposed to set the long dimension of the Church north and south.

It was evidently not at this time part of the plan to demolish and begin to build at once, for the Treasurer was authorized to insure the rents as fast as leases were made of any of the houses the Corporation was acquiring.

Yet another Meeting was held in March, at which the Trustees received the report that the owner of 139 West 46th Street demanded a bonus of $6,000 and that the four properties on 47th Street would cost $91,160. Both these terms were met, as were the conditions of occupancy imposed by Prof. Aubert who owned 142 West 47th Street.

Present day owners of real estate on Manhattan Island will be amused to read that the Title Guarantee and Trust Company offered to examine and insure the titles to 136 and 138 West 47th Street and 139 West 46th Street for $125.

On Saturday, the 7th April, the following article appeared in the Record and Guide, the magazine devoted to real estate in New York, wherein all transactions affecting real property are recorded, with some comments on the more important.

"South of 59th Street

"Geo. R. Read, acting for the Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Rev. H. McK. Brown, Rector, completed negotiations early in the week for the purchase of property in 46th and 47th Streets, to the amount of about $220,000. The first of the property, five parcels in 46th Street, was purchased during January and February, and was reported in The Record and Guide of March 10th. At that time there was a gap in the plot, one owner having got wind of the intentions of the buyers and framing his views of the value of the property accordingly. Since then the purchase of the balance of the tract has been completed. The plot embraces Nos. 133 to 145, inclusive, West 46th Street, 125 front x 100, and Nos. 136 to 142, inclusive, West 47th Street, 75 x 100. The church society will build a new church and parish houses on the plot--a fact which will exert an important and beneficent influence upon the character and value of properties in the surrounding section."

[75] The necessary plot having been formed, as all concerned then thought, there was no further need for secrecy, and the name of the purchaser was divulged.

At the Regular Meeting of the 9th April, 1894, the Treasurer was able to report that all the property was held by the Church, either in fee or under contract, and that the cost had amounted to $223,070. The property consisted of 133, 135, 137, 139, 141, 143 and 145 West 46th Street and 136, 138, 140 and 142 West 47th Street.

Negotiations between the Corporation and Charles T. Cook, which had been going on for a long time, were satisfactorily settled, and by virtue of them the Church acquired the lease of the Mission House, at 248 West 45th Street, with the right to sell the same, provided the money so obtained be used in the erection of the new Church or Mission House, and provided also that the memorial tablet to Eleanor M. Cook, now in the Mission House, shall be placed and maintained in the new Church or Chapel.

That a new Church was to be erected seems to have become pretty well known by this time, as "Applications from eleven architects were presented and on motion placed on file."

Five days later, on the 14th April, 1894, a Special Meeting was held which was remarkable, and which has been longer and more clearly remembered outside the Board than within. It was remarkable in the annals of St. Mary's as the first Meeting in twenty-six years from which Fr. Brown had been absent; and to outsiders, interested in such matters, it is still considered remarkable as being one of the few occasions on record of a man's being induced to buy back directly from the recipient property which had formerly been presented to it by his father as a gift.

The Minutes record that "Mr. Fiske laid before the meeting a proposition on the part of the representatives of Mr. Wm. W. Astor to recommend to Mr. Astor the purchase of the Church and Rectory at a fair valuation". The Resolution on this subject is worth transcribing in full. "Resolved that this Corporation make a contract, subject to the permission of the Supreme Court, to sell the fee of the Church and Rectory to W. W. Astor for $76,000, deed to be delivered at the option of the Corporation within a period of three years, the corporation to reserve from the sale the Altars, stained windows, Stations of [75/76] the Cross, the Canvass Pictures, the Organ, the Pulpit, the Pews, the Font, the Chancel rail, the Rood and figures, the Memorial tablets, and other fixtures that are a part of the Ornaments of the Church."

It is supposed that this scheme originated with Geo. R. Read, the real estate representative of William Waldorf Astor, and that he presented it to his principal as a good business move in order to square out his holdings in 45th Street, but the credit for the willingness to pay the full market price to regain property his father had freely given away twenty-six years before must rest with Astor. His legal adviser is said to have been by no means in accord with his generosity.

While this transaction was honest as well as legal--not always the same thing--and while the Trustees cannot fairly be criticized for doing all in their power to advance the interests of the Church whose business affairs were committed to their care, it is perhaps an illuminating commentary on the spiritual character of Fr. Brown that he remained away from this Meeting.

On the 27th April a meeting was held to pass the necessary Resolution to seek the permission of the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese to move the Church, and to notify the other Churches nearest the new site, as required by the Canons.

The question of the architect was then taken up and Le Brun and Son, Thomas Hastings, Thomas Nash, R. W. Gibson and Renwick, Aspinwall and Rossner were "notified that they may submit plans without compensation, and that they will be considered in competition, and that the other architects be notified (if necessary) that their services will not be required. The total cost of the Church and other buildings must not exceed $200,000".

The following twelve conditions were adopted, and copies of them were ordered sent to the Architects who were to be allowed to compete.


"1. Style of Architecture to be French Gothic.

"2. Church to seat at least 800 people exclusive of chancel.

"3. Chancel to be apsidal and at least 50 feet in depth with an aisle all around.

"4. Church to extend North & South with the chancel at the north end.

"5. Interior to be lofty.

[77] "6. Elaboration of detail to be on front and interior--No towers or spires.

"7. There must be at least two Chapels and a Baptistry.

"8. Rectory to be on 47th St.

"9. Clergy rooms and Sacristies on 47th St.

"10. Basement of Church to be made for Sunday School rooms.

"11. Mission House for Sisters to be on East side of plot on 46th St. First floor, large work room. Second and third floors, Sisters' apartments.

"12. Clergy House on 46th St. west side of plot. First floor, chapel and choir rooms. Second, third & fourth floors, class rooms and apartments for the Clergy."

Although the plans underwent minor modifications as the work progressed, they adhered very closely to these conditions, and in fact the cases where such conditions, prepared beforehand by amateurs, are so closely followed have been very rare.

At the Regular Meeting, held on the 14th May, the Treasurer reported that he had so far received from Nathan A. Chedsey, Executor of Miss Cooke's estate, $222,698.74 in Bond and Mortgages and accrued interest, and that he expected the balance, which he estimated at about $200,000 to be paid by the end of the month.

Fr. Brown reported that he had delivered to the Treasurer a bill of sale of the High Altar and appurtenances, and that the same had been recorded.

The official consent of the Bishop to move had been received, the four Rectors of adjoining Churches had been notified, and the Secretary of the Standing Committee had sent word that the various papers filed with him were in order.

So far matters were moving along smoothly, but it was not to be expected that the professional gentlemen would meet the wishes of the men of business without some demur. Of the five architects who had been asked to submit plans R. W. Gibson asked that he be compensated for his plans, Thomas Hastings declined to enter into competition (although he and his partner were subsequently awarded the Public Library as the result of a spirited competition), Renwick, Aspinwall and Rossner asked for further particulars, and nothing was heard from Le Brun and Sons or Thomas Nash. Haley Fiske reported that he believed Le Brun and Sons would not compete. In the [77/78] face of these discouragements, another architect, King James, was notified to submit plans, and the 1st September, 1894, was fixed as the time limit for receiving plans.

A Special Meeting was called on the 29th May, 1894, to consider architects and plans. Before going into this important matter, however, "The Treasurer reported he had received from the Executor of Miss Cooke's estate the balance in railroad bonds; the total amount received being at appraised value about $700,000".

The matter of architects was then brought up, and letters were read from R. W. Gibson and from Thomas Nash, and Fr. Brown reported the result of interviews with some of the others. We do not know the tenor of these letters and interviews, but they were evidently considered hopelessly unsatisfactory, for, after "a general discussion of the whole question", the following action was taken: "Resolved that in view of the unfavorable reception of the proposal of this board for a competition on the part of five architects in the preparation of plans for the new church the proposition is hereby withdrawn." And the Secretary was instructed to so notify the five architects.

Immediately following this decision is the record which is, in many ways, the most remarkable in the long transactions of St. Mary's.

"Resolved that an arrangement be made with Geo. R. Read, John Downey and Messrs. Le Brun & Sons to put up the buildings from plans satisfactory to this board, for such sum of money as this board shall determine."

If this were a sermon on St. Mary's and not a mere business record of its progress, there could hardly be a better text than that Resolution. A new church was to be built, with funds provided from a source that could not have been anticipated in the beginning, and the whole matter meets a check in the very place where no difficulty was to be expected. But the same faith and courage that had never failed them yet stood by them, and under a Higher Wisdom than their own, the men whose duty it was to direct the Church, were led to put the enormously important matter of the erection of the new buildings in the hands of an Evangelical Episcopalian, a conscientious Presbyterian, and a Roman Catholic.

The Trustees saw nothing incongruous in the arrangement. They believed these three men to be sincerely interested in St. Mary's, and [78/79] the fascinating personality of Fr. Brown, which made friends of people who did not agree with his views, smoothed out any rough places that might otherwise have developed in the intercourse between the men who felt they had to maintain the Catholic Cause as they saw it, and those who could not sympathise with it or understand it.

The faith of Fr. Brown and his associates that they would be able to supply in the plans the particular requirements of their own then little-known type of churchmanship, is not the least remarkable feature of the arrangement.

On Saturday, the 16th June, 1894, a Meeting was held to complete the business details, and "The Treasurer reported that Messrs N. Le Brun & Sons, John Downey and Geo. R. Read had agreed to undertake the erection of the new church, rectory, clergy house and mission house on the following terms: N. Le Brun & Sons to be paid a fee of seven thousand dollars independently of the cost of the building. John Downey to be paid a commission of three and one half per cent on the net cost of the building. Geo. R. "Read to be paid a commission of two and one half per cent on the net cost of the building."

Steps were then taken to begin building operations as soon as possible, and to this end the Treasurer was authorized to offer a sum not to exceed two hundred dollars to each of two tenants in the houses on the new site to induce them to surrender their leases as of the 1st July.

At this Meeting the Endowment Fund was increased by setting aside the sum of $200,000, "made up of income producing real estate taken at a conservative valuation, stocks and bonds at not more than par and bonds and mortgages". The Fund was "to be hereafter increased by the Board out of moneys saved from income and out of premiums or profit realized on sale or exchange of investments".

Le Brun was invited before the Board and exhibited sketches and ground plans of the buildings to be erected on the property now owned, and supplementary sketches based on the acquisition of the westerly lot on 47th Street, which he appears to have felt was necessary to the success of the plan. His belief was evidently in accord with that of the Trustees, for Geo. R. Read was authorized to purchase the property, No. 144 West 47th Street, at a price not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars.

[80] This having been settled, N. Le Brun & Sons were authorized to prepare plans and specifications for the new Church and other buildings to cost not more than two hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars.

The serious illness of the Reverend William Sharp was reported, and in consequence he was granted a vacation for three months from 1st July.

The following Resolution was passed: "That it is the sense of this Board that the daily offices of the Church be continued through the summer, and that if necessary Fr. Brown be authorized to employ a lay reader for that purpose."

By the first Meeting of the autumn, 11th October, 1894, all the houses on the new plot, with the exception of 135, 143 and 145 West 46th Street had been demolished. The Treasurer's efforts to induce the tenant of 135 to cancel her lease for $200 had not been successful, and she had countered with the modest request for $2,500 to induce her to vacate. Haley Fiske, who appears to have been as hard to "bluff" in those days as he was later, expressed the opinion that she would surrender her lease for $500, which he was authorized to offer her.

Le Brun was then invited before the Board and exhibited his ground plans and elevations of the proposed new Church, rectory, clergy and mission houses. They were examined, with what care we may imagine, although they had no doubt been frequently scrutinized before, and, upon motion, they were unanimously accepted.

A letter from Dr. Prentice was read, recommending that the organ be placed in the gallery over the entrance, and submitting an estimate of the cost of doing so.

Having decided upon the plans, the Trustees next considered the contract with John Downey and Son, and ratified it. It will be remembered that John Downey was one of the original subscribers for a $500 bond in 1870, and that he had done some work on the old Church in those days. It says much for the characters of these two men that he and Fr. Brown had remained on terms of mutual respect and liking for twenty-four years. The Rector of St. Mary's undoubtedly was the leader of the "High Church Party", but he certainly was no narrow bigot.

[81] Southard had removed the houses, a survey of the plot had been made at a cost of $75, and borings had been sunk at a cost of $109.25. 144 West 47th Street had been bought for $24,000, one thousand dollars less than had been appropriated, and all things were ready for the work to begin, as soon as possession could be got of the house on 46th Street.

The Rector reported that Fr. Sharp would not be able to return until the spring, and his leave of absence was therefore extended, while Fr. Brown was authorized to engage clerical help until Easter.

A week later, on the 18th October, the Trustees met Le Brun to discuss alternative suggestions concerning various building materials. The architect and the builders were requested to submit alternative bids on the seven points which had so far arisen: whether the Church Building should be, like the one referred to in "Long Meadow", of Indiana lime stone or Westerly granite; whether the apse, showing above the Rectory, should be of brick or stone; which of four sorts of brick should be used in the construction of the Clergy House, Mission House and Rectory; whether the Rose window should be of stone or wood; whether Kerne cement should be substituted for ordinary plaster in the interior; whether the heating system should be steam or hot water; and what the cost would be of the carving indicated on the front of the Church.

The Treasurer could not be present at this Meeting, but he reported in writing "that he had settled with the tenant of 135 West 46th Street for $300 and the current month's rent".

In his absence he was authorized "to expend not exceeding $150 in the purchase of a suitable desk and pigeon holes." He did purchase it, a handsome piece of mahogany furniture, and used it for years, and it is now doing honorable duty in the Rectory. One of the notable characteristics of Haley Fiske was his desire to have the best. He did not approve of shoddy things or shoddy people, and whenever he bought a thing that thing was good, and when he dealt with a person that person was responsbile. The desk is a small example of the former, and the fact that the Church's financial investments were made through the then old-established and reliable house of Vermilye & Co. indicates the latter.

[82] This Meeting adjourned to await the receipt of the alternative bids. The Trustees must have found these very busy days.

By the 2nd November the bids had been received, and the following list of the various sections of the work with the costs thereof were submitted to the Trustees. As the work progressed these preliminary estimates underwent some modification, but they are the most detailed figures we have, and are inserted here as giving a substantially correct summary of the cost of the new Church.


Masonry $ 66,785.00
Iron work 35,172.00
Stone work 46,600.00
Plastering 21,000.00
Plumbing 6,900.00
Steam heating 7,700.00
Roofing 11,859.00
Carpentry & Cabinet work & General Account 81,000.00
Painting & Varnishing 7,500
Hardware 1,750
Leaded glass--Ordinary $349.50
Ornamental 10,293.50


Electric Lighting 9,000.00
Pews 8,000.00
Confessionals 1,000.00
Lighting Fixtures 7,000.00
Excavating 5,000.00
Interior Marble & Tile 5,249.25


Both Le Brun and John Downey were present to explain the items and suggest various ways in which they could be reduced. There was a long discussion in the Board and the general conclusion arrived at [82/83] was "that the totals were too large for our present means". However--there always was an "however" when the older Board of St. Mary's arrived at any such economical conclusion--however, the builders were authorized to prepare contracts for the mason work, but to prepare them in such a way that changes in material could be determined upon later. This is the first of many entries of similar purport. The Trustees wanted to erect a handsome church, but they found that the cost of such an edifice as they wanted was more than they ought to spend, and they resorted to all sorts of shifts and compromises to reconcile their consciences to the larger outlays that they wanted but thought they ought not to make. One wonders what the present St. Mary's would have been had the then Trustees at the time of its erection been more interested in financial security than in raising as worthy a testimony as they could to the Glory of God. One thing is certain: that it is fortunate for us, the present Parishioners, that the then Board was not solely interested in considerations of sound business policy. Had they been, they would probably have remained in the old Church, and invested the Cooke legacy, on the income of which the Parish could have been supported very comfortably without any worry to the Trustees--until it died of comfortable dry-rot.

The contract for the iron work was closed, with the proviso that if the specifications could be met by another concern for less money, that concern would get the contract. How any such arrangements could have been entered into is as much a mystery as the financial arrangements of the early days, and we seem to see through these, as through those, the extraordinary personality of Fr. Brown.

Having satisfied their business consciences by proclaiming the estimates to be too high, and having referred them to the Architects and the Builder to be pared down--having let, nevertheless, the only two contracts for work that could be done at this time--the Trustees turned to the more congenial side of their deliberations, and appointed Fr. Brown a committee to see if more funds could not be raised to build the Church in accordance with the present plans.

The Rector was also requested to make suitable arrangements for the laying of the corner stone on the Patronal Festival, 8th December, 1894.

So many Special Meetings were being held during this exciting year, [83/84] that the Regular Meetings seem infrequent. One took place on the 12th November which began by approving the Minutes of five Special Meetings which had been held with strangers present or exclusively for purposes connected with the new buildings, and had afforded no opportunity for this necessary business. The bill of Arnaux, Rich and Woodford for services in the matter of the Cooke will was presented in the sum of $1,045.38, and was ordered paid. Certain scales of charges have indeed changed in the past thirty-five years.

A letter was read from Miss Guion, stating that the monument had been completed and placed in position over Miss Cooke's grave, and the bill for the monument was also ordered paid.

The Treasurer rendered his usual report, and a further statement of the assets, from which latter it appeared that the Corporation held Real Estate, other than that comprising the site of the new Church, to the value of $152,000; Bonds and Mortgages worth $208,946.82; Stocks and Bonds valued at $202,323.50; and $24,000 cash in Bank; making a gross total of $587,270.32; from which had to be deducted mortgages unpaid of $40,000 and Bills Payable of $45,000, thus leaving the net assets at $502,270.32. Of this amount $198,510 belonged to the Endowment Fund--which had been created with $219,050.86 but had suffered depreciation--and could not be used for any other purpose, so that the Treasurer was able to report, as available for building, $303,760.32. The cost of the site for the new Church, amounting to $208,939.08, was not included in these figures.

Dr. Prentice submitted an estimate of $2,500 for removing and reconstructing the present organ, and $2,000 to $2,500 for the new organ to be added in the Chancel or the gallery, as might be later determined.

A Special Meeting was called on the 21st November at which both John R. Downey and Pierre Le Brun were present, the two younger men having taken the places of their fathers, and more efforts were made to reduce the costs of the building, which again ended in conditional clauses going into the contracts, evidently very much to the satisfaction of the Trustees. Thus we find that the contract was closed "with B. A. & G. N. Williams, Jr. for the stone front of the Church for the sum of $34,575 making it conditional that the same contractors furnish the Clere-story in stone for $11,200, if desired by the board".

[85] Thos. J. Byrne received the contract for the plumbing for the sum of $6,800, a saving of $100 on the original estimate; and to Baker, Smith & Co. went the contract for the steam heating for $7,700.

Having settled these matters, some attention could be given to the forthcoming ceremony of laying the corner stone. John R. Downey offered to construct, without expense to the Church, such platforms and staging as would be necessary for the ceremony, and also offered the use of his new private stable at 112 West 46th Street for the Clergy and Choir. Both offers were gratefully accepted.

This Meeting closed with the record of a piece of business that sounds strangely out of date in New York today. "Resolved that Mr. Pierson be appointed a Committee to enquire into and report as to the licenses held by the several saloons in the immediate neighborhood of the new Church property."

Another Special Meeting was held on the 6th December to complete plans for the laying of the corner stone on the next day but one. One thousand copies of the plans and description of the new buildings were ordered printed for distribution to the press and to friends of the Church, and five hundred copies of the interior perspective were also ordered printed.

A revised bid was received from James White, who offered to put on the roof of slate for $7,806 or of copper for $9,639. This was a great saving over the original estimate of $11,859, and White was told he could do the work as soon as the Board decided whether to use slate or copper.

An objection was received from the Building Department to the doors from the Church into the adjoining buildings, and a further expense of $2,000 had to be authorized to fireproof the first story of all the buildings.

It was decided that the interior columns be made of stone. One wonders what other material had been under consideration, but evidently something had been, as the question of the columns was several times referred to.

At this Meeting the death was announced of George W. Sutton, as well as the fact that he had left a legacy of $5,000 to the Church. It was decided to use this legacy to remove and reconstruct the organ, which was to be a memorial to Mr. Sutton.

[86] On Saturday, the 8th December, 1894, with dignified and impressive ceremonies, which, however, were somewhat marred by the weather, the corner stone was laid. The following account is extracted from The New York Tribune of the 9th December.

"The Cornerstone of the Church of St. Mary The Virgin in its place.
"Interesting Ceremonies in West Forty-Sixth St.--Bishop Grafton, of Fond Du Lac, Officiates.

"The cornerstone of the new Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in Forty-sixth St., between Sixth-ave. and Broadway, was laid at 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon in a drizzling downpour. A large crowd of sympathizers and of spectators took up a position in the street and on the steps of the adjacent houses. The new building and the clergy and mission houses and rectory will cost $500,000 and will be ready one year from now. A quarter of an hour before the time set for laying the stone two processions formed and marched to the site of the new building, which was covered by an awning. Each column was headed by a crucifer. Then came Bishop Grafton, of Fond Du Lac, Wis., who was to officiate; the acolytes, the choristers, the architect, Pierre Le Brun, and the trustees--Beverly Chew, William H. Lane Dr. Edward H. Clarke, B. W. Pierson, Haley Fiske and the Rev. Father Thomas McKee Brown. Bishop Grafton wore a mitre, and his general attire did not differ greatly from that of a Roman Catholic bishop. The ceremony for laying the stone lasted less than an hour and began with the singing of a hymn. Then Bishop Grafton said:

"'Christian Brethren: We are come here to lay the cornerstone of a church to be builded to the honor and glory of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And, inasmuch as without faith it is impossible to please him, let us rehearse distinctly the articles of our belief.'

"The Bishop then said aloud the Lord's Prayer, the congregation joining in, and then Father Brown, the rector of the parish, named several deposits to be covered by the cornerstone, after which the stone was put in its place, and the Bishop, striking it three times, made the usual invocation, the congregation giving responses.

"After a blessing had been pronounced and a hymn sung, the Bishop with his attendants and the clergy and trustees marched back to No. 112 West Forty-sixth-st. Luncheon was served after the service.

"The new building will run through to Forty-seventh St. It will have a frontage of 125 feet in Forty-sixth-st. and 95 feet in Forty-seventh-st., and the style of architecture will be French Gothic of the thirteenth century. The clergy house, mission-house and rectory will [86/87] be French Gothic of the XIVth century. The exterior of the Church will be faced with light buff Indiana limestone, the other buildings with stone, light Roman bricks and terra cotta.

"The width will be 60 feet, length 180 feet, height to top of cross over main gable 130 feet, height of interior vaulting, nave, 80 feet; ambulatory or aisle, 26 feet; width of nave, 46 feet; width of ambulatory, 6 feet 6 inches. Twenty-two piers of clustered stone columns separate the nave from the ambulatory and support the clerestory walls.

"The church will terminate in a five-sided apse and be lighted through lofty clerestory windows. The ambulatory will extend entirely around the church, outside these columns, and be connected through arcaded openings with the chapels in the clergy and mission houses, and with the baptistry, lady chapel and rear entrance. The chancel will be 48 feet deep. The main organ will be placed over the main entrance. The seating capacity of the church will be 720 and of the chapels 350.

The clergy house will be 39 feet by 95 feet, four stories high in front and five stories in the rear. The first two stories will contain the chapel of the catechism for men and boys and the choir vestries. The third story will be devoted to guild purposes and young men's clubrooms, with assembly-room, library, etc. The fourth floor will contain suites of chambers for the resident clergy, and the fifth floor rear will be occupied by the janitor.

"On the first and second floors of the Mission House will be two chapels, a reception room and office for the Mother Superior. The third story will be devoted to the guild-rooms. The fourth story will have an infirmary, community-room and Sisters' sleeping apartments. The fifth story will contain the kitchen, refectory and two sleeping-rooms for servants. Dumb waiters "will connect the kitchens in both houses with the basements. Besides the rector, Father Brown, and his assistants, Fathers Staunton and Upjohn, who officiated with Bishop Grafton, there were also present the Rev. Drs. Greer and D. Parker Morgan, the Rev. George Ernest MacGill, the Rev. C. W. De Lyon Nichols, the Rev. Herbert Smith, the Rev. Dr. Cooper, of Astoria; the Rev. Albon Richey, the Rev. Dr. C. F. Canady, Rev. Messrs. H. A. Skinner, P. A. H. Brown, D. Kenny and E. W. Neil, the Rev. Drs. Davenport and Batterson, and the Rev. Fathers Riddell, Botts and Treat. George B. Prentice conducted the choir. Brothers Hugh, Edmund and Adair, of the Community of the Brothers of the Church, were also present.

"It being the twenty-fourth anniversary of the first service held by the parish in the old church in West Forty-fifth-st.--which it is intended now to sell--the occasion was celebrated by a service there in the morning at 9:30, and again at 8 o'clock in the evening, when there was a large attendance to witness the benediction of memorial gifts, which consisted of a costly Communion service, presented to Father Brown, the rector, by the parishioners of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin."

[88] At the Annual Meeting, which had to be adjourned for lack of a quorum from the 10th to the 17th December, William H. Lane was elected Vice President to succeed Dr. Clarke, and the Reverend Arthur Mason, the Reverend John A. Staunton, and Fr. Upjohn were elected Assistant Ministers.

On the Anniversary of the Parish, Fr. Brown had preached a sermon, in the course of which he pointed out certain parts of the new Church which could appropriately be given by individuals or groups as memorials. The suggestion seems to have met with an enthusiastic reception, and several handsome gifts were promptly pledged. Haley Fiske subscribed to the expense of building the Lady Chapel, and Mrs. W. A. Lane "agreed to take the Baptistry," as Fr. Brown rather quaintly reported.

Among the suitable memorials which the Rector had suggested were the capitals of the columns, each of which was to be carved at the cost of $100. Of these Mrs. Symonds subscribed for No. 7, the Men's Guild for Nos. 8 and 15, and Mrs. Fiske for No. 10.

In the record of this Meeting we find the first mention of "The Arrow," the parish paper which Fr. Brown had started. It was asked to publish "a full account of the corner stone ceremonies and of the presentation of the testimonial to Fr. Brown," toward the expenses of which publication the Treasurer was authorized to pay $25.

Charles T. Cook was elected a Trustee to fill the vacancy created by the death of George W. Sutton. Evidently great store was set by his accepting, as Fr. Brown was appointed a Committee to wait upon him, and to agree that the meetings should be held at a time and place to suit his convenience.


The first Meeting of the year 1895, held the 14th January, began in business-like way by approving the Minutes of six Meetings held during the last six weeks of 1894. The Rector was able to report that Mrs. Gorham and Miss S. C. Coffin had each subscribed for a column; and the Treasurer announced that through subscriptions and reduction of estimates all but a few thousand dollars of the amount needed to complete the new Church was in hand. He submitted his estimate of expenses for the year, and we note for the first time therein an item for Assistant Organist.

[89] On the 2nd March the Executors of Ella Smith turned over to the Corporation the legacy of $512.92 left in her will, and "the Rector was appointed a Committee to consider to which portion of the construction this sum shall be devoted as a memorial to Miss Smith."

Much of this Meeting was taken up in an effort to decide the relative merits of a slate or a copper roof, as the question had to be settled by the 10th of the month. It proved, however, so knotty, that the Meeting was adjourned to the 7th to afford opportunity for further consideration.

At that time both Le Brun and John R. Downey appeared, and the slate roof was decided upon. Figures were gone into at some length, and certain savings and more extra expenses were reported. "The pattern of pews similar to those used in Trinity Chapel was adopted at a cost of $3,640," and Downey was authorized to close the contract for that sum for "fifty pews to be stationary and ten movable." "Mr. Kinnan's contract for arches was accepted at $3,460," and it was decided to construct the clerestory of stone. This was more expensive than brick, but from the tone of the conditional contract covering the masonry, quoted before, there seems little doubt that the Trustees had decided upon it in their own minds from the first, and only kept the question open to cheat themselves into the belief that they were practising strict economy. That the funds for the building were not too abundant is shown by the fact that "The Rector was authorized if he thought best to call a Parish meeting for the purpose of raising money to complete the new Church."

"Fr. Brown reported that he had decided to recommend that the legacy of the late Ella Smith be devoted to carving the pillars of the Chancel." The recommendation was, of course, adopted.

At the Regular Meeting of the 15th April, 1895, the Rector reported four more subscriptions for pillars, from Mrs. Soule, Mrs. Siddous, W. Dayton Lewis, and Donald A. Storer. A letter was received from J. Massey Rhind, offering to furnish a statue of the Blessed Virgin and Child to be placed between the main entrance doors. The offer was accepted, provided the model was acceptable to the Architect and Rector.

Numerous matters came up for decision, now that the buildings were nearing completion, and some of them are sufficiently interesting to record. Perhaps the most so was the decision that the new clergy house be not occupied by the wives of any of the clergy. It was also decided "that the pulpit be placed against the second pillar on the gospel side," [89/90] and that the Chancel and the entire Church, except the portion occupied by the pews be tiled. The matters of the design for the pulpit, the chandeliers, and the stained glass were referred to the Rector and the Architect or Beverly Chew.

When the Trustees met in May, on the 13th, they authorised the payment of the expenses of their counsel, General Woodford, to Buffalo to secure the necessary letters from Bishop Coxe to enable Fr. Upjohn to be transferred to this Diocese.

The old plans for the stained glass were rejected and Pierre Le Brun was admitted to the Meeting and displayed new plans and estimates. They were examined and the contract was awarded to Arnold and Locke at $4,822 with an additional $400 "for such alterations to the seven Chancel windows as may be agreeable to the Rector."

"The question of the removal and construction of the Altar was then discussed, and on motion it was voted that the Altar, tabernacle, gradines, steps and wings be removed to the new Church and re-erected; leaving space for erection at a future time of a reredos suitable to the architecture of the Church. The statues to be preserved for future use."

The matter of the pulpit was then taken up, and it was decided to raise it in accordance with the plan, to leave off the statues, modify the grille, and erect a sounding board of a size agreeable to the Rector.

Le Brun's designs for the chandeliers were approved "and estimates were invited for all gas fixtures required in the several buildings." The new St. Mary's seems so much closer to our time than the old building that it is something of a shock to find that in spite of all her use of modern methods and modern equipment--and Le Brun, who designed the home office of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Downey who built the Waldorf-Astoria, the Astor, the Netherland and the rest of the Astor hotels, could be counted upon to employ the latest devices--St. Mary's was to be lighted by gas. Why this should have been so is something of a mystery, for electricity had been used to pump the organ for some years, and a feature of the new Church was to be the latest electrical control of the two organs; and certainly the Trustees were not opposed to novelties, or they would not have been amongst the very first to use structural iron work in the erection of a church. Their action in that matter provoked a storm of discussion that lasted for years, and it can hardly be that they would have hesitated to illuminate the Church with electricity if they had thought it a better means of lighting. That [90/91] they did not is clearly within the recollection of us all, for it is only within the past few months that the last of the gas fixtures has been removed.

The contract was let for carving the font, and for the erection of two confessionals, which had not been contemplated in the original plans, "on the East side of the Church, same to be constructed after the manner of bay windows."

The Board, at its Meeting of the 10th June, received the report from Geo. R. Read that the property in 46th and 47th Streets was exempt from taxation. Mrs. Searles offered to contribute $800 toward the expense of moving and erecting the Altar, and presented an oil painting to the Church.

Fr. Brown reported that Mr. and Mrs. Newell had subscribed $100 for a pillar; and that Mrs. Aspinwall had offered to place the grille around the Chancel at an estimated cost of $3,000.

Even in these more prosperous times, an occasional evidence of close trading for the benefit of St. Mary's crops out, and the following Resolution is distinctly reminiscent of the early days: "the Treasurer was authorized to close the contract for marble and mosaic work with R. C. Fisher & Co. provided they will agree to perform it at the lowest price bid."

Work on the new Church was progressing rapidly, and when the Trustees met on the 30th July, they took up various matters that indicated the end was close at hand. The bell had been moved from the old Church at a cost of $60 and an electrical ringing apparatus had been ordered for $225.

Pierre Le Brun was present and exhibited a design for a new reredos, which "was referred to Fr. Brown with power to approve and to have a new sketch prepared to be exhibited and subscriptions invited." For some reason, and very unfortunately, as some think, this matter was not pushed, and the High Altar will probably now never have a reredos.

The gas fixtures were ordered from the Mitchell Vance Company at a cost of $3,867, and the stipulation was made that the balls on the large chandeliers in the Church should be twenty-four inches in diameter. Curiously enough, at this very time, "the Treasurer was authorized to contract for an electrical lighting apparatus at as low a figure as possible." but there is no indication of the place it was supposed to illuminate; certainly it was not the Church.

[92] "J. Massey Rhind was invited to prepare a sketch for tympanum to go over the front doors, same to be exhibited and subscriptions invited."

Caen stone color was adopted for tinting the interior of the Church; and estimates were invited for cushions and kneeling cushions. Finally, coal was ordered for the new Church, which must have made completion seem very near indeed.

Various Meetings had to be held throughout this summer of unusual activity, and we find it recorded that on the 27th August, the Consolidated Gas Company was authorized to make connections with the new buildings and to install four meters.

A reply was at length received from Charles T. Cook, who declined to serve as a Trustee.

Anold & Locke were awarded the contract for painting the interior of the Church for $3,145. Evidently the description, "Caen stone color," which had been decided upon at a previous Meeting, was not considered to be sufficiently specific, for we find it noted that "Fr. Brown was appointed a Committee to consult with the architects as to selection of colors."

A letter was received from Dr. George B. Prentice, recommending that $700 be added to the appropriation of $5,000 for enlarging and repairing the organ, and intimating that payment of the $700 could be deferred if desired.

The Rector reported that the "subscription of $3,000 for grille surrounding the Chancel had been withdrawn." This is one of the provokingly brief records, which leaves the reason for the action a mere matter of speculation.

At a Meeting held the 10th September, the Treasurer reported that he had received an offer from the Reverend Thomas H. Sill to rent the old clergy house for three years at the annual rental of $1,500, and the Board approved the making of this lease, which was to commence on the 1st October. As the new clergy house would not be ready for occupancy by that time, the Treasurer was authorized to pay the bills for room rent for the clergy after that date.

Two weeks later another Meeting had to be called to act upon other matters connected with the new buildings. The contract for the electric motor for the organ was awarded to the Western Electric Co., and "Mr. Downey was authorized to procure the connection of the wiring in [92/93] the new church with the Edison Illuminating Co." How curiously old-fashioned that name sounds now! The presence of both gas and electricity in the new Church is accounted for by the costs of the two means of lighting. Electric current in those days was much the more expensive, and the Church was therefore lighted by gas, while electricity was used for the motor.

The Ostermoor Co. was awarded the contract for the cushions and kneeling pads, which were to be dark blue corduroy plush filled with elastic felt, at a cost of seventy cents a foot for the cushions and eighty-five cents each for the pads.

As the time for the completion of the Church drew near, Meetings were held every week or two, and various were the matters that came up for decision. On the 1st October, for example, the Trustees authorized a contract "with R. C. Fisher & Co. for a marble chancel rail or screen at a price estimated at $850," and at the same time ordered the purchase of a crane for removing ashes and coal for $40.

It was decided to publish in the October issue of "The Arrow" an announcement "that the Committee on assignment of seats will receive written applications for the assignment of pews in the new Church." It would be interesting to know if any of the people who made written application for particular seats are still occupying them.

When the Trustees met again, on the 14th October, they ratified the Minutes of seven Meetings which had been held with such a press of business connected with the new buildings to attend to that the routine work had been postponed. At this time someone seems to have remembered the cushions for the altar rail, and they were added to the Ostermoor contract.

The Treasurer had received a communication from the late Nathan A. Chedsey's clerk in reference to a note of $10,000 due from the Estate of Sara L. Cooke, which somehow seems to have been omitted from the accounting. There is a similar story which tells of the discovery, years after the Estate was settled, of some valuable securities in a trunk which was supposed to contain only old vouchers and unimportant papers, which had been sent to the Church to be stored. One is inclined to believe that the Estate of Sara L. Cooke was not administered with the most meticulous care.

[94] At the date of this Meeting $214,872.04 had been paid on contracts for the erection of the new Church and adjoining buildings.

It was decided to apply for the Bishop's consent to have the Church consecrated on the 8th December. There seems to have been some question whether the condition of the mortgages would make this impossible, and we find it recorded that the Bishop was to have the facts laid before him.

Upon motion, the tablet was ordered removed from the old Mission House and replaced in the new. This tablet records the fact in the following words: "THIS MISSION HOUSE of Saint Mary the Virgin, N. Y. a loving tribute to the Memory of ELEANOR PAULDING COOK from HER HUSBAND is dedicated to the glory of GOD and a continuance of her good works. Feast Conception, Blessed Virgin Mary, Deer. 8th 1888." It is interesting, in this connection, that, although the Trustees authorized "such additional inscriptions as the Rector shall determine," the tablet was removed without the wording's being changed, so that it still proclaims that "this Mission House was erected" although the house in which it is placed is not the one referred to.

The Minutes of the Meeting of the 28th October contain a record which seems to be unintelligible now: "The Treasurer reported that he had sold the old Church for $75,000, subject to confirmation by the board. The sale was practically for cash, and the buyer a client of the Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. Name of buyer withheld for the present. On motion the sale of the Church for $75,000 was approved and confirmed." Had the Trustees forgot the Meeting of the 14th April, 1894, at which they had sold the old Church to William Waldorf Astor for $76,000? No word appears in the Minutes to indicate that this action had been reconsidered, and it is unlikely that the careful Beverly Chew would have omitted such an important entry had any such event taken place. The unnamed client of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company did not materialize, but it would be interesting to know if Haley Fiske had so completely won the Board to the desirability of his client's offer as to drive from their minds all thought of their previous commitment.

The Ostermoor Company whose estimate of $4 apiece for the chairs had been accepted, now reported that they could not deliver them for less than $6 each, and the contract was accordingly reformed.

[95] Fr. Brown was able to report at the Meeting of the 11th November--twenty-three years before that date became famous--that the Bishop had agreed to consecrate the new Church on the Thursday in the Octave. For this important ceremony Dr. Prentice was voted $200 for extra music, and was requested to have his own Mass sung.

The Rector also announced that the Calvary would be placed in the arch between the Lady and Mortuary Chapels. This was no doubt the best place in the Church for it, but one sometimes wishes it were possible to explain the sentimental value those figures have for St. Mary's, having been on the Rood Beam of the old Church; and that they were not designed for their present location.

Having been referred to at many Meetings, the matter of the proper amount of insurance to be carried was at last settled, and it may not now be uninteresting to record the amounts and the various rates at which Dutcher & Edmarster insured the new St. Mary's: on the buildings, $230,000 at 26 cents; on the furniture, $16,000 at 34 cents; and on the organ, $12,000 at 52y2 cents.

Henry Fitzell was engaged as janitor of the clergy house at a salary of $50 a month; and a mosaic floor was ordered to be laid in the Chapel of the Catechism. This very apt name was applied to the Chapel in the clergy house.

At this Meeting Bowen W. Pierson announced that he had to go abroad on a business trip, and requested that his absence ' am Meetings be excused until his return. His request was of course granted, but it must have been disappointing to him to have been away just at this time.

On the 2nd December a Special Meeting was called to consider the sale of the old Church. The Treasurer presented a contract of sale to W. J. Merritt for $75,000, as mentioned by him previously. Of this sum $55,000 was to be lent by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company on first mortgage, and the Corporation were to hold a second mortgage for the balance. It was understood that the purchaser was to erect a building on which, when it had progressed to a certain point, the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company would lend $20,000, which was to come to the Corporation. This hardly coincides with the statement previously made that the sale was for practically all cash, but it seems to have appealed to the Trustees as a good business proposition, for they ratified the contract.

[96] It was decided "to buy the organ in the old Church to be erected in the large Chapel or hall in the clergy house for $900 provided Messrs. Jardine & Son will accept payment in three installments six months apart." This is the sort of entry that is almost confounding in its obscurity. The last we read of the organ in the old Church it was to be enlarged and rebuilt for the new Church, and why should the Trustees buy the organ in the old Church, and of whom did they buy it?

True to the traditions of doing things well, arrangements were made to have Delmonico serve a breakfast in the clergy house to the Visiting Clergy after the consecration service at "four dollars per head."

An offer having been received from a Mrs. Brinson, the old mission house was rented to her for a period of two years at a rental of $1,500 for the first year and $1,600 for the second.

At this last Meeting before the opening of the new Church, names were formally bestowed upon the Chapels, and it is worth while to transcribe the record of this action in full: "On motion the clergy house chapel of the catechism was named 'St. Joseph's Hall.' The Chapel under the Mission House the 'Chapel of St. Elizabeth.' The Chapel of 47th St. 'The Chapel of Our Lady'." It will be seen that until this time it had been doubtful whether St. Joseph's Hall, as we now know it, should be a chapel or not; and that St. Joseph's Chapel was not included in the scheme at all. There is reason to think that this was at first intended to be a hall and not a chapel.

And now we come to the great event: the opening of the new St. Mary's. This took place on Sunday, the 8th December, 1895. The Church was consecrated by the Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter, Bishop of New York on Thursday, the 12th.

The forerunner of a long series of newspaper comments appeared in the New York Sun, of the 1st December. It is copied here not only as showing the change that has come over the style and tenor of such articles, but because it contains a reference to the Society of St. John the Evangelist which is so curious as to almost seem prophetic. When one remembers how small a part the Cowley Fathers had in American Church affairs thirty-six years ago, it is really extraordinary that any mention should be made of them in a newspaper article about St. Mary's.

"Its Acme in the New Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

"The Surplice as the Barometer of Ritualism in the Episcopal Church--Passing of the Evangelicals--The Broad Churchmen.

"Ritualism in the Episcopal Church of New York City reaches its acme in the new Church of St. Mary the Virgin, to be first opened for public worship on Dec. 8. The old St. Mary's in Forty-fifth street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, though extremely rich in details, is small, and as a whole, sufficiently modest. The new St. Mary's, about a block to the eastward on the same street, is one of the largest churches in the city, and perhaps the handsomest. In the ritualistic significance of its architecture and decoration, as of its services, it will far surpass any other Episcopal church in the country.

"The phase of church development of which St. Mary's is the extreme type has grown up here, one may say, within a generation. Thirty years ago the overwhelmingly predominant influence in the Episcopal Church of New York was evangelical. When the Prince of Wales visited this city in 1860, Old Trinity for the first time placed its choir boys in surplices. Eight years later the congregation of St. Mary the Virgin was first gathered together, and in 1870 the congregation built its first church. From the beginning the congregation was led by its present rector, the Rev. Dr. McKee Brown. St. Mary's was then the pioneer of advanced ritualism in the midst of a hostile body of evangelical Episcopalians. Along with the evangelicals of that day there was a sprinkling of broad churchmen of the Maurice and later of the Kingsley 'muscular Christian' type. Both types of broad churchmen have disappeared from New York, and Heber Newton now represents the broad church type in this diocese.

"The progress of ritualism in New York has been rapid in the last twenty-five years, though few churches have gone to the extremities of St. Mary's and her three or four sister churches. She and they present a type of ritualism not exceeded in the most ritualistic churches of London still within the fold of the Established Church. The black gown and Geneva bands common in the evangelical churches of New York in the infancy of St. Mary's are now nearly as extinct as the dodo. There is now only one church in New York where the change from the surplice to the black gown is made before the sermon, and yet the earlier battles of the ritualists were ever fought over the question of this change. Readers of Thackeray will recall the indignation of the evangelical Mr. Hobson Newcome at seeing the Rev. Charles Honeyman enter his pulpit at Lady Whittlesea's chapel in his surplice. To-day in churches of thoroughly evangelical type the surplice is worn in the pulpit without [97/98] causing the slightest offence, and, indeed, without causing comment of any sort.

"Surpliced choirs, such as Old Trinity first adopted to honor the supposed preconceptions of the youthful heir to the English Crown, are now common in churches not of an advanced ritualistic type. The adoption of the surplice for the choir boys of Old Trinity was, indeed, urged quite as much for appearance's sake as for the sake of form properly so-called or of doctrine for the choir boys of that day were sometimes unlicked cubs that greatly needed some distinctive dress to give them a churchly air. It would be a little shocking nowadays even to a Presbyterian to see the unregenerate choir boy performing his part of the service in the garments that he is destined to wear an hour or so later in a rough-and-tumble encounter with street Arabs.

"It is hardly to be denied that the evangelicals have almost disappeared from the Episcopal Church of this diocese, and the field is now divided between the ritualists, moderate and advanced, and the broad churchmen of varying widths. Evangelicals still hold sway in Philadelphia, and it was when the Church Convention assembled in that city was vainly trying to elect Phillips Brooks a Bishop, that a local wit described the liberal Bostonian as 'an Episcopalian with leanings toward Christianity' The evangelicals are strong throughout nearly all parts of the South where there is any considerable body of Episcopalians, though there are some high church traditions on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, perhaps because the Church there was early vexed by a severe and powerful body of Presbyterians. The late venerable Bishop Lee of Delaware, who was decidedly evangelical, has been succeeded by a Bishop whose Anglical raiment has been a source of some scandal to the elders of his diocese.

"The Episcopal Church in Boston has some curious kinks unknown in this diocese. The ritualists and the broad churchmen there, as here, divide the field. The latter often have a taint of New England unitarianism, a suspicion of which long stood in the way of Phillips Brooks' advancement to the episcopate. The present Bishop, A. C. A. Hall of Vermont, was long connected with the Cowley Fathers (the Society of St. John the Evangelist), a highly ritualistic body whose members take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. The fathers have two churches in Boston, one a mission of colored people. Bishop Hall was a warm friend of Phillips Brooks, and while differing from him in doctrine he voted for his elevation to the episcopate. Later when Father Hall was himself made a Bishop, objection to him was raised upon the ground that he was under vows of obedience to a superior in Europe, the head of the Cowley Fathers. Perhaps it was Father Hall who was coupled with Bishop Brooks in one of the many good stories told of the latter. The liberal Bishop, it was related, was about to make a visit in the course of duty to an extremely ritualistic church, when the rector, his friend, wrote [98/99] offering upon the occasion of the visit to simplify the service in any manner that the Bishop might request. The reply was:

"'Dear------: Don't mind me; turn it all on.'

"The old high churchman is almost as scarce in this city as the evangelical. The old high churchman of England and of colonial New York believed in his Church and in old port and Toryism. He taught and proposed high doctrine, but cared little for symbolism or ceremonial. He began to disappear with the triumph of patriot arms in the Revolutionary War, and with the establishment of the republic was doomed as incompatible with democracy.

"Ritualism in New York, as elsewhere, has advanced usually by these well-recognized steps: The surplice, unlighted tapers, lighted tapers, plain vestments, colored vestments, high mass, and finally the confessional. The old surplice was a voluminous white garment, falling to the feet of the wearer. The surplice now is the barometer of ritualism. As the Church rises in ritualism the surplice rises, until finally in the highest ritualistic church the surplice is a cotta, coming to the waist, and upon special occasions trimmed at the bottom with lace. Of course the eucharistic vestments are the final symbolic test of ritualism, and these are found in all their height and strictness in the highest ritualistic churches of New York. There is in some New York churches a strange mixture of the ritualistic and the evangelical in the service. In one church, for example, where tapers are lighted on the altar in token of the real presence, the service in most other particulars would be called decidedly low church. Old Trinity long kept simply the two canonical candles on the altar, but recently six lighted tapers have been introduced. Perhaps the culminating point of ritualism in the Episcopal churches or New York is the use of incense. Not more than five churches use it. The same five celebrate high mass, and those five also have confessional boxes where the penitents may pour the story of their sins into the ear of the priest. It is difficult for the ordinary observer to distinguish the ritual at the celebration of high mass at St. Mary's from the same celebration at St. Patrick's Cathedral. After all, however, perhaps the most significant thing about the new Church of St. Mary's is the fact that its magnificence betokens a degree of wealth among extreme ritualists hitherto hardly suspected. Some of the highly ritualistic churches have had difficulty in maintaining themselves, and certainly it would hardly have been possible ten years ago to erect for the purpose of highly ritualistic worship so costly a church, the New St. Mary's. It is proper to add that the rector is reputed to be a man of large wealth, and he was probably a large contributor to the fund for building his beautiful church."

On the same day The New York Tribune published an article which contains so many facts about the new Church and the history of the Parish that it is worth transcribing in full.

"Another Home for the Parish of St. Mary the Virgin.

"It will be opened with beautiful ceremony on Sunday next--history of the Parish--known for its High-Church practices.

"An interesting occasion in the history of the parish of St. Mary the Virgin will be on Sunday next, when the new church in West Forty-sixth-st., between Broadway and Sixth-ave., will be opened for services. Upon that day, which will also mark the anniversary of the foundation of the parish, exactly a year will have elapsed since the corner-stone of the structure was laid. When it is recalled that so recently as last May the houses on the ground of which the parish buildings adjacent to the church now stand had not even been torn down, the rapidity with which the construction of the church has been pushed forward is at once evident. The growing needs of the parish and the insufficient accommodations that have hampered the clergy in their work considerably in the last few years rendered the utmost urgency in this direction a matter of material consideration. A small army of workmen is now industriously engaged in putting the finishing touches on the building, and although even yet in the interior is a mass of scaffolding, with men busily at work painting, furbishing and plastering, those in charge of the operations have promised that a few more days will see everything in readiness for the opening services of Sunday next.

"Known for High Church Services.

"The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which is now entering upon a new era of enlarged work and more extended activity, has been famous all over the country from the very day of its formation for the extremely ritualistic character of its services. Special vestments are worn during the celebration of the Holy Communion, which is called the mass; lighted candles are placed on the altar, and the burning of incense, the mixing of water and wine, and processions with crosses, banners and vested attendants are among the accessories of the services.

"The object in having the ornate worship is to maintain the services in the practice of the ancient Catholic Church. While the ritual of the Catholic Church is adhered to, Latin is excluded from the services in accordance with the usual order in the Episcopal Church. The English language is employed in the Episcopal Church in order that the services may be popular and intelligible to all classes of people. By Catholic faith is not meant the Roman Catholic, and the clergy of the parish strongly oppose papacy.

"St. Mary's was the pioneer in this city in the ritualistic form of service. From its foundation it has been a marked parish, watched and [100/101] commented upon by persons all over the land, and subjected often to hard trials and hostile criticism. Its influence has undoubtedly been felt beyond its own parochial boundaries, inasmuch as its example has been followed in other places.

"History of the Parish.

"The parish was organized in 1868 by its present rector, the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, and some friends, among whom was William Scott, his father-in-law. Mr. Scott became the first president of the Board of Trustees to hold office for life. The land upon which the old church in West Forty-fifth-st. and the rectory, clergy, choir and guild rooms stand was given to the church by the late John Jacob Astor. The necessary funds for the erection of the church building were raised among friends of the new parish. The corner-stone was laid in 1868 by Bishop Horatio Potter, and on the Feast of the Conception, December 8, 1870, the old church was opened for divine worship with a high celebration in the morning, at which Father Brown officiated. Upon that occasion a little band of sixty congregated in the church and instituted the first of those daily services, which for some time this parish alone in the diocese maintained in the face of much adverse comment. The example set in this respect, however, has since borne fruit, as at no less than fifteen altars in the city daily celebrations are held, eight of them being in parish churches. The rectory at No. 226 West Forty-fifth-st. was built in 1879, and the clergy rooms in 1882. The mission house at No. 248 West Forty-fifth-st. was given as a memorial of Mrs. Eleanor M. Cook, by her husband, Charles T. Cook, and has till now been used as a home for the Sisters of Mercy and for work among the women and girls of the parish. The clergy house, adjoining the church, at No. 232 West Forty-fifth-st. was given by Mrs. C. McW. B. Noyes, and was used as a home for the assistant clergy and for work among the men and boys.

"The seating capacity of the old church was 450, and as the growth in the number of members after the first few years was very marked, the trustees have for a long time been sorely tried in their endeavors to satisfy the demands of those wishing admittance to the services. The number of communicants alone would have sufficed to fill more than the circumscribed limits of the building. Consequently, when in 1892 Miss Sara Louie Cooke died leaving a large legacy to the church, a movement was at once set on foot for the purpose of building a more commodious church. Accordingly seven lots were purchased, extending from West Forty-sixth-st. to Forty-seventh-st., and the erection of a new church from the designs and plans of N. Le Brun & Sons was begun, as stated, on December 8 last. The corner stone was laid upon that date by Bishop C. C. Grafton, of Fond Du Lac, who represented Bishop Potter.

[102] "The New Building.

"The new structure is one of the handsomest of the kind in the city. Its design is French Gothic of the thirteenth century, and is one of the purest examples of this period in the country. The main entrance to the church is in Forty-sixth-st, where, including the mission and clergy houses, there is a frontage of 125 feet. The appearance of the exterior of the central stone church, flanked on either side by the symmetrical building shown in the accompanying sketch, is peculiarly striking to the passer-by, and the feature of substantiality that is characteristic of the whole pile is at once evident. The church is 60 feet wide and 180 feet long, with entrances also on Forty-seventh-st. Its height to the top of the cross over the main gable is 130 feet; the height of the nave 80 feet, and 46 feet in width. The facings of the building are of light buff Indiana limestone. Twenty-two pieces of clustered stone columns separate the nave from the side aisles, and support the walls of the lofty clerestory from which an adequate supply of light for the interior is obtained.

"The church terminates in a five-sided apse, and there is a depth in the chancel of 48 feet. There are seats for 720 people, and, through arcaded openings entrance is made to the baptistry and lady chapel. There are also several other minor chapels contained in the edifice, the most important being the Chapel of the Catechism and the Mortuary Chapel. The seating capacity of these adjuncts is 350. The clergy house, to the left of the church is 39 by 95 feet. The first two stories contain a chapel for men and boys and the choir vestries. The third story is devoted to guild rooms, young men's club rooms, assembly room and library. The suites of chambers for the resident clergy are on the fourth floor, and the janitor's apartments on the fifth. The sexton's office is at the entrance. In the basement is the steam-heating apparatus for all the buildings, with a gymnasium in the rear. The mission house is 25 by 85 feet; the first and second floors contain two chapels, a reception room and an office for the Mother Superior. The third story is occupied by guild rooms; the fourth by an infirmary, a community room, and the sisters' sleeping apartments; the fifth has the kitchen, refectory and more sleeping rooms. In the rear, on Forty-seventh street, are the lady chapel, the rectory and the priest's vestry. All the buildings, excepting the church itself, are in light Roman brick, stone and terra cotta.

"Decorations of the Church.

"The decorations of the inside of the church are as yet somewhat unique. The trustees have decided to spend as little money as possible in the adornment of the church's interior, leaving that work to the interest of the parishioners.

"On the outside of the structure there is much in sculpture and carving to be admired. Over the tympanum of the main entrance is an elaborate [102/103] representation of the Annunciation, and in a niche between the two principal doors in Forty-sixth-st. is a beautiful figure of the Virgin Mary, sculptured by J. Massey Rhind. Among the many other figures and symbolic pictures to be seen are 'Faith' and 'Heresy', side by side, the former with eyes open and believing, the latter with eyes bandaged, as if fearful of the divine light. Ecclesiastical and civic authorities are symbolized. Upon the Forty-seventh-st. exterior are many exquisitely carved heads and figures.

"Memorials which have from time to time been given to the old church have been bodily transferred to the new building. Among these is the white marble high altar and the marble pulpit, the first of its kind seen in any Episcopal church in this city. Alterations to suit their new location have been made, and the effect of these two elegant specimens of marble sculpture is considerably heightened by the noble proportions of the edifice in which they now are. The chancel window, the sedilia and priests' stalls, the three oaken figures of Christ, St. Mary and St. John on the rood beam, the figure of St. Paul on the sounding board, the large oaken crucifix, the baptistry and the Caen stone font are other memorials which have been transferred. The lighting arrangements for the church will consist of hanging lamps on either side of the nave, one elaborately designed picture being placed in each bay. The chancel will be illuminated by the seven silver and brass memorial lamps from the old church, the central one of which is reputed to be over two hundred years old. The great decorative feature of the old church, a series of representations of the fourteen stations of the Cross, have been placed in niches on the outer wall of the ambulatory, with appropriately carved frames and surmounted by stone canopies. A new organ has been erected in the choir, and the organ from the Forty-fifth street church has been remodelled and enlarged, and now stands in the west end _'the church. Both can be manipulated from one keyboard, by means of electrical connections, at once, or may be played separately.

"Cost of the Edifice.

"The cost of the church so far has been $300,000 the whole of which has been provided for out of the bequest left by Miss Cooke.

"Father Brown will use in the celebration of the Holy Communion the costly service presented to him some time ago by his parishioners. The cruets, part of the service, are of fine crystal, with silver gilt mountings, set with semi-precious stones. The other pieces are of solid silver, richly gilt, with semi-precious stones imbedded in the mountings. The chalice,1 the principal piece of this beautiful service, is an example of the possibilities of ecclesiastical enamel work. The decorations are Florentine, in repousse and applique. Around the bowl of the chalice are enamelled medallions representing 'The Last Supper,' 'The Entombment' and 'The Resurrection.' Upon the four knobs on the centre of the stem are enamelled [103/104] miniatures of the four evangelical symbols--Matthew, the man; Mark, the lion; Luke, the ox; John, the eagle. The foot of the chalice is quatrefoil, with enamelled representations of Biblical scenes in the four compartments.

"Springing from the stem and dividing the compartments are four griffins. The chalice, ten inches high, in addition to other decorations, is studded with cut carbuncles, symbolic of wine.

"The paten is of silver and richly gilt. On the under side is a panel enamelled in red and blue of the Paschal Lamb, the nimbus around its head, to the right the flag and the Latin cross. From the Lamb's side flows its life-blood into a chalice. Forming a border about the picture are the words 'Panis Vivus' and 'Agnus Dei.' There is a handsome oval tray for the two crystal cruets, of silver, richly chased and gilt and studded with chrysoprases. In the quatrefoil corners are four medallions in blue enamel, representing the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, with the name of each inscribed. The cruets have griffins for handles. The base is hexagonal in shape and set with aquamarines. Upon the cover of one, around the dome, are the letters A-Q-U-A, with an aquamarine set in the knob. In the knob of the other cruet, is a garnet, symbolizing wine, and around the cover are the letters V-I-N-U-M. In addition to these pieces, there are a lavabo and cruet, both of silver-gilt, to match the other pieces, but not enamelled or studded with stones.

"Clergy of the Parish.

"At this time there are connected with the church Father Brown, the rector, and the Rev. Arthur Mason, the Rev. John A. Staunton, Jr., and the Rev. Richard R. Upjohn, his assistant priests, together with twelve acolytes, who serve the altar. The Board of Trustees consists of Father Brown, president; Beverly Chew, secretary; Haley Fiske, treasurer; Edward H. Clarke, B. Whiting Pierson and William H. Lane. As St. Mary's is incorporated as a free church, it is governed entirely by the trustees, without the aid of wardens or vestrymen. George B. Prentice is the organist and choirmaster, and Thomas M. Prentice the conductor. The musical portions of the service have always been of a distinctive character, and have invariably attracted large congregations. In the new church they will be even more elaborate, and additional soloists will be employed. The choristers, men, boys and women, number over forty. Other members of the choir regularly play upon the violin, tympani, and the voices are often led by the cornet.

"Among the various institutions attached to the church are several guilds for men, women and boys; there is a hospital ward in the Mission House for poor, sick parishioners, and there are conducted under the charge of the clergy clubrooms, lectures and entertainments for improvement and charitable purposes.

[105] "Father Brown, who hasi from the first been steadfastly devoted to the development of the parish, is popular with all members of his church. He has a fine presence, stands over six feet in height, and conducts with ease and grace the ornate ritual of his services. He was born in Philadelphia in 1841, and was graduated at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn., and the General Theological Seminary in this city. He was ordained by Bishop Horatio Potter in 1866, appointed rector of Trinity Church, East New York, in the same year, and in 1868 began the organization of the parish of St. Mary the Virgin.

"The Rev. Arthur Ritchie, rector of St. Ignatius's Church will preach the sermon at the opening of the church next Sunday, and on December 12 the building will be formally consecrated by Bishop Potter. It is an interesting coincidence that the Bishop and Father Ritchie, like Father Brown, were born in Philadelphia, and in their boyhood and youth all three were playmates and friends."

Saturday evening before the Church was opened, The New York Evening Post printed a "story", in the newspaper sense, which included here largely because of the amusement that it will create by its unfamil-iarity with now familiar things.

"The Handsome Edifice of St. Mary the Virgin.

"First Services To-morrow--Architectural Features of the Building--The Interior.

"An event of more than usual interest to-morrow will be the formal opening of the beautiful new Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in Forty-sixth Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. Two services are to be held, a solemn high mass at 10:45 in the forenoon, at which the rector, the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, 'Father' Brown, as he is familiarly and affectionately called by all who know him, will officiate as chief celebrant, and 'Father' Arthur Ritchie, rector of St. Ignatius's Church, will preach the sermon. Solemn vespers will be celebrated at four o'clock in the evening. The usual surpliced choir of forty men, boys and women will be considerably augmented for these occasions, and a large attendance of visiting clergymen in cassocks, surplices, and birettas is expected. Admission to these services, except for clergymen, will be by tickets only, which may be procured of the Treasurer, Haley Fiske, Vice-President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

"The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is celebrated among the Protestant churches of the country as the one approaching most nearly to the Roman Catholic ritual in its form of service. The parish was organized in 1868. The corner-stone of the new edifice was laid on December 8, [105/106] 1894, and to-morrow's event will therefore be an anniversary. That so large and highly organized a structure could have been completed in so comparatively brief a period testifies strongly to the extraordinary improvements that have been made in the systems and manner of construction--not only of industrial but also of, ecclesiastical buildings.

"The entire group of parish buildings, including besides the church edifice a mission house on one side and a clergy house on the other side of the Forty-sixth Street front, and a rectory on one side and a chapel on the other of the Forty-seventh Street front, cover a plot of ground extending 125 feet on Forty-sixth and 95 feet on Forty-seventh Street, and running through from street to street. This property was up to about eighteen months ago covered with dwelling-houses of the three story and basement brown-stone type. About that time it was purchased for the church society in separate parcels by George R. Read.

"The altar-table and tabernacle above it, from the old church, all in Italian marble, have been retained, but there is to be a new reredos built before the altar will be considered complete. Seven memorial lamps, of silver and bronze, one of them a genuine antique and the others fashioned from it, are suspended across the chancel over the railing. These also are from the old church, as is also the baptismal font, but the latter, which was a solid cube, has been dressed to octagonal shape, with appropriate carvings. The chancel floor is laid in Terraza mosaic.

"This elaborate structure could not have been constructed within so short a period on the system upon which all of the buildings of this type have hitherto been built. The vaulted nave presents the appearance of groined arches, but the appearance is deceptive. Within the walls and clustered stone columns is a skeleton of steel, and the roof is of the same modern system of construction finished with metal lathing and cement plaster. In this respect the church structure is the first of its kind and size to be built in this or any other country. The clerestory windows are finished now with plain glass, but this is a temporary expedient, intended to disappear as fast as memorial windows in stained glass shall be provided by such as may from time to time desire to so perpetuate some cherished memory.

"The organ is in two sections, one in the choir gallery over the main vestibule and one in the chancel; they are connected by electricity, and may both or either be played upon from either of two keyboards, at the same time. Four confessionals have been provided, for this is a feature of the service at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which is strongly encouraged, and Father Brown has three assistants; so there is one confessional for each priest. They are of conventional form, two being movable and two fixed. The fourteen stations of the cross are represented by as many colored plaster casts which are affixed to the walls of the ambulatory, and surmounted by stone canopies. These are also brought from the old church.

[107] "To the right of the main edifice is the mission building, 25 feet by 84, the two lower stories of which open through arcades into the main auditorium. First among the divisions of this section is a chapel called St. Elizabeth's Hall, containing a marble altar-table and tabernacle. Just beyond but arranged to open into St. Elizabeth's Hall is the Chapel of the Catechism, and back of that two fixed confessionals."

In spite of the obvious repetitions, the account in The New York Times of the 8th December, 1895, contains enough matter of interest to make it worth preserving here.


"The New St. Mary the Virgin's to be Opened To-day.

"A Cathedral-like Structure.

"Rich Interior Decorations--Chapels and Mission Houses--An Elaborate Choral Service Arranged.

"The new Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Streets, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, will be opened today, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the church.

"The cornerstone of the new church was laid just one year ago. The church and the accompanying buildings have a most cathedral-like appearance. The design is French Gothic of the thirteenth century, and the church is one of the best reproductions of this style of architecture.

"On the outside of the church there is much to be admired. Over the main entrance is an elaborate representation of the Annunciation; in Forty-sixth Street between the two main doors is a beautiful sculptured figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary by J. Massey Rhind. Upon the Forty-seventh Street side are a number of beautifully carved figures and heads. The memorials, from the old church have all been transferred to the new, including the familiar old brass lamps, the fourteen Stations of the Cross, which have been elaborately reset; the white marble high altar, and the marble pulpit, the first of the kind in any Episcopal church in this city; the chancel windows, the three oaken figures of Christ, St. John, and St. Mary, the figure of St. Paul on the sounding board above the pulpit, the Caen stone font, and the large oaken pulpit crucifix.

"Father Brown will use in the celebration of the holy communion the exquisite service presented by his parishioners a year ago.

"The Lady Chapel is at the Forty-seventh Street end of the church and is decorated in good color, after the style of the famous Saint Chapelle of Paris, which is an object of renown all over the world. Its paneled roof is 30 feet from the floor. There is a triple lancet window of stained glass, among the subjects of which is 'The Annunciation of [107/108] Our Lady'. The new marble altar of this chapel is designed in the thirteenth century Gothic style. The front of the mensa rests on four pillars of Pavenazza marble. There are two retables of Pavenazza marble. The first retable is a horizontal shelf upon which will stand four vases for flowers and two lights^for a<low mass. The second retable rises by three steps sideways for the six lights. The tabernacle has a beautiful brass door, and is surmounted by a canopy on four pillars; the canopy tapers with crocketing to a large fleur de lis. The crucifix is of white ivory with a silvered figure of Christ. The chapel is furnished with chairs and the flooring is of mosaic work. There are several brass memorial plates descriptive of the dedication of the altar, the windows, the chapel itself, and the three figures of the Calvary from the old church. These figures of Christ, St. Mary, and St. John stand on a beam under an arch which leads into the mortuary chapel. This second chapel is decorated after the manner of the first, and has a double window of figures of angels removed from the old church. This chapel will be used for resting the remains of those who have died in this city or elsewhere and who have not proper accommodations, instead of taking them to an undertaker's office or the morgue. Both of these chapels connect with the church by arches.

"The baptistry has been built as a memorial of two little children. It is tastefully decorated in color and lighted by a double window with figures of angels from the old church. The font has been carved and stands in the middle of it. There will be on one i side of it a shelf upon which will rest a cross and two lights.

"The chapel on the eastern side of the church toward Forty-sixth Street, has a high oak paneled ceiling and connects with the mission house chapel by a gallery, from which the sisters can hear the services without being seen. Opposite to this is a large chapel, where lectures and entertainments may take place, and this is called St. Joseph's Hall.

"At the opening service to-day1 Haydn's 'Imperial Mass' will be rendered by a choir of twenty voices of men and boys in the chancel and a chorus of thirty mixed voices in the' gallery, with the accompanying soloists--Miss Hubbell, soprano; Miss Smith, alto;1 Mr. Stoddard, tenor, and Mr. Vickery, bass. The organist will be Dr. George B. Prentice, and the precentor Thomas M. Prentice. There will be an orchestra of twenty pieces, among them first and; second' violins, cellos, kettledrums, first and second cornets, and horns, together with harp and cymbals.

"The opening day of the church will mark the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the Anglican calendar. Bishop Grafton will exercise his pontifical office, assisted by several of the clergy. The sermon will be preached by the Rev. Father Ritchie of St. Ignatius's Church. The offertory, to be sung both at the opening and at the consecration of the church, is by Dr. George B. Prentice. The celebrant will [107/108] be the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, assisted by the Rev. Father Staunton and Father Upjohn, with twelve acolytes and a master of ceremonies.

"A number of the clergy have been invited to participate in the opening services. The altar will be beautifully dressed with flowers and palms and, together with the lights and the handsome robes of the Bishop and clergy, will form a most brilliant spectacle.

"The dedication, at which Bishop Potter of New York will officiate, will take place on Dec. 12 at 10:30 o'clock A.M. when Dr. George B. Prentice's mass in E flat will be sung by the combined choirs, soloists and full orchestra, and on the following Sunday the octave of the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the music of the feast day (to-day) will be repeated.

"The Board of Trustees of the church consists of Father Brown, President; Beverlv Chew, Secretary; Haley Fiske, Treasurer; Edward H. Clarke, B. Whiting Pierson, and William H. Lane. Among the various institutions connected with the church are several guilds for men, women, and boys. A hospital ward in the Mission House for needy and sick parishioners, and under the direction of the clergy, the clubrooms, lectures, and entertainments for charitable purposes and otherwise are carried on."

The New York Press in its issue of the same date published an article which is rather different in tone from the others, and would seem to have been written by a churchman of more than the average understanding of ecclesiastical matters. Its reference to the position occupied by St. Mary's and to the music justify' its conclusion.


"Ceremonial Church To Open for Service To-day.

"Wonderfully Elaborate Ritual.

"Departures from Custom that have been Famous Bones of Contention for Episcopalians.

"Every churchman in the country knows of St. Mary the Virgin's parish--if a Low Churchman, to be scandalized by the dreadful tendencies of its ritual; if a Ritualist, to long to attend its services and see for himself how things are done. When they come to New York they visit St. Mary the Virgin. When they go home they tell all about it, and ever after, when they get into an argument with their rector, they begin with: 'Well, when I was at St. Mary the Virgin's, they did so and so.'

"For years the little church in West Forty-fifth street has been too small. It had only 450 sittings to begin with, and every one of them was [109/110] taken long ago. It is dark, and all the beautiful decorations suffered by reason of that. But the new church seemed a long way off until, in 1892, Miss Sara Louie Cooke, a devoted friend of the parish in all its struggles, died and left to it a, legacy, which was used for the purchase of seven lots which extend through from Forty-sixth to Forty-seventh street, between Broadway and Sixth avenue.

"The corner stone was laid on December 8, 1894, the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin and the anniversary of the first service in the parish away back in 1868 by the Right Rev. Charles C. Graf ton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, and the first monk to be consecrated to that office in the Anglican church since the separation from Rome.

"To-day the Church Opens.

"To-day the new church is ready for occupancy, and great will be the joy. This rapid progress is due to the fact that its construction is of the new style, steel framework, and no weight but that laid on the wall. St. Mary's is among the first to adopt this method. There have been many things in which it has been first.

"It was the first in New York to establish a daily eucharist and daily prayers. It was the first Episcopal church in New York to have a marble pulpit. It was the first to secrete women singers back of the sur-pliced choir and supplement the raw and scratchy voices of boys with feminine soprani. Boy choirs, when they are good, are very, very good, and when they are bad, they are horrid. They are oftener bad than good, and they won't stay good. The choirmaster has a job something like sweeping back the sea with a broom to keep voices up to the mark of excellence, particularly when the musical parts of the service are as elaborate as they have been since the Prentices, George B., at the organ and Thomas M. at the conductor's stand, have had charge.

"In the old church, for the sake of the ritual, it was thought best not to abolish entirely the boy choir, as St. Martin's in Brooklyn has done; but now that the new church is here, Dr. Prentice may have what he has long been wishing for--a mixed choir in the west gallery for the figured music, and a vested choir in the chancel for the responses and for the processional hymns.

"French Gothic in Style.

"There will be room in the chancel for the most elaborate functions, for it is 45 feet deep. The interior is lofty--80 feet high at the nave--the style of architecture, French gothic of the thirteenth century, lending itself to this.

"With the Blessed Virgin as its patron, this church has the curious privilege of taking as its ferial color blue, instead of the green used in other parishes. Saints' days are all too infrequent in the Anglican [110/111] communion, and from Trinity to Advent the vestments are always green except for Michaelmas and All Saints'. But in St. Mary's, when there is no feast to be celebrated, the color is blue. Magnificent vestments they have there, too; the richest stuffs embroidered after the old stitches, whose pattern had been forgotten by Anglicans until some mediaeval embroidery was picked apart and studied by the Clewer Sisters, an; Anglican community.

"One interesting thing about the services of this church has been the volunteer orchestra, not a full band, but violins,' a cornet, a trumpet and kettledrums. The performance of a magnificat by a choir, organ and kettledrums has often been impressive.

"In the old days Father Brown used to be fond of Gregorian chants, but that early standby of the Catholic party in the Episcopal church has been allowed to depart in peace, except sometimes in Lent, when alternate strophes of the Miserere are sung in the plaintive old plain chant and then the melody embroidered and overlaid with inversions and modern harmonies until St. Thomas Aquinas himself would have been puzzled to find it.

"For the psalter the ancient Gregorian chants have been put away, so have the stately and grave Anglican chants of Nares, Dr. Crotch, Farrant, Dr. Dykes, Barnby and the like. The psalter goes to bright and sparkling tunes composed by Dr. Prentice himself, or arranged from the works of other writers.

"In most advanced churches throughout the country, if the choir sings Monk's in C, or Tours's in F, on common Sundays and comes out with Gounod's St. Cecilia mass for Easter, it is thought to be doing well, but at St. Mary's the same mass is never heard two Sundays in succession, and they sing such works as Haydn's Imperial--that is the one to be given to-day--Silas's, Kalliwada's, Guilmant's, Von Weber's in A flat, besides the most elaborate offertory anthems.

"Dr. Ritchie to Preach.

"For twenty-seven years St. Mary's has been the battle-ground of the Evangelical and Catholic parties in the Episcopal church. In 1868, when John Jacob Astor gave three lots to the infant organization, the Evangelicals had everything their own way, which was a hard way for the Ritualists. Clergymen knew not the chasuble. They wore the long surplice and no cassock. Boy choirs were something awful, and a processional cross brought on spasms. As for the confessional--

"But in this day, old Trinity has every one of the six points except incense, and even that has been offered there. Through all, Thomas McKee Brown has been respected and loved by his people and his brother clergy. He has never been as great a preacher as, his brother Philadelphian, the Rev. Arthur Ritchie, who is to deliver the sermon [111/112] for him to-day, but he is a man who has been an indefatigable parochial visitor, and no matter how many curates he has, he has known every family and every child. Maybe that is one reason why St. Mary's has had so many and so persistent friends and willing workers."

Perhaps the most concise account of the opening of the new Church was that published in The Herald of Salt Lake City on the 9th December, 1895; the day after the ceremonies. It seems worth reproducing here because of the large amount of information it packs into a small space.

"New Church in New York.

"NEW YORK, Dec. 8--The new church of St. Mary the Virgin was opened to-day with all the pomp and splendor that can attend such an affair. The edifice is occupied by the ritualistic Episcopalians who have at their head in this city the Rev. Dr. McKee Brown. Not only was the occasion the dedication of a new half million dollar building but it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fr. Brown's connection with the church. The new church is one of the largest in the city and was first used for worship yesterday morning at 6 o'clock when mass was said. Two other masses followed and solemn high mass was sung at 11 o'clock. The service was long, not being over until nearly 2 o'clock. The benediction was said by Bishop Grafton of Wisconsin. The sermon was by Father Ritchie, rector of St. Ignatius' Church of this city. The celebrant was Father Brown, rector of the church. Father Mason of New York was deacon and Father Staunton sub-deacon. The chaplain was Father Batterson, of Baltimore, and the Bishop was attended by Canon Knowles of New York and Father Odell of Philadelphia."

On the Monday following the opening several accounts appeared which are of sufficient interest and importance to us now to put on record here.


"Full Ceremonial at the First Service in Father Brown's New Church

"All the Ritual Used.

"High Mass Sung and the Elaborate Service of the Catholic Faith Carried Out.

"Bishop Potter Was Absent.

"Dr. Ritchie Preached and Defended the Ritualistic School in the Episcopal Church.

"The most elaborate ceremonial service ever seen in a Protestant church in this city, and one of the most ornate ever held in any church [112/113] here, was the solemn high mass which marked the opening of the new Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in West Forty-sixth Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, yesterday morning. The magnificent structure, the large crowd, the throng of choristers, musicians and clergymen, the complex beauty of the ritual--all these combined to make a memorable scene.

"The services which marked both the opening and the silver jubilee of the parish, were conspicuous as showing in a Protestant parish ceremonial observances of the same character, and to a great extent, of the same details as belong to the Roman Catholic or the Greek churches. Masses were said for communicants, without interruption, one after another, until ten o'clock, half an hour before the time set for the beginning of the high mass, the last of the early masses being a missa cantata.

"Congregation Came Early.

"The church had begun to fill before ten o'clock with the early arrivals for the late service, who had hastened in order that they might avoid the expected crowds. Admission was limited to those who had tickets, and hundreds were turned away because they came unprovided with the necessary invitation. The large congregation was skilfully handled, and though a squad of policemen were on hand their services were not needed. The whole number of persons in the building must have been five thousand.

"The orchestra began the prelude from its station in the choir loft over the entrance about eleven o'clock. Soon after the celebrant of the mass, the Rev. Father Brown, rector of the church entered the sanctuary, preceded by acolytes and attended by his deacons of the mass, the Rev. Father Mason and the Rev. Father Staunton, curates in the parish of St. Mary the Virgin. Father Brown wore a magnificent chasuble, heavy with embroidery and set with precious stones, while his assistants wore the prescribed dress of deacons.

"Soon afterward the procession entered singing the hymn 'The Church's One Foundation'. First came the choristers, more than three score of them; then several students from the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea Square, then the clergy, more than a score the last of them being Bishop Grafton, of Fond du Lac, a splendid cope thrown over his shoulders and on his head the mitre. The divisions of the procession were marked by acolytes bearing lighted tapers and by those bearing crosses. The procession entered from the Gospel side.

"The Great Procession.

"The great procession was then begun. It withdrew on the Gospel side and passing behind the altar moved down the church by the south aisle, then up the nave to the chancel. While they marched they sang [113/114] the hymns, 'Blessed City, Heavenly Salem'. The length of the procession was almost that of the distance it traversed. Clouds of incense accompanied it, and the harmony of the choristers was added to the melody of organ and instruments. The great congregation also joined in the music.

"The mass sung was Haydn's 'Imperial'. Father Staunton sang the Epistle and Father Mason the Gospel. For the sequence, Lovoff's 'Rise, Crowned with Light', was sung.

"The preacher was the Rev. Arthur Ritchie, the rector of St. Ignatius' Church, in West Fortieth Street, and a leader in the so-called Catholic school of the Episcopal Church.

"He took as his text St. Matthew, XXII., 36, and following:--

"Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

"This is the first and great commandment.

"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

"On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

"Father Ritchie's Sermon.

"In his sermon Father Ritchie spoke, in part, as follows:--

"'The Church at times needs reformation, because of the evils that the men in it bring upon it. At such times the Church seeks to return to the original tradition, to the old truth. So in the day of the Tudors. and afterward in the time of the Stuarts, it was necessary in some sense for the Church to return to the tradition of the fathers, because in many ways the truth had been obscured.

"'It is true that evil things came in also at that time. Those who were not the Church's friends turned its currents in the wrong direction, whereby the best results were prevented. These things bore a dreadful crop of evil practices within the Church. So in Oxford, some years ago, there rose up those who believed that they must strive to restore again the Church to its original type.

"'That was the origin of the Catholic movement in the Anglican Church. Where there were few then, there are hundreds now, and bishops among them. Where there were a few congregations, there are thousands now.

"'Is it true that the Catholic movement means reversion to the original type which Christ gave? Men now are impatient of unnecessary things. We want only fundamentals. Come with me to a Catholic Church. What do we see there? The altar, at which Christ's [114/115] death is shown forth, is reproduced again and again, without ceasing. Then if that passion is the proclamation of man's perfect love for God, there the Catholic altar shows it as nothing else can. God loves all the parts of worship, but nothing else can take the place of that'.

"The Anthem.

"The offertory anthem was by George B. Prentice, composed for the occasion. The post-communion hymn was Haydn's setting of 'Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken', and the recessional hymn was 'Jerusalem, the Golden'. The orchestral postlude, with organ, was Reinecke's 'Triumphal March'.

"Solemn vespers were sung at four o'clock in the afternoon, with the same accompaniment of ritual that characterized the high mass. The usual numbers at this service included selections from Haydn, Balfe, Spohr and Gounod.

"The recent utterances of the Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in their pastoral letter expressly condemn many of the acts which were performed yesterday. Bishop Potter's absence yesterday was commented on by many, but Episcopal sanction was afforded by the Bishop at Fond du Lac, himself a leader of the Catholic party. Despite the letter of the Bishops, it is not believed that Bishop Potter will condemn officially the services at St. Mary's, as they will be a continuation of those former ones for which the church is famous--on a larger scale.

"The new church will be dedicated to-morrow morning by Bishop Potter."


"The High Church Opened With Ritualistic Pomp.

"Bishop Grafton, Clothed in a Red Cope of Embroidered Satin, a Red Velvet Mitre, in addition to Alb, Stole, and Cassock, Took Part in the Advanced Ceremonies.

"The new church of St. Mary the Virgin, which has been for the past twenty-five years the parish most representative of the extremely ritualistic movement in the Episcopal Church in this city, was formally opened yesterday morning by a solemn mass. The new building, which is one of the largest churches in the city, was crowded, and Capt. Haughey with five policemen was stationed at the doors to see that the crowd passed in without trouble. Admission was by ticket only, and many were turned away, as the police saw to it that only persons supplied with tickets were allowed to take a place in the line. The service began at 10:30 o'clock and it was not until a quarter before 2 that the congregation left the church.

[116] "The prosperity of this parish, and particularly the erection of this fine new church--which was largely the gift of a now dead parishioner--are regarded by adherents of the 'advanced' party in the Episcopal Church as one of the greatest indications of the strength of the ritualistic movement.

"It is certainly true that there was never a service held in New York which more completely conformed to the idea of the ritualistic party. It was distinguished, moreover, by the participation of an episcopal dignitary, who appeared in the vestment of a Bishop, according to the old use common before the Reformation reduced them to the black silk gown and the white lawn sleeves. This was Bishop Grafton of Fond du Lac. He wore a red cope of embroidered satin, a red velvet mitre, white gloves, and the customary alb, stole and cassock. On each side of him in the procession walked two deacons wearing dalmatics and holding open his cope. His chaplain, in a white satin cope, with a cape of embroidered cloth of gold, preceded him, and in front of the episcopal procession marched an acolyte bearing a crucifix. It is doubtful if any ritualistic service in New York was ever distinguished in this way.

"There were low masses said at 7 and 8 o'clock yesterday morning, and in the afternoon at 4 o'clock solemn vespers were sung. 'Solemn' is used in the ritualistic terminology to indicate that incense is used, and in the mass it implies that the celebrant is assisted by a deacon and subdeacon. The Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dedication day of the church, fell on yesterday, and twenty-five years ago the old church at 228 West Forty-fifth Street was dedicated. The new church is on Forty-sixth Street, between Sixth Avenue and Broadway, and extends through the block to Forty-seventh Street.

"The high mass commenced with Keler Bela's prelude 'The Consecration of the Temple', familiar for years to the parishioners of the church as the instrumental prelude to the services on most of the feast days. It was performed by the organ and a string orchestra. The white marble altar, which stood for many years in the old church, has been transferred^ to the new building, but without the reredos, and it stands for the present against a background of old gold draperies, which hang in the three arches that are back of the chancel. There are two flights of steps, each comprising three steps, according to the old use, which ascend from the choir to the level of the altar. During the prelude the candles on the altar were lighted by acolytes wearing red cassocks, long white linen albs, tied at the waist with white sashes of the same material, and white gloves. The only flowers on the altar were two large vases of Annunciation lilies. Besides the two mass lights and the six canonical lights a myriad of candles stood on the altar and in the two large candlesticks which were placed at each end of the altar. The red light in the sanctuary lamp which hung before the altar indicated [116/117] that the reserved sacrament was in the tabernacle, and whenever they passed before the altar the acolytes genuflected.

"The orchestra and the organ played a march as Father T. McKee Brown, the rector of the church, attended by Father John Staunton and Father Arthur Mason entered and took their seats in the chancel, at the epistle side of the altar. Then the choir, preceded as the three priests had been, by a crucifer, entered and took their seats. They were followed by a number of visiting clergy, and Father Arthur Ritchie of St. Ignatius' Church, who preached the sermon. Finally Bishop Graf-ton, preceded by an acolyte bearing a crucifix, Dr. H. G. Batter-son, who acted as his chaplain, attended by two acolytes, and escorted by two deacons, entered the chancel and took his place at the gospel side of the altar. The procession was preceded by the thurifer, who was attended by an acolyte.

"When the clergy and choir were in their places the choir commenced to sing the first of the processional hymns, 'The Church's One Foundation' and the procession through the church began. The thurifer led and behind him came the crucifer. The choir followed and with it were a number of clergymen, wearing the ordinary black cassocks and white linen cottas. Among the number were several with college hoods and three with the short, brown capes of one of the Episcopal monastic societies. Behind the clergymen came Father Ritchie, the preacher. In the order of the service his name was printed as the 'Reverend Arthur Ritchie' and his familiar title was not used. Following him came another acolyte with a crucifix, preceding Father Brown, the celebrant, and the deacon and subdeacon. In the procession Father Brown wore a cope of white satin, with blue and gold, and the dalmatics of the deacon and subdeacon were of the same material and colors. In churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary pale blue is used during this season instead of green. Behind the altar procession came the third crucifix in the line. That preceded Dr. Batterson, the Bishop's chaplain, the two acolytes who attended him, and Bishop Grafton, with his attending deacons. Father Brown, Dr. Batterson, the deacon and subdeacon wore black birettas. The procession moved slowly down the right aisle and up the centre aisle of the church. The five verses of the first hymn were soon exhausted, and 'Blessed City, Heavenly Salem' had been also used up before the clergy and choir were again in their places about the altar, the large congregation joining in the singing. Two cornet players marched with the choir.

"The mass sung by the mixed choir was Haydn's 'Imperial'. The women singers who were in the organ loft at the opposite end of the church from the altar wore black dresses and black veils in place of hats. When Father Brown reached the chancel his cope was removed by the deacon and subdeacon, and he knelt down before the altar as the chasuble of white silk and gold was slipped over his head. The [117/118] communion service began with the 'Gloria in Excelsis', which in the Prayer Book usually comes at the end. The Decalogue was omitted, but the choir sang the 'Kyrie Eleison'. The epistle was read by Father Staunton, acting as subdeacon, and then the gospel procession was formed. Father Mason, taking the Book of Gospels, marched to the chair in which Bishop Graf ton sat. He kissed the book and handed it to the Bishop who touched it. The procession which accompanied him across the chancel consisted of the thurifer, the subdeacon, the crucifer and two acolytes. The choir and congregation then sang 'Rise, Crowned with Light, Imperial Salem, rise'. The deacon, mounting to the top of the three steps to the altar, placed the book on the sub-deacon's head and read the gospel for the day. The creed was then sung by the choir, the celebrant intoning the first sentences.

"Father Ritchie preached the sermon, which was devotional in character, and treated of the progress of the Catholic movement. 'The Catholic Church', Father Ritchie said, 'is any enclosure, covered or not, built around an altar.'

"The rest of the service was the regular communion office, varied only by the omission of the exhortation to the people. After the canon, the celebrant turned for a moment to the congregation, but there were no communicants. At the sanctus, at the words of consecration, and at the close of the canon, the sanctus bell on the altar steps was rung three times. This communicates with the bell in the roof of the church, which rings simultaneously with it, and persons who are familiar with the service can tell to what point it has progressed. When the host had been consecrated, Bishop Graf ton, with his chaplain and acolytes, advanced to the middle of the altar and genuflected, then returned to his place. The hymn of adoration was 'Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken, Sion, City of Our God'. The absolution after the confession in the service and the benediction at the close were pronounced by Bishop Grafton.

"At the vespers Lambillotte's 'Nunc Dimittis' and 'Magnificat' were sung. The offertory at the mass was an anthem from the Twenty-fourth Psalm, composed for the occasion by George B. Prentice the choirmaster of the church.

"The parish of St. Mary the Virgin was organized in 1868, and it has prospered continually since that time. It has always employed a most advanced ritual in its services, but has been notably free from any conflicts with superior authorities through this fact. The field of its endeavors has been from time to time increased, until now it conducts in connection with the church work a number of societies and a mission house. Father Brown has proved a rector of exceptional tact, and it is largely due to the affection in which his parishioners hold him that the parish has progressed with steady and continual prosperity. [118/119] He has never figured in conflict with the Bishops of his diocese, but his church has always been known as one of the most ritualistic in practice in the city. But his tact and the high regard in which his services have always been held have prevented any difference between him and his superiors from developing into anything like open hostility. The church in West Forty-fifth Street long ago became too small for the congregation, and the generosity of a deceased member of the parish, who also left a legacy of no small size to Father Brown, has made the new building a possibility."

In The New York World the following account appeared the 9th December:

"The Magnificent New Church of St. Mary the Virgin Opened with Pomp.
"Services of Roman Splendor.
"High Mass and Vespers Celebrated with the Ceremony of the Extreme High Church.
"Bishop Grafton, Ritualist, Celebrant.
"A description of the Church and Its Adjacent Chapel and Mission Houses.

"Services in the new and magnificent temple of ritualism, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, were held for the first time yesterday. In the morning solemn high mass was celebrated: in the evening, solemn vespers. At both services ritualism predominated strongly--more strongly, perhaps, by reason of the importance of the occasion.

"But for the fact that Latin was not used there was little apparent difference in the ceremonies in St. Mary's and those which would have been called forth by a similar occasion in a Roman Catholic church.

"There was the pomp, the grandeur, the light, the color. Vestments of splendid richness hung from the shoulders of the celebrant, the august Bishop Grafton, of the see of Fond du Lac, and almost equal in their magnificence were the robes of the assisting clergy.

"Upon the altar were the vessels and the candles of ritualism, and assisting in the services were acolytes and a surpliced choir. At the eastern side of the church, fixed high upon a pilaster, was a massive crucifix, with the agony of Calvary fixed upon the face of the Christ.

"The Devout Crossed Themselves.

"To this and to the cross upon the altar the congregation made worship with bended knee, and at the proper periods in the reading of the services the more devout made the sign of the cross. Another note of [119/120] ultra-high-church tendency was the appearance of the visiting clergy in cassocks, surplices and birettas, some with the clear-cut, clean-shaven features of the Roman Catholic priest and the almost identical manner of worship.

"To the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown the day was one of extreme import. It represented to him not simply the twenty-fifth anniversary of his connection with the church, but rather the crowning of twenty-five years of effort. It is improbable that the substantial new structure of St. Mary the Virgin would stand to-day were it not for the personality and persistence of Father Brown.

"With him the Church of St. Mary the Virgin1 has arisen as the ideal of the ritualistic Episcopalian Church in America, and has weathered, through the strength of his hand at the helm, almost overwhelming storms of criticism and disapproval. So his congregation rendered homage to him yesterday by appearing in force. And to augment their numbers came the worshipful of other churches and the curious.

"As Grand as Grand Opera.

"The music, as at all services in St. Mary's, was splendid and varied. There was an orchestral accompaniment of deep-toned, rumbling kettledrums, a cornet, violins, and the organ of marvelous power. In the choir were forty voices, men, women and boys, many of them singers of rare excellence. It was, as the son of Father Brown said in enthusiasm, as grand as grand opera.

"At the beginning the organist gave 'The Consecration of the Temple'. Then the processional, sounded, and acolytes bearing the crucifix and thurible appeared, leading choir, clergy and celebrant. As the cross was borne along those who came beneath it gave the sign of adoration, while the blue smoke of burning incense rose in wisps towards the slanting bars of light pouring rich in color from the stained-glass windows.

"Before the altar, upon it and at each side lighted tapers stood. In the procession were two candle-bearers. There were tapers everywhere about the altar.

"Congregation Did Not Sing.

"At 11 A.M. Haydn's 'Imperial High Mass' was sung rarely and impressively. It had the breadth of the orchestral accompaniment and the power of the forty or more voices, but it was so intricate, studied and unsuited for untrained voices that the congregation as a whole sat mutely instead of joining in the singing as usual.

"After the 'Gloria in Excelsis' and the 'Kyrie Eleison' and the sequence, 'Rise, Crowned with Glory', the Rev. Arthur Ritchie, rector of St. Ignatius' Church, in Fortieth Street, arose to preach the sermon.

[131] "Like the Rev. Dr. Brown, Mr. Ritchie is a ritualist; one of the highest order. Like the Rev. Dr. Brown, he is called by his parishioners, Father.

"His sermon, fitting for a ritualistic service of importance to ritualism, told of the history of the High Church, and of its present manifestation in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. At the end of the sermon Father Ritchie said:

"'The Meaning of the Day.

"'Dear friends of the Parish of St. Mary the Virgin, I give you greeting on this glad day and bid you godspeed. It is no small thing for Catholics of our communion throughout this country to feel that there is here in New York so splendid, so stately, so perfectly appointed a church as this where thousands of our fellow men must come to know, despite the taunts of enemies and the timid disclaimers of half-believing friends, that the American Church has still the old Catholic mass and is not afraid to celebrate it in all the pomp and with all the accessories of the ancient, traditional ritual; that she has still the Catholic sacraments and is ready to administer them freely and lovingly to all fainting and sin-laden souls; that she is not the church of the rich and well-to-do only, but quite as much the mother and friend of the poor.'

"At the conclusion of the sermon an offertory anthem, composed for the occasion by George B. Prentice from the twenty-fourth psalm, was sung. Following this were the Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei, Haydn's post communion hymn, Ewing's 'Jerusalem, the Golden', and the postlude, Reinecke's 'Triumphal March'.

"This completed the services, the clergy, thurible, acolytes and choir passing again in procession to recede with the last triumphal strains of music into the priests' house beyond the altar.

"The Distinguished Visitors.

"The Bishop was attended by Canon Knowles of St. Chrysostom's, and the Rev. Daniel Odell, of the Church of the Ascension, Philadelphia. They acted as honorary deacons. The visiting clergy, in addition were the Revs. J. C. Stephenson, Howard McDougall, E. M. Pecke, R. T. Nichol, Henry R. Sargent, Henry Gilbert, Superior of the Brothers of Nazareth; Prof. M. Riley, James W. Clark, Chaplain James C. Kerr, U.S.A.; H. P. Scratchley, W. F. Capel, Elvin S. Taylor and Henry Mason Baum. Father Brown's son Thomas played the cornet.

"Bishop Potter will consecrate the new church building Thursday, beginning at 10:30 A.M. No cards of admission are required.

"The Building of the Church.

"The old church of St. Mary the Virgin is a modest structure in Forty-fifth Street, near Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The new [120/121] structure is in Forty-sixth Street, betwen Sixth and Seventh Avenues. It is Gothic in architecture and ritualistic in every character. Its interior has the cathedral appearance affected by the Roman Church, and all around its walls the suggestion is strengthened by apostolic groups and figures of church tradition.

"In 1868 the church was organized, and two years later Father Brown came to it. He gave to it the ritualistic tendency and position it now maintains. When its congregation grew too large for the Forty-fifth Street structure, Father Brown suggested a larger, and on Dec. 8, 1894, the corner-stone of the new building was laid.

"The entire group of parish buildings, including besides the church edifice a mission-house on one side and a clergy house on the other, cover a plot of ground extending 125 feet on Forty-sixth and 95 feet on Forty-seventh Street, and running through from street to stret. All the buildings have been constructed from plans by N. Le Brun & Sons, architects. Those of the church are of the thirteenth century; the clergy house, mission house and rectory of the fourteenth century. The facings of the church are Indiana limestone; the parish houses of stone, light Roman bricks and terra cotta."

As will be seen from these extracts, the day was a great success. Even the element of excitement, so necessary to the completeness of any "big day" in New York, was not lacking, as will be seen from the following story.


"Henry Greer Arrested in a Confessional--Had Been Acting Suspiciously.

"Henry Greer, who is well known to the police and to men about town, was arrested in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in West Forty-sixth Street, after the services yesterday as a suspicious person and was taken to Police Headquarters.

"Greer was seen by Detectives Beagan and O'Neill of the Central Office, who were detailed to attend the opening services in the new church, acting suspiciously. They noticed that he followed one of the vestrymen as the latter was passing the alms basin and that he suddenly disappeared in one of the confessionals at a side aisle.

"Why Was He There?

"After the services were over the detectives went to this confessional, the curtains of which were drawn close, and there they found Greer, holding his overcoat in front of his face. When asked what he was doing there he said he had gone into the confessional to fix his shoe, which hurt him.

[122] "At Headquarters he gave his name and said he is a newspaper man with many powerful friends. All other information he refused to give.

"He protested against his arrest and threatened to make it hot for somebody, through Mr. Roosevelt and Chief Conlin, with both of whom he claimed to be intimate.

"In Trouble in Washington.

"Greer was in trouble in Washington some years ago about a supposed swindle, several Congressmen being numbered among those with whom he had dealings.

"At the last Horse Show he presented a pass, which it was learned belonged to some one else. He threatened to report Mr. Bull, the ticket taker, to William C. Whitney unless Bull delivered up his pass. Instead Bull dropped it in the box and then ordered Greer out of Madison Square Garden.

"Had a 'Write-up' Scheme.

"In 1890 the man was connected with a scheme to get money out of actresses and other members of the theatrical profession by writing accounts of their careers, which he said would be published in the daily papers. Marion Manola gave $15 for a 'write-up'.

"Greer is a fine looking man, with an iron-gray beard, and is always carefully dressed. He had a letter of credit for $500 in his possession when arrested.

"Greer has been exposed in the newspapers many times." One might feel that these exciting events of Sunday, and the engrossing Consecration Service to be held on Thursday, would have absolved the Trustees from matters of business routine, but the 9th was the second Monday in the month, and the prescribed day for the Annual Meeting, and the men who had kept their heads through the days of poverty and the much more disturbing days of sudden riches, in the face of never slackening criticism and hostility, were not the men to lose their heads now. They met at the usual hour of four o'clock, and accepted the Treasurer's report, passed the usual accumulation of bills for work on the new Church, including $225 for rugs for the Chancel, and voted $25 each to Dr. Prentice, the organist and to T. M. Prentice, his brother, the choirmaster "in appreciation of their faithful services."

The only unusual business to come before the Meeting is recorded as follows: "The Treasurer then read the instrument of donations and request to the Bishop to consecrate the new Church. On motion it was [122/123] adopted and ordered executed by the President and Secretary of this board, and sent to the Bishop."

In spite of his exertions, Fr. Brown did not feel himself at liberty to neglect any opportunity to further the Catholic cause, and on the next day he went to Peekskill to take part in an interesting service, which is thus chronicled in the Baltimore Sun:

"Sisters of St. Mary.

"The Anglican Order of the Sisters of St. Mary, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, are rejoicing over the fact that seven more women, some of them of high social position and wealth, have taken the final vows of the order. The service took place on Tuesday at 9:30 A.M. in the new chapel of the mother-house of the sisterhood, St. Gabriel's, at Peekskill. High mass was celebrated by Bishop Coleman of Delaware. He was assisted by the Reverend Father Thomas McKee Brown, rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, of New York; the Rev. Mr. Lewis, rector of St. Peter's Church of Peekskill, and the Rev. Dr. Houghton, of the 'Little Church Around the Corner'. The mass was sung by the Sisters attached to St. Gabriel's. Among those present were sisters of the order from its three branches in this city and from Philadelphia, Boston and Nashotah House, Nashotah, Wis.

"Those who professed were Miss Frances Helen Devoe, who is a member of the old Devoe family of Fordham, and who will hereafter be known as Sister Frances Helen; Miss Robbins of Philadelphia, who became Sister Mary Catherine; Miss Gertrude Cummins of Akron, Ohio, who became Sister Gertrude Claire, and Miss Maud Haywood, who became Sister Mary Maud. They became what is known in the order as choir sisters. They are always chosen for their wealth, social or literary attainments.

"These were made minor sisters: Miss Louise Fletcher, Miss Mary Rutherford and Miss Augusta Henderson. They are now known as Sisters Mary Louisa, Mary Ruth and Augusta Henderson.

"In a few days the seven new sisters will be assigned by the mother superior to work in the various branches of the order throughout the country. The choir sisters donned the full black habit of the order, with white caps, having large wings, while the others put on a blue habit, with white caps. The fact that Bishop Potter was not invited to officiate has caused comment."

On Thursday, the 12th December, 1895, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin was consecrated by The Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter, Bishop of New York. The following accounts of the ceremony, taken [123/124] from the New York News and the New York Evening Post, would seem to be sufficiently interesting to be included here.


"The New Protestant Episcopal Church Consecrated by Bishop Potter.

"At 10:30 A.M. to-day Bishop Henry C. Potter ctfEciated at the consecration service of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, on West 46th St. The bishop was received at the porch of the rector, the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, his assistants, the Rev. Al. Mason and the Rev. F. A. Staunton, and the Board of Trustees, Beverly Chew, Haley Fiske, Edward H. Clarke, R. Whiting Pierson and William H. Lane.

"Bishop Potter and the others then went up the middle aisle of the church to the altar repeating the twenty-fourth psalm, 'The earth is the Lord's and all that therein is'.

"The bishop then entered the sanctuary and occupied the throne. The instruments of Donation and Endowment were then presented to him. Several prayers followed, said by the bishop, kneeling.

"Then, Bishop Potter sitting on the throne, the Sentence of Consecration was read by Father Brown and placed upon the altar, after which the bishop said: 'Blessed be thy Name O Lord, that it hath pleased thee to put it into the hearts of thy servants to appropriate and devote this house to thy honor, and worship and grant that all who shall enjoy the benefit of this pious work may show forth their thankfulness by making a right use of it to the glory of thy blessed Name through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen'.

"Morning prayer or Matins followed.

"The high mass was celebrated by Father Brown attended by the usual number of assistants. The music included Prentice's mass in E flat for soli, chorus, orchestra and organ: Prentice's anthem from Psalm 24th, 'Lift up your heads, O ye gates'; Haydn's post communion hymn 545, and Mendelssohn's postlude, 'Priests' March'.

"Among others present were Bishop C. C. Grafton of the Diocese of Fond du Lac, Wis., and Revs. H. G. Batterson, Arthur Ritchie, J. Harris Knowles, Henry Baumann, W. W. Ruthfurd, F. E. Mortimer, W. W. Smith, George W. Mayer, W. E. Johnson, H. B. Gougas and O. S. Prescott. The church was crowded to its utmost capacity.

"The parish paper says: 'During the month of November written requests were sent to the clergy for prayers for the repose of the souls of 16 bishops, 27 priests, 1 deacon, 1 sister, 461 men and 457 women, total 953. For these a requiem mass was said daily during the month'."


"Consecration Services To-day by Bishop Potter.

"The new church of St. Mary the Virgin was consecrated to-day by Bishop Potter. The church was rilled to its capacity, many of those present being from out of town. A few minutes before eleven o'clock the orchestra began the prelude, and this was followed by the procession of the vested choir, the clergy, and bishops. First came the acolytes bearing the crucifix and thurible, then followed the choir and the clergy, the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, rector of the church, and the Rev. Fathers Mason and Staunton, curates in the parish of St. Mary the Virgin, and about fifty clergymen from other churches in this and neighboring; cities. In the procession were many students from the General Theological Seminary. At the end of the procession was Bishop Potter.

"The procession in the order named first entered the sanctuary from the side of the altar. It withdrew on the gospel side and passed down the church by the south aisle and up the nave to the chancel. The processional hymn was 'The Church's One Foundation', the Bishop and choir then sang Psalm Twenty-four. The prayers of invocation and the sentence of consecration were then read. Morning prayer was then said, after reading which Bishop Potter celebrated the Holy Communion. The Epistle was read by the Rev. Dr. Ritchie of the seminary and the Gospel by the Rev. Dr. Davenport.

"The music for the communion service was specially composed for the occasion at the request of the trustees of the church by George B. Prentice, the organist. There was no sermon. Bishop Potter pronounced the benediction. The services were not so ritualistic in the observance of details as those on Sunday last."

On the 20th December, 1895, the Trustees convened' in a Special Meeting to consider several matters of importance. The estimate "of Fisher & Co. for raising the font and putting around it* a suitable platform at a cost of $138 was on motion accepted". There was then read from the same firm a most unusual offer: to build a marble reredos, which should be ready by Easter, in which the panelling of the old reredos was to be used, at at cost of $13,895, for which Fisher & Co. agreed to wait until the sum was collected. The trustees expressed their grateful appreciation of this generous offer, but considered it would not be wise to order the work started until more money was in hand. It is unnecessary to point out that the same feeling persists after thirty-five years.

The appropriations which were approved for the next year carry an [125/126] item of $3,148 for care of the building, besides $5,100 for music, in addition to Dr. Prentice's salary of $2,500. The total appropriations for 1896 were fixed at $22,248.

The purchase of 500 Prayer Books, with the name of the Church stamped on the cover was ordered. It was also "voted that for the present the Hymns to be used on Sundays be printed in leaflet form". That "present" was destined to last a long time, forthe practise thus begun has continued to this day.


At the first Regular Meeting of 1896, held the 13th January, announcement was made of the gift of a statue of St. Michael and the Dragon for the front of the Church.

The matter of the sale of the old church property in 45th Street was then gone into, and the offer of $80,000 for it was laid before the Board. This offer came from Thos. S. Williams acting for William Waldorf Astor, to whom the Corporation had originally agreed to sell the property. Merritt, who held the contract to purchase for $75,000 had agreed to cancel it for a cash payment of $1,250, and this arrangement was authorized, so that the Church could accept Astor's offer; which, in addition to being larger, had the attractive features of a $10,000 down payment, and the balance of $70,000 in cash in thirty days. It would be futile now to enquire why the Trustees entered into the contract with Merritt, withdrawing from which reduced the Church's profit by $1,250, after having agreed to sell the property to Astor, but as the records stand this transaction is one of the very few in which they do not seem to have used good business judgment.

The inevitable collection of estimates for meters, furnishings, ventilators, and the like was submitted to the Meeting, but the only one that would now be interesting was the order to fit the gates from the Baptistry in the old Church to the entrance of the new Baptistry.

During this month the annual meeting of the New York Catholic Club was held in St. Joseph's Hall, and addresses were then made by the Reverend Robert Ritchie, and the Reverend Dr. Alfred G. Mortimer, both of Philadelphia, and by the Reverend Father Huntington, of the Order of the Holy Cross.

On the 30th January a service was held in the Lady Chapel, which aroused a most heated controversy, in the course of which columns of [126/127] newspaper comment--and abuse--were poured forth. It will be sufficient to give two examples of the many articles that appeared.


"Devotional Exercises at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

"A company of the faithful and devout gathered yesterday morning in the Lady Chapel of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in West Forty-sixth Street, to celebrate King Charles's Day. Services in honor of the anniversary began in the chapel on Tuesday evening, when the Rev. Father R. T. Nichol delivered an address extolling the virtues of the martyred King. Yesterday's services consisted of the singing of a mass and the reading of some of the 'meditations' of the monarch.

"This celebration of King Charles's Day was given under the auspices of the Society of St. Charles, King and martyr, a religious organization established in London less than two years ago, and lately brought to this country. It was organized on Easter Day, 1894, at St. Margaret Patten's, Rood Lane, E.C. of which Rev. Father J. L. Fish is the rector. The Honorable Mrs. Greville-Nugent was the foundress and is at present the secretary of the society. Its object is intercessory prayer for the defence of the Anglo-Catholic faith against the attacks of the enemy. The obligations taken by its members embrace the weekly use of certain prescribed prayers, one of which is taken from the Eikon Basilike, composed by St. Charles, and the other two from the original service for the day which commemorates the martyrdom.

"It is the purpose of the society to set up a devotional picture of St. Charles, described as 'the only saint officially enrolled in her calendar by the church in England since the Reformation', in the chapel of St. Mary the Virgin."

"An Insult to the Republic.

"The celebration of 'King Charles's Day' in an American church, and his glorification as a saint and a martyr, constitute an innovation which brings discredit on all those concerned in the ceremony. It is also an outrage against the spirit animating this republic and the political principles upon which our institutions are founded.

"CHARLES I. represented doctrines and pretensions against which this republic has always been arrayed. He was the enemy of popular rights and resisted the advance of English freedom with stubbornness and all the resources of his crafty temperament and his fertile duplicity. He was tried and condemned on sufficient evidence and was properly executed. England is to-day freer and safer, and all mankind are happier because CHARLES I. was beheaded on the 30th of January, 1649.

[128] "It was an insult to the whole genius of America to celebrate his death at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Thursday as the martyrdom of a saint. It will be a continuous insult to it to carry out the proposed plan of setting up in that church a picture of the tyrant as a spotless and perfect example of saintly manhood deserving of American admiration and celebration.

"Is the Episcopal Church careless about provoking the resentment of American conviction and sentiment, or will Bishop Potter seek to discourage this Anglomaniac truckling to a morfarchical theory against which the very existence of this republic is a perpetual protest?"

The main work of building the new Church having been completed, the Trustees convened in Special Meeting on the 3rd February, 1896, to consider the final bill from John Downey, in connection with which John R. Downey wrote a letter and then appeared before the Board to explain certain "extras" and the method of charging for labor. His bill, as it was certain to be, was found correct and satisfactory, and "the Treasurer was authorized to give to Mr. Downey in settlement of his bill an order on Chas. A. Peabody for $29,051.90". Mr. Peabody was attorney for William Waldorf Astor, and the order was against part of the $80,000 which Astor was to pay for the old church.

The Regular Meeting of the 10th February witnessed the final act in the great drama of the old St. Mary's, when the Secretary was "authorized and empowered to execute, sign, seal and deliver to Thomas S. Williams, of the City, County and State of New York, for and in behalf of the said Society, a deed conveying the premises of the said Society located on West 45th Street in New York City." The New York Herald chronicled the transaction as follows:


"William Waldorf Astor Buys the Edifice Erected on Lots Donated by His Father.

"The old edifice of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in the south side of Forty-fifth Street, 350 feet east of Eighth Avenue, has been sold to William Waldorf Astor for $80,000. Mr. Astor owns the entire block, with the exception of one house and lot adjoining the church.

"A curious fact in connection with this sale is that Mr. Astor's father, John Jacob Astor, twenty-five years ago presented the three lots on which the old church stands to the congregation of St. Mary the Virgin. George R. Read, who bought back the old property for Mr. Astor, arranged its transfer from the church corporation to Thomas S. Williams, who conveyed the holding to William Waldorf Astor.

[129] "The Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin has been in the front rank of the ritualistic movement in the Protestant Episcopal Church. Next to St. Ignatius' it is probably the 'highest' Protestant church in the city. Many of its parishioners are wealthy and they have been very generous to St. Mary's. Two years ago it was the recipient of an elaborate set of fourteen 'stations' of the cross, and last year moved into its fine new edifice in Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Streets, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, built through the munificence of members of the congregation."

The Society of Mural Painters was so good as to send a letter expressing a desire to present a general scheme for the decoration of the new Church. The way in which the Trustees met this proposition evinces a high degree of statesmanship: "The Secretary was directed to reply to the letter, thanking the Society for its courtesy and to state that the money set aside for the construction of the Church had been exhausted."

Extra musical services had been given in the evening, and it was decided to allocate one quarter of the collections taken at them to the Church funds and three quarters to the choir fund.

At this Meeting Dr. George B. Prentice, who during his twenty-five years faithful service as organist had done so much to make St. Mary's music notable, was elected a Trustee.

Many innovations of the new Church in construction and equipment attracted wide attention, and the steel frame of the building and the two electrically controlled organs came in for their share of general and technical comment. In reference to the latter the following article in the Union Advertiser of Rochester, New York, is a fair example.

"I try in vain to imagine what those old tone-masters, Handel, Haydn, Bach or Mozart, would have said could they have been with me a few evenings ago at the first recital on the new electric organ in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin. Certainly in their wildest dreams they could not have imagined the instrument for which they wrote perfected as it is to-day. The organ, or organs, in question were built by Messrs. George Jardine & Son, and cost $10,000 which seems a moderate price considering what the makers have been able to accomplish. The main part of the instrument, consisting of the great, swell and part of the pedal organ is placed in the gallery over the entrance. The rest of the instrument, comprising the choir organ, is built in the chancel, a distance of 150 feet from the gallery. There are two 'consoles', or keyboards, both being movable and enabling the organist to play from either end of the church. Each 'console' is provided with three manuals and pedals, with over fifty speaking stops and accessories. Nor is this all. The wind [129/130] is furnished by two large bellows in the crypt of the church, each of which is driven by an electric motor, and is conveyed in pipes 100 feet long to the instrument. The organist is George B. Prentice, who has been connected with St. Mary's for the last quarter of a century, and who has entire charge of the music there. It may be added that, at the so-called 'high masses', there are two choirs, one in the organ gallery, being composed of a mixed quartette and chorus, and the other in the chancel, being confined entirely to male voices."

Many of the entries of this time sound familiar enough today. In spite of the brevity and formality of the records, it is plain that there was a serious depression, and during the winter and spring of 1896 the Trustees were obliged to borrow money to make the final payments on the Church, as it was obviously unwise to sell securities during the then financial depression.

Dr. Prentice took his seat on the Board at the Regular Meeting of the 9th March, and one is inclined to think, on reading the Minutes, that he must have suffered some slight embarrassment, for much of the Meeting was taken up with plans of the celebration to mark the completion of his twenty-fifth year as organist. "The Rector was requested to give a commemoration service", and the Corporation arranged "a reception and collation to Dr. Prentice under the management of the Rector". In addition to these two compliments it was moved "that Fr. Brown and Mr. Pierson be appointed a committee to obtain subscriptions to a fund to purchase a loving-cup to be presented to him".

The lectern and closet for the Baptistry, designed by Le Brun, were ordered. The lectern is still in use, but the closet seems to have disappeared in the course of years.

Tickets had been issued for admission to the old church on Palrc Sunday, Easter and Low Sunday, but this was considered unnecessary in the larger new Church, and none were given out for this first Easter season, the envelope subscribers and persons to whom seats were assigned simply being asked to use the Lady Chapel door, while all others were to be admitted by the main doors. Experience soon proved that even in the new Church it was impossible to be fair to "The Regulars" unless tickets were issued

Good Friday fell on the 3rd April, and in The New York Sun of the following day was a short comment which shows that the newspapers of 1896 were not so familiar with the services peculiar to the day as they have since become.


"Held Yesterday in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Episcopal Churches.

"Good Friday services were held in the Roman Catholic and Protestant Episcopal churches yesterday, and most of them were attended by large congregations. In the Roman Catholic and in a number of the Episcopal churches the three-hour service--from twelve to three--called variously the 'Agony Service', 'The Preaching of the Cross' and 'The Service of the Passion' was held. In Trinity Chapel Dr. Morgan Dix preached the seven sermons of the service which are based on the seven words of Christ from the cross. Trinity Church was crowded to the doors throughout the service. The same service was held at St. Ipiatius's Church and the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the two welr-known ritualistic Episcopal parishes. At St. Mary's the high altar, the chancel, and the choir were draped in lustreless black hangings. The crucifix was hidden in black drapery, and no color or candles were visible.

"In the Lady Chapel, however, in which the blessed sacrament was reserved, the candles were lit and the altar was covered with white flowers. The crucifix was covered only with a thin white lace veil. The organ was not used in the singing."

Interest in church matters being at a high point at this season, one of the daily papers printed the following story on Easter Monday. It refers to the plaster model of the statue of St. Michael and the Dragon which was to adorn the front of the church--and it antedates by a good many years a somewhat similar happening, more familiar to the present generation, which has not, however, been chronicled in so light a vein. It may be mentioned in passing that the spring of 1896 was a very late one.


"Wouldn't Go into His Niche, Even Without Dragon and Halo.

"It all happened in an uptown street the other day, and I was one of the crowd looking on.

"The snow was falling lightly and daintily, when a cart full of boxes and a clumsy van inscribed 'Furniture Removed' stopped before a swell church. It was one of those churches with a great deal of architectural trimming, cherubs' heads and vine leaves--in short, a sort of Edition de Luxe in the way of churches. On Sundays they say that the rustle of silk going up the aisle reminds one of the wind in the willows on a breezy day, and no one ever puts a dime in the collection plate.

[132] "No sooner had the van stopped outside the swell church than the interest of the entire block was centred on it. Before you could say 'George Washington' a little crowd, consisting of a messenger boy, a grocer's boy, with a head of celery in a basket; a jocular vagrant, male; and a despondent vagrant, female; three well-dressed men and a scrub lady, had all taken up positions on the pavement to see what was coming.

"'I'm sick o' weddin's' said the messenger <boy. 'Seen too many--I wouldn't waste no time on a weddin'--but maybe it's an accident' he added hopefully.

"Six men had emerged from the van, and two jumped down from the cart. A portly man, with an air of authority and kid gloves, walked smartly up to superintend things.

"The men from the van began to carry something out horizontally.

"'Is it a corpse?' asked the grocer's boy.

"'Corpse, nothin',' said the messenger boy. 'It's one o' them images like the Dago carries around, only bigger, an' they're goin' ter put him on the shelf there, see?'

"Three sculptured niches with over-hanging canopies formed part of the swell church's architectural garnishing outside.

"'Steady, boys,' called the man in the kid gloves. 'Get into the cart, Mick--Brown pile up the boxes and make something for a footing. D------you, don't handle it like that.'

"The sculptured stone figure that aroused this spurt of profanity proved to be a very ladylike-looking St. George, prodding at an amphibious sort of a dragon with an alpenstock. Considered as a work of art he wasn't even as much of a success as the Greeley that sits at the corner of Thirty-second street and Broadway selling flowers--but as an incident in the street life of the day he was immense.

"'Wot's that he's got on his head?' asked the grocer's boy, as the men stood the saint up on the church steps; ' is it a tam-er-shanter?'

"For a wonder the messenger boy didn't know.

"'That--that's a haler,' said the male tramp.

"The female tramp cast him a look of scorn, and opined that they were just as wise as they were before. The three well-dressed men laughed.

"'That's a dragon that he's proddin'', said the messenger boy, recovering his post of instructor, as the men lifted the effigy slowly and with a good deal of puffing and groaning, for he was very heavy and life size.

"'Dragon, is he? Either his father or mother was an alligator, sure,' criticised the grocer's boy.

[133] "'Shame on yer ignerance, ter be after mockin' at a blessed saint out o' th' howley Scriptures,' cried the female vagrant. At that minute she espied a well-dressed woman crossing the snowy road and she instantly ran to her and accosted her with her formula:

"'I've just landed from Aberdeen this morning, lady, without a penny in me pocket, and I want ter git ter me darter who lives in Eighty-fifth street, an' I haven't seen her inside o' four year,' etc.

"But the well-dressed woman was holding up her gown, and in these days of remote female pockets couldn't attempt to find her's, and the snow was coming down faster every minute, so the professional beggar from Aberdeen rejoined the crowd without a nickel.

"By this time St. George was well up on a level with the niche for which he was destined, and all the workmen were standing in a perilous crowd on the boxes piled up in the cart, propping him up, their hands growing a purplish white against the dead white of the figure. The boss was walking around in a perturbed way, gesticulating with his walking stick. Suddenly he stopped.

"'My God!' he exclaimed, with that familiarity towards the Deity which marks the New York man. 'He don't fit.'

"'Too big for his position,' commented one man with a grin. " 'Thing that often happens,' said another.

"'Wasn't made fer this joint--they brung him from the other premises,' explained the tramp, who knew the streets only too well. " 'Lower him, boys, and cut off the base,' ordered the man in gloves. "So they lowered him, who had been found too big for his niche, and the tramp ostentatiously held the cart while they did it. Some one ran for a saw and another for a mallet, and in a few minutes the alligatorial dragon was sawn-oif and deposited in the van.

"'Now he's a "sawed-off" ' was the joke made by at least three spectators. It was an inevitable joke which had been hanging about in the air, waiting to be cracked. "Still the saint was too big.

"'Pare some off his wings,' ordered the boss. So they clipped his wings. Up he was boosted again. Still too big.

"You'll have to take some off his head,' said the gloved man impatiently.

"So they cut slices off his halo.

"'Guess they won't leave nothin' but his soul,' hazarded the tramp, shivering. The men were nearly as white with the driving snow as the saint in his plaster paleness.

"'Won't do,' decided the man in the gloves, stamping his feet to get them warm. 'Cart it back to the yard, boys.'

[134] "The amputated saint was carried horizontally to the van and tucked away.

"'Nothin more ter see,' said the messenger boy, looking at the address on his message. 'Which way yer goin'?'

"'Thirty-third-comin'?' and the boys tramped off. " 'An' not a nickel in the whole durned crowd,' said the tramp." "The Regular Meeting of the 13th April was a short one but two items claim our attention: the Treasurer reported that he had reformed the contract for the organ in St. Joseph's Hall, and had paid Jardine & Sons $765 in full for it; and that a collection was to be taken at the service to be held in commemoration of Dr. Prentice's twenty-fifth anniversary as organist and choir master of the parish. This last was in accordance with Fr. Brown's belief that alms-giving is an essential part of worship, and that, therefore, a collection should be received at every service.

About this time the Treasurer made public the figures of the Easter Collection. No one knew better how to prepare such figures so that they should tell an effective story, and no one knew better how to give them the desired publicity. They attracted wide attention, but it will be sufficient to print here only one article, from the Enquirer of Buffalo, New York, under date the 17th April.

"The free church idea is beautiful in theory, but it is difficult and in some cases impossible to maintain in practice. The New York Commercial Advertiser says: 'Some decidedly interesting information in regard to the contributions usually made by transient church visitors is afforded by the record at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin on Easter Sunday. This Church, which is one of the most impressive religious structures in the city, is noted for the fine quality of music and the special Easter services naturally attracted many persons beside regular attendants. The number of such visitors is estimated to have reached 1,410. Their contributions apart from the envelope offering made by the pew holders, amounted to 600 pennies, 975 nickels, 600 dimes and a few other coins, the total aggregating less than $125. Yet the musical programme to which they listened, regarded merely as an artistic entertainment, was of the highest type, while the character of the occasion surely made reasonably liberal offerings obligatory upon all who attended. Experiences like this show why most New York churches find it necessary to rent their pews for fixed sums in order to exist! It must cost a good deal of money to provide such music as was given at this church. Yet the very people who would pay at the [134/135] rate of $5 a seat to hear grand opera, will put in a nickel or a dime when they go there and the alms basin is passed around."

A present day Easter collection would be larger than that. But if the people who attend Easter, and other services would only respond, financially, on the same scale that they have to respond when they attend the movies--not to say the theatre, much less the Opera--the financial troubles of St. Mary's and most churches would be nonexistent.

On Wednesday evening, the 22nd April, the reception to Dr. Prentice was given in St. Joseph's Hall. It had been preceded, on Sunday the 19th, by the special service, and the two events attracted considerable attention outside the Parish. The two following accounts, the first from The New York Times of the 5th April, and the other from the Musical Age, of the 29th April are typical, and form interesting brief records of the events.


"Celebration by the Choirs of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin

"The choirs of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in West Forty-sixth Street, will celebrate on April 19 the twenty-fifth anniversary of Dr. George B. Prentice's connection with the church as musical director.

"Dr. Prentice came to New York from Norwich, Conn., where he had been organist of Christ Church. He made many radical changes in the choir at St. Mary's, and under his direction the musical services have been of a high standard. The two electric organs in the new church were built under his supervision, and many unique features in their construction have attracted attention. Many of the masses sung in St. Mary's have been adapted by Dr. Prentice, and, in addition to many compositions of his own, the choir has sung for the first time in this country several works obtained by Dr. Prentice in his trips abroad. The degree of Doctor of Music was conferred upon him by Racine College.

"At the special service on April 19 the combined choirs will sing von Weber's 'Jubilee Cantata', accompanied by the orchestra. The Board of Trustees of the church, of which Dr. Prentice is a member, will hold a reception in his honor."

"Dr. Prentice's Loving-Cup

"At a reception held in St. Joseph's Hall, on Wednesday evening, the 22nd instant, to commemorate Dr. George B. Prentice's quarter [135/136] of a century connection as organist of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, there was a most interesting programme of vocal and instrumental music excellently carried out. After the music had finished, the Reverend T. McKee Brown, the rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, presented Dr. Prentice with a massive silver loving-cup. In accepting the gift, Dr. Prentice spoke feelingly of his long and affectionate connection with the church, and alluded to the period as filled with the kindliest recollections."

The Meeting of the 18th May began dimly to shadow forth the financial difficulties that were to lead ere long to most unfortunate results. The Treasurer reported that the new church buildings had already cost $365,874.90, and that $6,032.44 remained to be paid. From these figures it would appear that the new St. Mary's with its attendant buildings, cost $371,907.34. In order to pay the bills still outstanding, the Treasurer was authorized to borrow $6,000, and was further given power to borrow sufficient money to carry the Church through the summer. There were, of course, securities which could have been sold for more than sufficient to meet these needs, but the country was passing through a period of depression which rendered the sale of any form of security most disadvantageous. The Trustees were so mindful of the need for economy that Dr. Prentice's plan to reduce the amount paid for music in the summer by $250 was at once adopted.

While they certainly cannot be criticized for not doing so, it is unfortunate that the Trustees, in the days when the traditions of the Parish were being established, did not inaugurate the policy of creating a fund to tide over the "lean months", and thus avoid the necessity of borrowing each summer and having that debt, with its consequent interest, to be paid in the winter. Just after Easter is the only time in the year when St. Mary's is financially, as to its running expense, sound and in a proper condition. One wonders in what wild way the satisfaction and joy of the Treasurer would expend itself if he could retain the Easter offering for a time, and use a portion of it to carry the Church through the summer, and not have to spend it at once to repay money borrowed to carry through the previous hot months. Salaries must be paid, even when pledges are suspended for sixteen weeks.

At the Meeting of the 12th June the Treasurer reported that asphalt pavement would be laid in 46th Street in compliance with the request of the Corporation.

Bishop Talbot had visited the Church to administer the rite of [136/137] Confirmation, and it was resolved to make up the collection taken at that time to $25, and to forward that sum to Bishop Talbot.

"The Rector brought up for discussion the affairs of the Summer Home. It was the sense of the Meeting that the Rector should order a new well if necessary and to hire a suitable man to take charge of the property."

The two following items appeared in The Living Church during July. The Procession described must have been most impressive and one wishes one might have been present.

"At the church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Rev. T. McKee Brown, rector, the feast of Corpus Christi was observed with four Celebrations. The octave of the feast was noted on St. Barnabas' Day, June 11th, in a simlar way. The third Celebration was especially for the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. The last solemn procession of the season was a notable affair. The front seats of the church were reserved for the schools and guilds. Boys and men, girls and women, completely filled them during Vespers. The boys and men wore their guild badges, the girls and women wore veils. After Vespers, preceded by crucifix and torch-bearers, they formed in procession, some 220 in number, a member of each guild carrying a suitable banner. They were followed by the vested choirs, acolytes, and clergy. These were preceded by the incense bearer, another crucifix and the torch-bearers. The length of the procession was 400 feet, and the first crucifix had returned to the chancel gates by the time the celebrant had left the altar. The utmost enthusiasm was manifested at this demonstration of the successful completion of the year's energies. A solemn Te Deum closed the services. This season the parish possesses its own summer house at Northport Bay, Long Island. It is intended to provide for 20 persons each week, and about 200 in all. A large new dining hall for the children has been promised."

"The Church of St. Mary, the Virgin, the Rev. Thomas McK. Brown, rector, has cause to be proud of the statistics of this year's graduating class at the General Theological Seminary. All three honor men, and those to whom essays were assigned for the commencement exercises, were regular servers at this parish church. Of the six degrees of B.D. granted to the class, four recipients were regular servers at this church. Of the ten men who were first in their class standing, six were regular, and one an occasional server, at St. Mary's. Of the three prize men, one was a regular and the other an occasional server at this church. There will be three services daily during July and August, consisting of an early Eucharistic Celebration, with matins and vespers. An effort is making to raise additional funds for the fresh air work of the parish."

[138] During the month of September an interesting funeral was held in the Church, which was thus reported in the New York Sun of the 11th.


"Marines, Bluejackets, and Officers of the Navy Attend the Services.

"Funeral services were held at the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin, in West Forty-sixth Street, yesterday morning for John Stark Newell, commander of the cruiser Detroit, who died on Sept. 3 in Seattle, Wash. The coffin, draped with the Stars and Stripes and bearing a single wreath of white roses sent by the officers and men of the Detroit, was carried from the hearse to the altar by bluejackets from the Katahdin. Officers followed as pall-bearers. Then came the widow and her brother, and an escort of two companies of marines from the receiving ship Vermont and from the Navy Yard, and 120 bluejackets from the Amphitrite and the Terror. The marines occupied the seats to the right of the centre aisle and the sailors sat to the left.

"All the men stacked their arms in the street in front of the church, leaving two marines and two sailors in charge of them. A detail from the drum and fife corps of the Navy Yard, in scarlet uniforms, sat in the rear seats in the church. The escort was under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Fred Singer of the Terror.

"The Rev. Thomas McKee Brown celebrated the requiem mass."

The Minutes of the first Meeting of the autumn, held the 17th October, bring the names of two famous Churches together in an interesting and somewhat curious connection: "On motion permission was granted Trinity Church corporation to close up space between the Rectory of said Church in 25th St. and the adjoining house owned by this corporation."

The business depression which has already been referred to as affecting St. Mary's at this time was forcibly brought home to the Trustees at the Meeting of the 23rd November, when the Treasurer reported that pledges to the amount of about $1,200 had not been paid. He was authorized, for the first time as far as the records show, to send notices to those who were in arrears.

William H. Lane was ill at this time, and the Members of the Board, in requesting Fr. Brown to convey to him their sympathy, volunteered to hold meetings at his house if it would suit his convenience.

[139] The Musical Art Society had requested permission to hold a musical service in the Church, but the Trustees declined to allow it to be used for this purpose. They further decided that the charge for the use of the Church, including the organ and sexton's services, should be "$100 to all persons not members of the parish; and that no weddings be permitted after three P.M." These regulations were evidently made necessary by the increased notoriety attaching to the new Church.

"Fr. Brown reported that under date of Oct. 26th, 1896 Rev. Richard R. Upjohn had been received into the Diocese of New York." This seems to be a curious entry in view of the fact that Fr. Upjohn had been a curate at St. Mary's since the 17th December, 1894.

There appears to have been some difficulty in holding the Annual Meeting of 1896, which was called for the 14th and adjourned to the 22nd and again put off until the 26th, when it was finally held in the residence of Haley Fiske at 59 West 70th Street. William H. Lane, whose health had not improved, tendered his resignation which was not accepted, and he was reelected Vice President.

The Treasurer had recently made a trip to the West, in the course of which he had gone to Marshalltown, Iowa, where the Corporation owned property, and he was able to give a first-hand report of it. This action was characteristic of Fiske, and many similar reports were to be made by him in the days that were to come.

He made another report which is included here for the effect it will have on any householder of today--assuming that there are any left: that a new furnace had been put in the house at 248 West 45th Street at a cost of $110. This was the old Mission House, to which Charles T. Cook had contributed generously as a memorial to his wife. Although it was not now used for its original purpose, he continued to pay the ground rent and taxes.

The Reverend Dr. Sill was at this time the tenant of 232 West 45th Street, and at this Meeting his request that clothes poles and lines be placed in the yard at a cost not to exceed $12 was granted. Entries such as this one, of which there are many throughout the records, unconsciously furnish proof that in the service of the Church they love there is no such thing as a detail. That is, and always has been one source of St. Mary's strength. To all her children, young and old, men or women, her affairs are important and are to be conscientiously [139/140] attended to, whether they involve the erection of a church or of a clothes pole.

The Summer Home ended the season of 1896 with a balance, after paying all expenses, including those of sending out the children. The disposition of this balance was made the subject of a mysterious resolution, for it was ordered to "be put to the credit of the order". This probably means that the Sisters ran the Summer Home, and that the balance was to be credited to them.

The Treasurer reported that the last mortgage on the Church property, that covering 138 West 47th Street, had been paid. True, the money to accomplish this had had to be borrowed, but there was great satisfaction in the thought that the Church was free and clear. She has remained so to this day, and, please God, always will remain so.

The question of holding the property on Hull and Norwood Avenues, which had come to the Church as part of the Cooke legacy, came up for decision, and was laid before Geo. R. Read for his advice.

At this Meeting suitable notices of the services were ordered to be affixed to the outside of the Church and in the vestibule, and a contract was entered into to advertise the services in the Hotel Bulletins at a cost of $15 a year.


The January Meeting, which is usually held later than the second Monday to afford time for the closing of the books, took place on the 25th, and, beside the usual financial report for the past year, and the estimated appropriations for the current year, was concerned with several matters of interest.

The Reverend J. C. Sturgis, of 418 West 41st Street, had asked the consent of the Parish to move his mission chapel to 46th Street near Ninth Avenue, "with a view of establishing an independent parish". The Corporation gave its consent, and that mission chapel ultimately became St. Clement's Church.

The Catholic Club requested the use of the Church for Vespers on the 31st January, and of St. Joseph's Hall for a meeting on the 2nd February, and this was granted, and $50 appropriated for expenses.

The curious request, quite different than either of the above, was made "to deposit the ashes of a cremated person somewhere in the Church". This was left to the decision of Fr. Brown.

[141] At this time the first annual contract was made with George Jardine & Son to care for and tune the organ for $225 a year.

Geo. R. Read reported the value of the lots of Norwood and Hull Avenues, and was authorized to sell them for the Corporation.

A letter from William H. Lane reiterated his desire to resign, and the Board acceded to his wishes "with great regret".

Fr. Staunton, Fr. Upjohn and Fr. Mason were reelected for the ensuing year, and were called "Curates" for the first time.

The estimated appropriations for the year 1897 amounted to $22,700, of which amount $4,750 was for music and $500 for the Mission House.

At the Meeting of the 13th March, 1897, certain refinancing of "the corner property situated near Huntington and now used as the Summer Home" was approved, and it seems to be evident that the Trustees realized that the building or the location was not satisfactory, and were making preparations to dispose of it when a suitable time should come.

Some of the securities given by Mrs. Emily M. Noyes to pay for the Mortuary Chapel, had been sold as the work had been done, and a statement of the amount still unpaid was forwarded to Mrs. Noyes at her request.

An extremely brief item at the end of the Minutes of this Meeting is significant. Fr. Brown had been authorized, some months before, to look into the matter of the defective chimneys, and at this time rendered his report, accompanied by several estimates for the work considered necessary to be done. No action was taken on the report. This is the first record of any matter, big or little, with which the Rector was actually concerned, not being pushed to a prompt conclusion.

The New York Times, on Sunday the 4th April, published a Supplement devoted to the music of the prominent New York churches which was written by Thomas M. Prentice, conductor of St. Mary's choir, and brother of the famous Dr. Prentice. The article, which covers several pages, is profusely illustrated with photographs of organists and prominent members of the various choirs. The reference to St. Mary's is becomingly modest, and centres around the Soprano Soloist, Miss Ida W. Hubbell, whose picture shows an older lady than one would have expected. There is also a photograph of Dr. Prentice. We learn from this article that the vested chancel choir [141/142] was composed of twenty-five men and boys, and the gallery choir of thirty-five mixed voices; the other soloists, beside Miss Hubbell were Miss Karlina Schmidt, alto; T. A. Stoddart, tenor; and C. C. Vickery, bass. Miss Hubbell had formerly been the soprano of the famous quartet of Grace Church, which had but recently been displaced, with serious forebodings, by the boy choir. It is hard to think of Grace Church without its familiar choir of boys.

On the 14th April the Bishop was notified "that the last mortgage on the property had been paid and that the real estate of the corporation was free and clear of debt".

For some months the Board had not been at full strength, and to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of William H. Lane, W. B. Fletcher was elected a Trustee.

The following, which looks very tame in plain type in comparison to its original form, where it is surrounded by a border of crosses and circles, appeared in the New York Journal for the 17th April. Strictly speaking it has nothing to do with the history of St. Mary's, but it is printed here not only because it is such good fun, but because it illustrates three of Fr. Brown's outstanding characteristics: his common-sense, his tact, and his humanness:


"Rev. Thomas McK. Brown, rector Church of St. Mary, the Virgin, in an interview.

"I have ridden the bicycle for seventeen years.

"I have never used a bicycle on Sunday nor ridden a horse for that matter for pleasure on the Lord's day. I do not, however, see any more sin in riding a bicycle on Sunday than on any other day of the week. If a young man or a young woman goes to church in the morning and then rides a wheel in the afternoon I do not see harm in it. I do not think the question of Sunday bicycle riding particularly affects churchgoers. I have not noticed that it has any effect on church attendance.

"I think bicycling a great deal better than going to the grog shops to spend leisure time. Men who indulge in liquor cannot ride. This is my observation. I never knew a family to have a bicycle skeleton in the closet, but I have known them to have a grog shop skeleton".

At the Meeting of the 10th May, an extra appropriation of $50 was made for Whitsunday music. Nowadays that sum would only [143/144] add a harp, but in those days--how different they seem, though only thirty-four years ago!--it provided a substantial augmentation to the orchestra or choir, as the need of the Mass might be.

Two resolutions were adopted at this meeting which have a direct connection with today, and are worth transcribing.

"Resolved that the thanks of the Board of Trustees are hereby extended to Mr. John R. Downey for his promised gift of the Statue of St. George and the Dragon to ornament the front of the Church and the Board desires to convey to Mr. Downey its high appreciation of this second act of generosity on his part towards the ornamentation of the Church."

The second resolution is as follows, and requires no comment:

"Resolved that the friends of the late James Burt, long time Trustee of this Corporation, have permission when they have raised the necessary subscription, to place a tablet in the front vestibule of the Church, on the west side of the main door, corresponding in style to the tablet erected to the memory of Miss Cooke, with an inscription thereon to be approved by the Rector."

The New York Times in its issue of the 16th May, carried an article which is sufficiently interesting to preserve here in full. It was accompanied by the picture reproduced on another page, which shows the chancel of the old church, with T. M. Prentice standing between the two sides of the chancel choir, and Fr. Brown's son seated, with the cornet.


"The choir of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin was organized in 1870 and sang at the first service in the church on Dec. 8 of that year. It consisted of about twenty boys and six men. The English communion services were rendered at the high celebrations on Sundays, and the solo parts were taken by boys. Mr. William N. Webb, a student of the General Theological Seminary, since ordained a priest, was the organist, and Mr. William C. Rhodes, now of St. Stephen's, Providence, was the choirmaster. On the second Sunday, after Easter, April, 1871, Dr. George B. Prentice became organist, and has held the position ever since. Several radical changes were soon made. The choir was increased to about forty voices by the addition of more tenors and basses and several women, who were placed in the chancel back of the boys, while the soprano and alto solo work was given to women instead of boys. This innovation at the time when most churches were giving up their quartet choirs and putting in those of boys created quite an excitement in church [144/145] circles, but since then has been adopted by many of them, and even as late as last Wednesday week, in conservative 'Old Trinity,' at the grand celebration on that day, quite a number of women with veils on their heads could be seen among the boys in the chancel.

"At the time the character of the music at St. Mary's was changed, English adaptations of the celebrated masses made by Dr. Prentice were introduced in place of the Anglican communion services. The other radical change was the placing of a conductor with baton and stand in the chancel between the choirs, which also was seen at Trinity on Wednesday week during the singing of the solemn Te Deum. Mr. Thomas M. Prentice, a brother of the organist, was given this important position. Another custom inaugurated about this time at St. Mary's has been followed by a great many of the city churches, that of having special musical services on Sunday evenings at stated periods. On Passion Sunday evening, 1874, Rossini's 'Stabat Mater' was rendered, and these recitals of passion music have been kept up ever since, Haydn's, Mme. de Grandval's, and Gordigiani's 'Stabat Mater' having been given, as well as Verdi's 'Requiem', Gounod's 'Gallia', and Mercadante's 'Seven Last Words'. The next innovation was the employment of string and brass instruments in the accompaniments, when on Christmas Day, 1874, Haydn's Imperial Mass was given entire by the choir, assisted by an orchestra of twenty pieces from the Philharmonic Society. A small permanent orchestra is now an established thing at St. Mary's.

"In the autumn of 1895 preparations were made for entering the new church, then almost completed, and the entire musical arrangements were changed. Two choirs were organized, one of twenty men and boys, for the chancel, and one of forty mixed voices, which, with the soloists and the orchestra, were to be placed in the gallery. These arrangements were all carried out, and brought to a successful termination in the magnificent opening services in the new church when the entire musical organization consisted of seventy-three persons.

"The choir of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin has attained its reputation by faithful and devoted labor on the part of its members, from the organist and choirmaster to the humblest member of the chorus. Its work has always received the encouragement and assistance of the rector, the Rev. T. McKee Brown, himself an accomplished musician, and of the Trustees of the parish. The annual upheaval on May 1 so common in many choirs is unknown at St. Mary's. It would almost appear as if death was the only factor which affected the personnel of this choir. In proof of this, in addition to Dr. Prentice and his brother, who have served the church for twenty-six and twenty-three years respectively, are found among the present members of the choir Miss Estelle M. Norton, who has been understudy for the soprano soloist and leader of the chorus for ten years; John E. Atkins, bass, who sang at the laying of the cornerstone of the original church, in 1869; Adolph Brumm, who joined the choir as a boy in 1874; Warren L. Salmon, whose connection with [145/146] the chorus dates from 1880, and Charles Watt, tenor, who has been a member for fifteen years. For twelve years St. Mary's congregation has listened to the delicate and artistic playing of G. G. Cleather on the kettledrums, and Mr. Brown, when a mere boy, began to lead the procession with his cornet, while for seven years F. R. Sparks has been concertmeister of the orchestra.

"In these days of changes such faithful service is exceptional and worthy of record. There is a feeling of good fellowship in the choir which appears to attract its members, and coupled with the high standard of the musical services, is a magnet from which the true musician turns with regret. St. Mary's Choir has been a school from which has developed many choirmasters, soloists, and chorus singers, now occupying conspicuous positions in churches in New York and other large cities. Probably no choir is better known throughout the country than St. Mary's.

"The musical library at St. Mary's is probably the largest of that of any church in the city. In it are masses by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Von Weber, Ambroise Thomas, Cimarosa, Gounod, Kalliwada, Guilmant, Silas, and others, all of the principal oratorios (numbers from which are generally used for offertory anthems) and vesper services by Mozart, Gounod, Donizetti, Mercadante, Bellini, and many others.

"Dr. Prentice was born in Norwich, Conn., and when a boy studied the organ under Turpin, a prominent organist who had come from England and settled in Eastern Connecticut. He entered the class of '70 of Trinity College, Hartford, and part of the time while there presided at the chapel organ. Later he accepted the position of organist of Christ Church, Norwich, made vacant by the death of his teacher, going down from Hartford on Saturday and returning on Monday.

"At the end of his college course, after a short vacation, he accepted his present position. He was given the degree of Doctor of Music by Racine College, Wis., in June, 1887. He was elected a member of the Board of Trustees of the church in 1896, a well deserved compliment to his devotion to the interests of the parish. Dr. Prentice has composed several masses, vesper services, and anthems which evidently please St. Mary's congregation, judging from the requests so often made to have them placed on the programmes. Dr. Prentice is also Musical Director of the school under the charge of the Sisters of St. Mary, in East Forty-sixth Street; one of the founders of the recently organized American Guild of Organists, and a charter member of the Clef Musical Club of this city.

"Mr. Thomas M. Prentice is the director of the mixed chorus in the gallery at the south end of St. Mary's. He was born in Norwich, Conn., and began his musical career as a chorister at Trinity Church, this city, some twenty-five years ago. From there he went, in 1874, to St. Mary's, [146/147] where for two years he filled the position of bass soloist. In 1876 he was appointed conductor of the choir, which position he has since filled. He was a familiar figure to the congregation which filled the old church in West Forty-fifth Street, occupying a position in the centre of the chancel between the choirs. Mr. Prentice is thoroughly conversant with the best in the field of church music and the extensive repertory of the choir is at his fingers' end. Some of the popular hymns sung at St. Mary's are the work of his pen. He was one of the organizers of the Musurgia Society, and was its Vice President for two years; one of the Executive Committee of the New York Chorus, directed by Theodore Thomas, and more recently an officer of the Metropolitan Musical Society.

"Miss Ida W. Hubbell, the soprano soloist, came to St. Mary's in 1893 from a twenty years' service in the same capacity at Grace Church.

"Miss Karlina Schmitt, contralto, enters on her fifth year at St. Mary's, having been before that second contralto at St. Bartholomew's.

"T. A. Stoddart, the tenor soloist, joined St. Mary's Choir in November, 1892, having held positions in the Church of the Ascension and St. Peter's. C. C. Vickery having sung in English choirs since he was sixteen years old, after a seven years' service at St. Ignatius's Church, joined St. Mary's Choir five years ago."

The example of the friends of Col. Burt was followed by the family of William Scott, and at the Meeting of the 14th June, the Trustees gave permission for the erection of the tablet, which now occupies the similar position on the opposite side of the entrance to the Church to that of Miss Cooke's. This seems to have been the location they had in mind for the tablet to Col. Burt, but assigned the place to the memorial to William Scott "in view of his eminent services in connection with the founding of the parish and the erection of the first church building."

As has been indicated before, the wording of this tablet, which is as follows, contains a curious error. "To the Glory of Almighty God. This Tablet is placed here in Loving Memory of William Scott. He was the First Layman who entered into the work of founding this Parish of Saint Mary the Virgin, and it was through his Liberality and Arduous Labors that the First Church Building was erected. He was also the First President of the Board of Trustees, and held the Office for twenty-one years, from A.D. 1868 until his death on Trinity Sunday, A.D. 1889. Rest eternal, grant unto him, O Lord, And let Light perpetual shine upon him. Amen."

[148] As a matter of fact, the By-Laws of 1873 made Fr. Brown, and each succeeding Rector, President of the Board of Trustees, and created William Scott Vice President for life. Since his death, the office, like those of the Treasurer and the Secretary, has been filled each year by election at the Annual Meeting. It seems probable that the inscription on the tablet was prepared by someone whose knowledge of the facts was as vague as his use of capital letters was peculiar.

On the 7th of October there was a fashionable wedding in the Church, which attracted considerable attention for as silly a reason as can well be imagined: the ladies amongst the guests were directed to wear hats! As the ceremony was held in the evening, despite the regulation enacted about a year before, and hats did not form part of full dress, someone seems to have blamed the Church--as usual--for making an obnoxious regulation, and the papers took up the cudgels. Most of them seem, rather condescendingly, to approve the Church's stand, but we need not repeat all the arguments--conceive of arguing about such a point at all! The following article from the New York Commercial Advertiser of the 6th October will give a general idea of the matter.

"The marriage of Miss Anna Maria Atkins, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Edwin Atkins, to Col. Goodman James Greene, Assistant Inspector-General N.G.S.N.Y., in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, is to have some original features. It is exceptional for a militiaman to be married with military honors. The weddings of members of the regular army always have military characteristics, but members of the State Guard are married customarily as other citizens are. Col. Henry Chauncey, Jr. of the Eighth Regiment will be best man. Majors Antime W. La Rose and Frederick Ross Lee, Assistant Inspectors-General, N.G.S.N.Y.; Capt. George A. Wingate, Adjutant Twenty-third Regiment; Lieut. William De W. Dimock, First Naval Battalion; Lieut. Clarence Strevell, Tenth Battalion, and Lieut. Gilford Hurry, Squadron A, will be ushers. These gentlemen will appear in full uniform. A number of military men from different parts of the State will be present at the ceremony. The feminine wedding guests found these words printed on their cards to the church: 'It is a rule of this church that women must wear their bonnets'. A bonnet is scarcely the accompaniment of full evening dress, but as the rule of the church is 'must', the women find no means of getting away from wearing hats with decollete dresses. The sexton is said to have received orders to see that this rule is observed and not to tolerate such a subterfuge as a lace headdress. The women among the guests at the wedding to-night will therefore feel compelled to appear in semi-evening dress or else remain away from the church and appear only at the reception."

[148] During the summer The Church Economist published the following, which was probably instigated if not actually written by the Rector.


"The parish paper of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, The Arrow, contains one interesting and rather novel feature--a list of 'suggestions for gifts.' Among them we observe two items of $500 each for confessionals. An $800 chapel organ is wanted, and, donations of $100 each for carving capitals of three columns, $6,200 for Calvary, tympanum, and two statues."

This little notice bore such good fruit that at the first meeting in the autumn, 11th October, 1897, Fr. Brown was able to report "that two of the remaining pillars had been taken as memorials, one in memory of Mrs. Beverly Chew and the other in memory of Father Brown's father and mother."

But all the announcements made at this Meeting were not of so satisfactory a nature. "The Treasurer reported that he had increased the loan to the Corporation $2,000, and urged the necessity of in some way increasing the collections for the rest of the current year."

It will be noted that the effort was to be made to increase the collections, not the pledges. The Trustees of thirty years ago appear to have realized that St. Mary's is largely a church of the strangers, and that these strangers or transients should be asked to help support the Church to a greater extent than they did, or do now.

It is also probable that Fiske had been instituting comparisons, and had discovered that the collections were falling off. This may have been due to the fact that the novelty of the new church was waning, or perhaps to the preliminary rumors of impending War with Spain. Whatever the reason, the receipts were dwindling, and the financial situation was again causing anxiety.

The Treasurer could not be present at the Meeting of the 8th November, 1897, but, according to his invariable practise under such circumstances, he sent his report accompanied by a letter. In the latter he announced the resignation of Jenks "as Assistant Treasurer and the appointment of Mr. Howard I. Dohrman in his place." This is the first name we have encountered of a person who remains to this day an official servant of St. Mary's. That circumstance compels a restraint which is not obligatory in the cases of men who have gone over to the Great Majority, and imposes a reticence which is somewhat irksome; [149/150] but it may be said here, without overstepping the bounds of delicacy or discretion, that the loyal, devoted, and unbroken service of thirty-four years, has given the present Treasurer such a knowledge of the financial affairs of St. Mary's as no one else can even approach. What those years of faithful service have given to St. Mary's it would perhaps be as well to leave unsaid.

At the same Meeting the Rector reported that W. B. Fletcher had taken one of the remaining pillars in memory of his wife. It was evidently felt that the erection of separate tablets was making these memorials in the Church too numerous, and the following Resolution was therefore adopted: "That a brass tablet be prepared to contain the names of those contributing to the carving of the pillars, or in whose memory money was contributed, and that no separate memorial of such contribution be hereafter permitted."

At the Annual Meeting, 13th December, William B. Fletcher was elected Vice President in place of Wm. H. Lane, who had resigned on account of ill health. As they had been for many years past and were to be for many years to come, Beverly Chew and Haley Fiske were reelected Secretary and Treasurer respectively.


The first Meeting of 1898, held the 22nd January, was opened by the announcement that Wm. B. Fletcher had presented to the Corporation two paintings, one The Annunciation and the other The Restoration of Sight to Bartimeus, which were accepted with thanks.

In some way which now seems impossible to understand real property to the value of $1,000 in Washington, New Jersey, which belonged to Miss Cooke, was omitted from her estate, and the fact of her ownership came to light accidentally at this time. The necessary steps were taken, and title to it was vested in the Corporation upon payment of back taxes.

The Tammany Hall Organization of the 27th Assembly District presented a check for $50, which was finally "placed in the hands of the Rector to be used in the charities of the Parish." The majority victory in this vote is the first formal division of the Board recorded in the Minutes.

It was proposed to place the windows given to the old church by [150/151[ the Cottier family in St. Elizabeth's Hall, as the present St. Joseph's Chapel was then called, but action was deferred until the Rector had had an opportunity to consult with Mrs. Cottier.

Delay in such a matter was usual enough, but there is something ominous in the postponement of consideration of the estimates for the current year. Such a thing had never been done before, and in reading the Minutes of the routine business of this Meeting, the thought cannot be avoided that other and far weightier matters were struggling to the surface and had very nearly reached it.

It was in fact the lull before the storm. At the adjourned Meeting, a week later, the 29th January, 1898, the storm broke, and the harmony that had existed within the Board of Trustees for so many years was destroyed. As we look at it now, the cause seems pitifully inadequate, and the course of both sides unnecessarily harsh and unyielding.

Reduced to the smallest compass, for this is one of the two episodes in the story of St. Mary's upon which it is not pleasant to dwell, the division arose on the question of reducing the salaries of the Rector, the Curates, and the Organist. The Church had ended the past year with a deficit, and the Treasurer feared the same outcome of the current year. To meet this condition he proposed a reduction of 5% in the salaries of the Clergy and Organist, with the proviso that the amount thus withheld would be paid as soon as the financial position of the Corporation warranted.

Fr. Brown contended that as the Rector his salary could not be reduced without his consent, and he would not consent. The mater was laid before S. P. Nash as counsel for the Church, and the Meeting was adjourned for two days to await his reply.

It is extremely difficult now to appreciate the position taken either by the Trustees or the Rector. The 5% reduction in Fr. Brown's salary would have enriched the Corporation by $300, and how the Treasurer can have brought himself to believe that it was necessary to save such a sum, in the face of the financial difficulties that had been overcome in the past, when the Church had no securities and little credit, is well nigh inconceivable.

On the other hand it is hard to understand how Fr. Brown, with his great common sense and tact, can have attempted to stand upon such a flimsy technicality. The salary of the Rector of an Episcopal Church cannot be reduced, without his consent, below the amount named in [151/152] his call; but Fr. Brown had never been called, and no salary had ever been fixed. For years he got none, then $2,100, and from that to the $6,000 he had been receiving for a number of years. He must have known better than anyone else that the usual process by which a rector comes to a parish had been reversed in his case: the parish had not called him, but he had, so to speak, called the parish into being about himself.

Nash's opinion was read at the Meeting of the 31st January, and it failed to sustain the Rector's contention; whereupon the appropriations presented by the Treasurer for the ensuing year were approved. The total amounted to $22,080. The total appropriations for the previous year, 1897, had been $22,700. Thus an apparent saving of $620 had been effected. This munificent sum was to be saved at the cost of severing those ties of intimacy and love which had existed between Fr. Brown and the Trustees since the foundation of the Church. Had prosperity spoiled them, or why were these men, all of them, unable to see then the pitiful meanness of the cause of division between them? It was the last January Meeting over which Fr. Brown was to be allowed by the Great Father of us all to preside. When the next came around, and the chair stood empty at the head of the table, were the Trustees proud of their business caution--which was unquestionably well within their legal rights--or were other feelings uppermost in their minds and hearts?

There is only one entry in the Minutes of the Regular Meeting held the 21st February, which claims attention. Practically the whole meeting was devoted to ratifying the acts of the Treasurer in having made certain financial rearrangements of the investments. But there is one item that is grimly ludicrous: the Treasurer presented Nash's bill for the opinion he had rendered, and it was ordered paid. For stating his opinion that the Trustees were within their rights in reducing Fr. Brown's salary, Nash charged $100. It is improbable that the Trustees were able at that time to fully appreciate the saturnine smile which this record calls up now. They paid $100 to learn that they had the right to deduct $300 from the Founder's salary in the thirtieth year of his magnificent labors.

The next Meeting convened to hear three reports, all from the Treasurer: his monthly financial report; his report of the presence of water in the cellars of the Church and Mission House; and his report of a proposed lease of the Corporation's property in Marshalltown, Iowa. [152/153] The first was accepted, and the second and third entrusted to him "with power."

At the April Meeting the financial report for the first three months of 1898 was exhibited, and showed, by one of those ironies of fate of which most men have had some experience, that the collections and envelopes for the period had increased $300. The proposed reduction in Fr. Brown's salary would have been made up in the first three months of the year, but for the golden opinion of S. P. Nash. But it was too late. The reduction had been proposed, and it was the proposition that hurt. The temper of this Board, under its directing influence, seems to have been very different from that of its predecessors. Business caution and sound business principles had taken the place of faith; and trust in the Endowment Fund had apparently, for the time, displaced trust in Him for Whose honor and glory the Church existed.

At the Meeting of the 9th May the Rector reported the need of a shower bath for the boys, and this was ordered to be installed in the lavatory of the gymnasium. He also called attention to the doors back of the Chancel, which had been hung upon hinges, and he was authorized to have them changed to sliding-doors.

A curious discovery was announced at this Meeting. To make the matter clear now, it should be said that Sara L. Cooke inherited some of the property she left to St. Mary's from Lyman Cooke, and some from her sister, Mary Cooke. The latter she had not held long at the time of her death. It consisted, in part, of $70,000 Texas Central First Mortgage Bonds, which Sara L. Cooke had deposited, shortly before her death, with the Farmers Loan and Trust Company, under a reorganization scheme. In some way the Certificate of Deposit did not come to light at the time of the settlement of Miss Cooke's estate, and no mention was made of it in the schedule of her assets.

Some years had now gone by and the Farmers Loan and Trust Company still held the permanent securities, which had been issued and should long since have been claimed. They made enquiry of the Treasurer, but got no enlightenment, as no securities or evidence of securities of the Texas Central had come to him. But the newly elected Assistant Treasurer remembered that two trunks of papers connected with the Estate, and supposed to be of no value, had been sent to the Church to be stored. He was told that the papers had been examined and were of so little consequence that they would have been destroyed but for [153/154] being in trunks and there being plenty of room for them in the vast cellar of the Church.

Nevertheless he went there and examined them (he was then, as now, a firm believer in the axiom, "If you want a thing done, send someone; if you want it done right, go yourself"). The trunks had suffered from the water that had got into the cellar, and large blocks of the contents were so matted together that identification was very difficult; but he persisted in his search, and well down in the second trunk came to the Certificate of Deposit, which called for the delivery of 350 shares of the Preferred Stock of the Texas Central and 700 shares of the Common. It had been part of the Estate of Sara L. Cooke, and, after some delay, came to her residuary legatee, the Church.

At this time, the Summer Home was almost exclusively under the jurisdiction of the Sisters, who were having considerable difficulty about maintaining a disputed right of way. They applied to the Trustees who "authorized the Treasurer to advance such sums as may be necessary, at the request of the Guardians of the Order of the Visitation, to maintain and secure the right of way to the property of the Summer Home on Long Island."

The New York Times applied for permission to photograph the Chancel of the Church, which was granted "provided the negatives be returned to us."

In contrast to some recent summers, this one was uneventful, and the Trustees did not have to meet again until the 15th October, at which time Fr. Brown reported that the shower bath which had been authorized in May had not yet been installed.

He had a far more important announcement to make, however, in the news of the resignation of Fr. Staunton, who had left the Parish on the 1st October. It seems fitting that the Resolution adopted by the Board be transcribed here: "Resolved that this board accepts with deep regret the resignation of the Rev. John A. Staunton, Jr. as one of the Curates of this parish. That his work in the Parish has been so fruitful of good results and his ministrations so faithfully performed that this board feels that his departure is a serious loss. That this board extends to Father Staunton the cordial wishes of this Parish for his success in his new field of labor."

[155] The Reverend Guy L. Wallis was appointed by the Rector, and the appointment was confirmed.

The Meeting of the 14th November was almost entirely given up to reports from the Treasurer on financial matters. $5,000 had been paid on the Marshalltown mortgage, and this was used to repay a loan from the Metropolitan Trust Company, which transaction, in turn, released $21,000 Chicago Rock Island and Pacific 4% Bonds that had been put up as collateral. On the advice of Wm. A. Read of Vermilye and Company, brother of Geo. R. Read, these had been sold for $22,-083.75, and the Treasurer had completed the monetary merry-go-round by buying a $20,000 mortgage from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. What disposition was made of the $2,083.75 is not a matter of record. The only excuse for introducing this not very exciting report is that it is typical of a great many that occur in the Minutes. For the purpose of this history, however, one is probably enough, and an unusually simple one has been chosen.

Fr. Brown managed to get the floor long enough to report that the Cottier family, after looking favorably upon the project, had declined to put the windows from the old church in St. Elizabeth's Hall.

The Annual Meeting of the 12th December, 1898, was destined to be the last of which we shall read the familiar "with the Rev. Fr. Brown in the chair." As had been the case at every Meeting held this year, all the Trustees were present except Dr. Edward H. Clarke who had not been able to attend for some years. The Treasurer had much to report about the finances, and announced that he had placed insurance in the amount of $11,500 on the organs, $15,000 on the furniture, ornaments and vestments, and $230,000 on the buildings, including the Altars.

In the latter part of the Meeting, when he got the opportunity, the Rector nominated as Curates for the forthcoming year Fr. Mason, Fr. Upjohn and Fr. Wallis, who were duly confirmed.

The last entry in the Minutes of this Meeting is this: "Fr. Brown reported that another pillar had been taken as a memorial." No doubt when Beverly Chew wrote that he regarded it as a very commonplace record indeed. But it is unique. Never again would Fr. Brown make a report to that or to any other earthly board.

A very great deal might be written and quoted about the death [155/156] of Fr. Brown. All the New York and most of the out-of-town newspapers carried long accounts of it, but it seems more appropriate to quote only from "The Arrow--St. Mary's Parish Paper," founded and fostered, like all the rest of the Parish life, by the great founder.


"From The Arrow--St. Mary's Parish Paper.

"At a little after three o'clock on Monday morning, December 19th, the soul of Thomas McKee Brown, our late much-beloved Rector, passed away into the land of spirits, and for him 'the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over, and his work is done'. May the good Lord grant him a holy rest and peace! On Sunday, the 11th, he was suffering from a severe cold, but in spite of it he sang the High Mass and made a vigorous appeal to the congregation for their support in the several works of the Parish. It was the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Parish which he had founded, and for which he had so nobly and unremittingly toiled. After the service he found the strain and effort had been too great, and Vespers was sung without his presence. On Monday and Tuesday he ventured out, the weather at the time being wintry and dangerous. On Tuesday evening, at the annual meeting of the Men's Club, he made a most earnest address, commending the members for their faithfulness, and urging them to remain constant to the Cause of the Woman and Child, whose banner they had so lately unfurled. After the dispersion of the guests, he remained till a late hour in conversation with one of the members of the Club in a room which was gradually growing colder, and when a feeling of chilliness crept over him he took leave of his parishioner and returned to the Rectory. From that time it was plain that he was a victim of pneumonia, and during the next two days he suffered much from the pains of pleurisy. On Saturday morning the doctors recognized the severity of the case, and they resorted to the use of oxygen. The Rector, realizing his condition, said that he wished to make his final preparation, and sent for one of his curates, who heard his confession and administered Extreme Unction. During the rest of the day he seemed to be resting much more easily, and remarked that he hoped that God would take away his pain when he received his Communion on the following morning. The night was passed fairly comfortably, but on Sunday morning the danger became more apparent, and after the Children's Mass the Celebrant carried the Blessed Sacrament to the dying priest. Sunday was an anxious day for all. The congregation was informed that a crisis was at hand, and the music of the Mass was sung without the organ for fear of disturbing the patient. After Vespers a watch was established, and parishioners offered continual prayer that God might stay His Hand and save the Rector's life. When [156/157] the end did come it came with a mighty shock--few could believe that the strong and tender Father had been taken from them. The news, as it spread from mouth to mouth, for it was too late for the morning papers, seemed to stun the hearers. They began to arrive soon after, to find Requiem Masses said at every altar."

This simple record makes one thing abundantly clear: that it was by the power of love that Fr. Brown drew and held people to him. When one first begins to study his life and his career one wonders wherein his power lay. He was not a great preacher, nor a remarkable organizer, nor was he much concerned in cultivating the friendship of the rich nor in raising large sums of money. In these departments, the conventional aspirations of the successful rector, he was not outstanding; and yet he accomplished what probably no other man so circumstanced has ever done. Beginning as a young man, with small command of money, and no prominent backing, he created out of nothing a parish that within thirty years had become the acknowledged leader of the Catholic Movement in this country and one of the best-known Catholic churches in the world. Much has been said about his attractive personality, but as an explanation of his power and his achievements that is wholly inadequate. An attractive personality may draw people temporarily, but it will not hold them. There must be something else, something far deeper and more enduring.

With Fr. Brown it was love; the love that he had for others, flowed back, as it always does and always will, to him. His attractive personality and his fine physique may have attracted people to him but it was love that held them.

This little account shows that clearly. The tone of anxiety is for a loved one; the watch established by the parishioners was spontaneous, and sprang from their deep love of him who had so long been their "strong and tender Father."

All the Trustees, except Dr. Clarke, assembled in a Special Meeting on the day of Fr. Brown's death, the 19th December, 1898. The Minutes of this Meeting are badly written, short and staccato, and seem almost breathless. Reading them, one can imagine even more clearly than before, the shock that had come to these men who had met with Fr. Brown in the chair just seven days before and had discussed financial matters. How paltry it all must have seemed now; especially the rift over the $300.

[158] The first Resolution was to accept the invitation of the family to act as pallbearers. Then arrangements were made to draft suitable resolutions; and then a request was framed to the family, asking that the body "be placed before the High Altar all of Wednesday and until after the funeral on Thursday." The Reverend Dr. J. J. McCook was to be asked to preach a memorial sermon on Sunday, the 15th January. And lastly the Treasurer was directed to send to Mrs. Brown the Rector's salary for the month, "and also to pay all the funeral expenses," as well as those of the two doctors and the nurse.

On the following day all the Trustees except Dr. Clarke met again, to consider the affairs of the parish. "It was agreed to have the direction of the spiritual affairs of the parish for the time being in the joint care of Frs. Upjohn and Wallis, without priority or superiority. Fr. Upjohn was present and expressed himself as pleased with the arrangement."

Further preparations for the funeral were discussed and the following clergymen were invited to preach during the Sundays in January: The Reverend Thomas Richey, D.D., The Reverend Therdon Riley, D.D., The Reverend J. J. McCook, D.D., The Reverend George M. Christian, D.D. and the Reverend Arthur Ritchie.

The funeral was held on Thursday, the 22nd December, 1898. Again it would be easy to quote the long newspaper accounts but again it seems more appropriate to use the simple account prepared for the parishioners.


"On St. Thomas's Day, at twelve o'clock, the body of Father Brown was laid in a coffin of polished wood and brass and carried into the church, where it was placed in the nave before the High Altar. The bier was, of course, surrounded by the six mortuary lights, three on each side, and a table at the head held a crucifix and the dead priest's biretta. Flowers were placed from time to time by the faithful around the coffin. The body was clothed in purple eucharistic vestments; the hands held a chalice. From the time the body was placed in the church constant watch was kept by members of the Men's Guild, who recited the Psalter, their place being taken at six o'clock on the morning of the funeral by the parish Sisters of the Order of the Visitation. Large numbers of people of all ages and conditions passed into the church and joined in the devotions by day and by night. The pulpit and the rector's stall and confessional were draped in black.

[159] "At seven o'clock on Thursday the coffin was closed and covered with the pall and carried within the choir. The first requiem was then said. The funeral was at eleven o'clock. The city and harbor were covered with one of the densest fogs known for years, which interfered seriously with travel by rail and by boat. Nevertheless, the large church and all the chapels were crowded with people and many were unable to gain admittance. The crucifer was followed by the acolytes, the men and boys of the choir, the pall-bearers, the Reverend Arthur Ritchie, rector of the Church of St. Ignatius, the trustees, the'clergy; and at the end of the procession, Bishop Potter, attended by his chaplain, the Rev. P. A. H. Brown, and his deacons of honor, the Rev. Father Mason, senior curate of the parish, and the Rev. Doctor Batterson. The gallery choir sang Beethoven's De Profundis as the procession entered.

"The pall-bearers, nearly all of whom were present, were the following: the Revs. Arthur Ritchie, Arthur Mason, O. S. Prescott, Dr. G. McClellan Fiske, John S. Miller, Samuel F. Hotchkin, Dr. Thomas Richey, Dr. H. G. Batterson, P. A. H. Brown, Dr. Morgan Dix, Dr. John W. Brown, John H. Knowles, Jr., Dr. T. M. Riley, F. W. Braithwaite, Robert Ritchie, Daniel I. Odell, A. L. Wood, George C. Betts, and Dr. A. G. Mortimer.

Many clergy were in the nave among the congregation; the following were in the procession and took seats in the choir: Revs. John Keller, J. J. McCook, E. D. Copper, D.D., Canon Bryan, G. H. Sharpley, F. A. Sanborn, F. E. Mortimer, J. Malcolm Smith, James G. Cameron, Bishop Faulkner, C. W. De Lyon Nichols, P. C. Pyle, Wm. E. Johnson, J. B. Sill, E. G. Clifton, George Wm. Lincoln, Charles H. Kidder, Thomas P. Hughes, D.D., Clayton Eddy, E. L. Jenner, Augustine Elmendorf, E. B. Young, G. E. Magill, J. G. Ewens, George W. Eccles, Daniel F. Warren, D.D., H. H. Oberly, Newland Maynard, D.D., J. T. Matthews, C. L. Biggs, Charles E. Freeman, F. E. Bissell, R. B. Post, Wm. S. Boardman, H. M. Barbour, J. N. Steele, Mus. D., Alban Richey, J. T. Patey, D.D., J. W. Hill, Wm. M. Picksley, Edward Heim, R. M. Berkeley, John Williams, Charles H. Mead, W. W. Bellinger, W. H. Weeks, A. Alexander, James H. Smith, Charles Wm. Turner, James H. McCandless, E. B. Nash, A. G. Wilson, E. R. Armstrong, H. O. Ladd, Charles L. Steel, Charles P. Armstrong, R. D. Pope, G. W. McMullin, Isaac Maguire, F. M. Clendenin, D. D., Wm. F. Lewis, F. W. Davis, R. C. Hall, D.D., L.N. Booth, H. D. Jones, H. C. Bishop, Wm. H. Barnes, Floyd E. West, R. M. Kemp, T. J. Crosby, George C. Houghton, D.D., Parker Morgan, D.D., Fr. Sargent, O.H.C., Fr. Huntington, O.H.C., Fr. Langmore, S.S.J.E., and Brother Gilbert, Superior O.B.N.

"The Burial Office was said by the Reverend Arthur Ritchie, of St. Ignatius Church; the Psalm, 'Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge,' being sung antiphonally by the chancel and gallery choirs.

[160] "The following is a list of those who assisted at the service:

"The Celebrant: Rev. E. A. Larrabee, of the Church of the Ascension, Chicago.

"Deacon: Rev. J. A. Staunton, Jr., of St. James's, Cleveland, Ohio, formerly a curate of the parish.

"Sub-Deacon: Rev. G. L. Wallis, of the Parish.

"Master of Ceremonies: Rev. R. R. Upjohn, a curate of the parish, assisted by H. C. Staunton.

"Servers: H. K. Trask and H. D. Storer.

"Crucifers: Frank Black and DeForrest Bostwick.

"Vergers: George Heckroth and Herbert Mitchell.

"Thurifer: Charles Bostwick.

"Navicularius: E. S. Gorham, Jr.

"Bishop Potter sang the Absolution in the Mass from his throne at the right of the altar, and also gave the Benediction at the close. The music was under the direction of Dr. George B. Prentice, the organist of the church, and was sung by the choirs of the church in the West Gallery and chancel, reinforced by former members, both singers and instrumentalists. The music of the Mass was as follows:

"Introit--Requiem AEternam Wilcox

"Kyrie Eleison (a capella) Prentice

"Sequence-Dies Irae Dykes

"Offertory Anthem--'Blest are the Departed'........Spohr

"Sanctus Wilcox

"Agnus Dei Wilcox

"Hymn--'O Saving Victim' Uglow

"Hymn--'Days and Moments Quickly Flying' Dykes

"After the Mass came the Absolution of the Dead, sung by Father Larrabee. At the close of the service the college fraternity of which Father Brown was a member, the Delta Psi, marched in a body past the bier and deposited bits of evergreen upon the coffin, this being a part of the funeral ceremonies of the fraternity. The Funeral March of Beethoven was played as the procession of priests left the chancel.

"The burial was in Greenwood Cemetery, and the office at the grave was said by the Rev. Professor McCook of Trinity College."

Christmas fell on Sunday, and the pulpit at High Mass that day was filled by The Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter, D.D., Bishop of New York.

The Trustees had to convene again on the 29th, when the resignation of Fr. Upjohn was laid before them. No reason is given for this [160/161] action, but there must have been a weighty one, as he had been present at the Meeting of the 20th, and had then accepted a responsible share in the work and direction of the Parish, which he now resigned, and specified that his resignation was to take effect on the 31st December. It was accepted, and the Trustees thereupon passed one of the resolutions in which their sense of responsibility and the Secretary's love of Elizabethan literature are curiously blended: "It was moved and seconded that the spiritualities of the parish be plated in the hands of Rev. Guy L. Wallis with the understanding that the services and other matters of detail in the parish shall go on as under the late Rector, without change."

Fr. Starr was nominated to assist temporarily, and being agreeable to Fr. Wallis, was confirmed.

The matter of calling a rector was discussed, and the Trustees gave favorable consideration to the names of the Reverend George M'Clellan Fiske, D.D., of Providence, Rhode Island, and the Reverend W. B. Frisby, of the Church of the Advent, Boston. Dr. Fiske, who was not related either to the Treasurer of St. Mary's or the Bishop of that name, was probably the most prominent Catholic rector in New England, and it was almost inevitable that his name should have come up for consideration.

It is pleasant to learn from the records of this Meeting that the expenses incurred by Fr. Larrabee and Fr. Staunton in coming to Fr. Brown's funeral were borne by the Corporation.

The Reverend J. J. McCook acted as a kind of adviser to the Parish during these trying days and in the course of his correspondence with the two leading Trustees asked them to set down their estimates of the late Rector. As the letters they write him in reply to this request give probably the soundest appraisals of Fr. Brown extant, it seems fitting to include them here.

"From Mr. Beverly Chew, of the Trustees.
37 Wall Street, New York, January 4, 1899.

"My dear Professor McCook:

"Mr. Fiske tells me that you would like me to state what, in my opinion, were Father Brown's most pronounced characteristics and the chief elements of his power and success.

[162] "In my own case, and I know in that of my late wife, we were drawn to St. Mary's not so much by its music and ritual as by the strong personality of Father Brown. After once knowing him and feeling the influence of his attractive nature, everything in the way of high ritual seemed easy and natural. I am quite convinced that it was his strong personality that was the first cause of so many being drawn within the influence of the Church. In very many cases he made his first visits to people, whom he slightly knew, when they were in trouble. He was particularly sympathetic, and never failed at such times to make warm friends of those who were before mere acquaintances.

"He had an immense capacity and ability for continued work which was another element of his success. He never spared himself; was always ready to assist anyone in trouble, or to perform whatever duties of his priestly office he might be asked to do, and that in many cases by people who had no claim whatever upon his time or attention. In this way his work as a priest extended far beyond his Parish. This was true in the early days of St. Mary's, and was much more so as the years went on.

"Again, he had faith in his work and never for a moment considered it was possible that it could fail. This was so even when the affairs of the Parish were really in a critical condition. This great faith seems at the last to have enabled him to overcome all the hard feelings and suspicions with which he and his work were regarded by many.

"I regret that in the hurry and excitement of these times, and the dazed condition which the calamity of dear Father Brown's death has brought upon us, I can do no more than give you a feeble expression of some of the thoughts that must come to one who knew Father Brown and had been so long associated with him. I feel that his death is a great loss to the Church at large, as well as to his own people.

"With kind regards, believe me,

"Faithfully yours,

"Beverly Chew.

"To Rev. J. J. McCook."

"From Mr. Fiske, of the Trustees.

"New York, January 3, 1899.

"The Rev. J. J. McCook, Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.

"My dear Professor McCook: If I were asked to state the chief admirable characteristics of the late Father Brown, I would enumerate three:

"First: Courage, moral and physical. It seems easy now to carry on church work upon the lines which he laid down; but you know it was a very different story twenty-eight years ago. Opposition had no [162/163] effect upon him. I think his was, in fact, a character which opposition simply made more determined. A more insidious weapon against many men than mere opposition is ridicule. This had absolutely no effect upon him. I think a good deal of fun was formerly made of the ritualistic clergy. I do not think it ever swerved him a hair's breadth from the line which he laid down for himself. This element of courage made him naturally a leader; and I think he was easily a foremost leader in matters of ritual, and that he made St. Mary's the standard church in such matters among the Catholic party.' And he was progressive. Years are apt to make a man more conservative, and he is apt to grow timid at the advances of the younger generation. This was not true of Father Brown, who became more advanced in matters of ritual the older he grew.

"Second: Tact. He never got into any controversy with the diocesan authorities. He accepted suggestions from Bishop Horatio Potter, which did not involve any sacrifice of principles, but which saved the Bishop from criticism at a time of turmoil. In dealing with his flock and with his people this same quality of tact was displayed; so that I think he was one of the most popular men, among the people and the clergy and the public, in the diocese of New York.

"Third: A magnetic personality. When he chose to exert himself, he was simply irresistible with either men or women. Many people loved him who did not agree with him, and even opposed him. As you know, this is a peculiar quality which cannot be analyzed, but is given to some men by nature; and I do not think, if not so given, it is ever acquired. Father Brown had it in high degree, and in many ways he cultivated it. One of the lines in which he used this quality most was his pastoral relations, especially with people who were in trouble or affliction. I never knew a man who was so successful in dealing with such people and who endeared himself so much by his words and manner and that nameless sympathetic quality which often does not need words to express itself. It made him with many people almost an idol.

"I have sent your letter to Mr. Chew, without comment, and write this without his seeing it.

"Very truly yours,

"Haley Fiske."

Numerous Resolutions on the death of Fr. Brown were adopted about this time by organizations within and outside the Parish, and they throw much light on his remarkable ability to get on with various sorts of people, some of whom were widely separated from him in religious beliefs. All are well-worth reading, but a few will have to suffice.


"Whereas, Since the last regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Society of the Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin, it has pleased Almighty God to take from us the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, the President of this Board, the Trustees, on motion, unanimously carried, now record the following minute expressive of their deep sense of the loss that has come upon them:

"Father Brown was the organizer of this corporation and the Founder of the Parish. For nearly thirty years he was a member of this Board, fulfilling his duties with a faithfulness only equalled by his untiring devotion to the spiritual welfare of the Parish. As a priest he was always firm and fearless in the Catholic faith, loyal to the Church, and at peace with his Bishop. Strong in his conviction that Catholic doctrines and principles were the natural heritage of our Church, it was his life work to inculcate and to exemplify them by means of services and ritual, which, whether ornate or plain, were always dignified and inspiring. Though full of zeal, he was never a zealot. By moderation and tact he accomplished his work without sacrificing his principle or receding from his position. This work remains as an everlasting memorial to a life well spent. His personality was felt by all with whom he came in contact. Firm, yet tender, his nature was responsive and sympathetic. A loving and devoted friend to the poor and afflicted, he was ever ready to minister to their wants, sparing neither his time nor strength, but with a cheerfulness that was unusual, brightened the gloom of sorrow and trouble.

"He departed this life on the nineteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight.

"Grant him, O Lord, eternal rest,
And may light perpetual shine upon him. Amen."


"Inasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God in His wisdom to take to Himself our beloved Pastor and Superior, the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown,

"Resolved, That we, the members of St. Mary's Guild, desire to record the deep sorrow and sense of loss which we feel in our bereavement; that, permitted as we have been to share in the works of the [164/165] Parish from its very beginning, and having enjoyed the great privilege of being co-laborers with one who will ever be held in our hearts and minds as a faithful and true Shepherd, we wish also to express our gratitude to Almighty God for the loving and untiring ministrations of our Superior to each member of the Guild.

"'Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord,
And may Light perpetual shine upon him'."


"The recent death of the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown is indeed a bereavement to this association, inasmuch as it deprives us of the genial presence and wise counsel of one of its original and most valuable members.

"All who knew Father Brown loved him. His splendid physique, his dignified bearing and his serious, kindly face, attracted the attention even of the strangers.

"We who knew him well saw behind all this the manly and yet tender soul. We might disagree with him, yet we loved him none the less; perhaps we loved him all the more for the graciousness and sympathy with which he maintained his own distinctive position. We certainly knew that at the bottom of all our differences there was an essential agreement in Faith, Hope, and Love.

"Father Brown was an earnest and devoted follower of Christ and a tireless priest in His Church.

"His parishioners and a multitude of the poor will lament a faithful pastor, a great comforter, and a dear friend.

"To his Parish and to his bereaved family we offer our profound sympathy.

"May God grant him all felicity and blessedness in His Heavenly Kingdom. Amen."


"The New York Association of the Alumni of Trinity College records its deep sense of the loss which the Association and the College [165/166] have sustained in the death of the Rev. Thomas McKee Brown, and expresses its high appreciation of his noble character.

"H. H. Oberly, Chairman,
"(Signed) William E. Curtiss,
"Robert Thorne,

Resolutions were also adopted by Associates of the Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Men's Guild, Guild of All Souls, The Choirs of St. Mary's, New York Catholic Club, Massachusetts Catholic Club, and Church of the Transfiguration, New York.


A Special Meeting was held the 5th January, 1899, to authorize the publication of "a statement covering the relations of the Trustees to the Order of the Visitation, with a full financial report for the last three years." This statement was to be transmitted to the Associates at their next meeting, which evidently was to come before the regular January Meeting of the Trustees. The Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded by Fr. Brown, and it may have been that such a statement was necessitated by his death.

Being assembled, although not at the usual time, the Trustees authorized the same appropriations as last year for music, the sexton and labor, and replaced Dr. Prentice's salary at the figure it had been before the 5% reduction of the previous January. Of the four who had been affected by that strange economy, he alone remained: Fr. Brown was dead, and Frs. Staunton and Upjohn had resigned.

At the Meeting of the 13th January the Trustees were confronted with certain problems which had heretofore been within the jurisdiction of the Rector, but which they were now obliged to determine. They decided to omit the 6:30 and 8 o'clock masses during February, and to have, during Lent, Litany with an address on Wednesday evenings, the Stations with an address on Friday evenings, and Choral Evensong with an address on all other evenings. This would seem to be an ambitious program under the circumstances, and appears to indicate that more parishioners lived near the Church than is now the case. It is also a reminder of the change in costs to learn that $100 was appropriated [166/167] for the music of these Choral Vespers. A Requiem Mass for "the Month's mind for our late Rector" was to be sung on the 19th, and $75 was appropriated for the music.

"Bowen W. Pierson submitted the Resolution on the death of the late Rector, which was adopted and ordered printed in The Arrow, and a copy engrossed for presentation to the family." (It appears on a previous page.)

Fr. Armstrong was temporarily appointed a Curate at this Meeting.

Permission was given to the Associates of the Order of St. Mary to use St. Joseph's Hall without charge for a series of morning lectures.

The following item is of sufficient interest to be included here in full: "Resolved that the Trustees propose as a memorial to the late Rector a carved altar tomb to be placed in the space occupied by the confessional used by Fr. Brown; and adopt in its general features the design made by J. Massey Rhind, as shown in the rough model this day exhibited."

It would be futile to deny that at the time of his death, some friction existed between Fr. Brown and the Trustees, but this action, taken within a month of his passing, proves that, as far as they were concerned, the Trustees had reverted, as people often do at the time of death, to the earlier and happier days, and that their temporary dissatisfaction had been swallowed up in their permanent admiration and affection.

The record of the Meeting of the 21st January is especially interesting to us as it contains the name of Mr. E. S. Gorham, who had received certain letters about possible candidates for rector, which he had forwarded to the Board.

The Reverend Dr. Mortimer, who was to deliver a lecture before the Church Club on the 13th February, wrote to ask that certain vestments be lent him to use as illustrations. This seems to have brought up the question of ownership of some of the Vestments used in St. Mary's, and Dr. Prentice was requested to consult with Mrs. Brown before replying to the Church Club.

Both Dr. M'Cook and Dr. Riley returned the cheques which had been given them on the occasions of their preaching in the Church, and the disposition of these sums is a small example of the odd financial arrangements which are occasionally met with in the records. The $50 returned by Dr. M'Cook was credited to the "Fr. Brown Memorial Fund" and the $25 returned by Dr. Riley to the "Envelopes for 1898."

[168] Bishop Scarborough of New Jersey and others had written to recommend candidates for the vacant Rectorship, and the Executive Committee, composed of the Secretary and Treasurer, were authorized "to consider candidates and consult them if it is deemed expedient."

The Committee prosecuted its researches so promptly that three days later, on the 24th January, 1899, it was able to report to the Board the result of a visit to Dr. Christian. In consequence of this report the following action was taken: "Resolved that a call to the Rectorship of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin be extended to the Rev. George M. Christian, D.D. of Grace Church, Newark, N. J. at an annual salary of five thousand dollars and the use of the Rectory."

This orthodox Minute is immediately followed by one which is perhaps unique in the annals of any parish, and which certainly deserves to be preserved. It was unanimously adopted.

"Resolved that while this call is unconditional, and the Trustees are far from desiring to hamper in any way the absolute freedom of the Rector in case he should accept, yet the Trustees think it only proper to point out that St. Mary's has two traditional characteristics which they think it would be well to preserve: first it has had not only the best music in the American Church, but it has had music adapted to Catholic ritual in Mass and Vespers. Second, it has from the first furnished a standard of ritual for the American Church. It has avoided the excesses of the modern Roman rite, but has exemplified substantially the ancient Catholic ritual, though not to extremes, yet always in good taste. The Trustees desire to have St. Mary's maintain its traditions and remain the Mecca for Catholics on this continent. This resolution is designed as an expression of opinion by the Trustees, but is not designed to hamper the liberty, or curtail the rights of a future Rector."

Upon first reading this remarkable pronouncement, one is apt to attribute it to an unusually outspoken egotism. But such an attribution would probably be most unjust. Some of the Trustees were men of modesty to a marked degree, and it is quite inconceivable that the Secretary would have subscribed to any assertion that he considered to be in the least self-laudatory. The true explanation of this declaration, by which it is quite obvious the Trustees expected the new Rector to be guided, would seem to be that these men considered St. Mary's to have been founded, under God, through the instrumentality of Fr. Brown, [168/169] and that all she was, and all she had, and all she stood for, were a sacred trust, of which they were in the very fullest sense trustees. Her traditions were part of her possessions and therefore part of their legacy in trust; and in calling the prospective rector's attention to her traditions they were doing no more than in naming his salary. Each matter became, under these new conditions, a duty devolving upon the Trustees, and they strove to discharge each faithfully and frankly.

One cannot resist the conviction, however, that if a copy of this resolution accompanied the call the rector in prospect would be justified in believing that his Trustees would not be altogether "rubber stamps", but men who, right or wrong, would have to be reckoned with.

Affairs in the Parish had so far calmed down by February as to allow the Regular Meeting to be held on the proper day. The invariable barometer of the activity and anxiety of the Board was the number of Meetings held at which the ratification of the Minutes of the previous Meeting was postponed. Upon this occasion the Minutes of no less than eight meetings were confirmed and approved.

A letter was read from Dr. Christian accepting the call to the Rectorship, and he was thereupon elected a Trustee, to fill the vacancy created by the death of Fr. Brown. When this had been done, with the usual formalities, Dr. Christian was nominated and elected President of the Board. These proceedings were not then, nor are they now, in any sense empty forms, for the authority of the Minister in charge of St. Mary's in the temporal affairs of the Parish rests upon his prerogatives as President of the Corporation.

At this Meeting a letter from Mrs. Brown was read, offering certain oil paintings to the Church. They were accepted with thanks, but the positions they were to occupy were not to be determined until the new Rector took charge.

Dr. Prentice reported the outcome of his consultations with Mrs. Brown, and the result was that the following vestments were listed as "said to be the property of the Corporation": one violet cope, one cloth of gold cope and two white copes; of Eucharistic Vestments, one blue High Mass set, and one blue Low Mass set, two violet Low Mass sets, one red set for High Mass and three red sets for Low Mass, one black High Mass set, and one white set for High Mass. It will be noticed that no reference is made in this list to any green vestments. [169/170] This was due to the fact that in Fr. Brown's day--how natural that phrase had already become although Fr. Brown was not yet two months dead--there were no green vestments at St. Mary's. In churches dedicated to Our Lady the ferial color is properly blue, and the ancient and traditional color had been adhered to until the advent of Dr. Christian. Let us hope the day is not far distant when the color we derive from our dedication will be restored and the ancient usage reestablished at St. Mary's.

Two days later, on the 16th February, 1899, the Trustees again assembled, and at this Meeting, for the first time, Dr. Christian took the chair as President.

As might be expected no very complicated business was transacted. Miss Fanshawe was given permission to place a brass cross on the wall of the Church near the Lady Chapel as a memorial to her parents. The appropriations, which had already been authorized, were again discussed. They had been restored to the proportions of former years, excluding the last, and presented no feature worth recording except the item of $1,000 to Mrs. Brown. No explanation accompanies this, but it was to pay the doctor's and nurse's bills.

The total of the appropriations for 1899, as finally approved, amounted to $23,170, while that for 1898 was $22,080, and for 1897 was $22,700; so that the period of economy did not last very long. What a cause for regret that it came just when it did.

By the Regular Meeting of the 13th March the Board and its President were working smoothly together, and consideration of the more customary matters of routine was resumed. The Auditing Committee, in reporting the correctness of the Treasurer's books, recommended that he open a separate account for "Stationery and Printing." This was one of the natural results of a change of Rectors, for that event invariably brings the printing bill into prominence. The Treasurer reported that the cost of the card in the Hotel Church Directory had been increased from $15 to $20 a year. Increases in the cost of church operation have not been brought about entirely by the War.

The matter of the Altar tomb memorial to Fr. Brown had been taken up with some of the Parish Organizations, and a letter was received from St. Mary's Guild announcing the adoption of the plan. [170/171] They and the Men's Guild were requested to appoint committees to solicit subscriptions in conjunction with the Trustees.

Tammany Hall again made a donation of $50 and this time without discussion it was turned over to the Rector to be expended as he thought best.

Mrs. Searles had contributed $800 as a memorial, and it had been paid into the New Reredos Fund. As there, was still no prospect of the new reredos's being erected, Mrs. Searles had written to request that the money be withdrawn from that fund and applied to some other form of memorial. Brass Altar candlesticks having been suggested, and Mr. and Mrs. Searles having approved, the matter was referred to the Rector with power.

Arnold and Locke submitted alternative designs for the three windows to be put in St. Elizabeth's Hall, and after consideration design "B" was chosen and the work was ordered to be carried out under the supervision of the Rector.

The most important action at this Meeting was the inauguration of the system of giving the collection from High Mass on one Sunday in each month to the Rector as a Poor Fund. This has since been incorporated in the Canons of the Church and is now obligatory, but it was begun at St. Mary's before the Canon had been adopted.

Arrangements were made to hold a special evening service in May to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Thomas M. Prentice's connection with the music of the parish. It must surely be rare for two brothers to serve the same church simultaneously for so many years.

The first official record of the Certificate of a candidate for Holy Orders coming before the Board, occurs in the Minutes of the April Meeting, when the Rector presented the recommendation of Scott Kidder, which was duly signed.

There were several references to the Summer Home at Great Neck, one of which has to do with the placing of insurance upon the buildings in the sum of $4,000, $2,500 of which was payable to the Church as the holder of the mortgage. The arrangement then existing, whereby the Sisters operated the Home, and were its nominal owners, with the Corporation finding most of the money for its support, must have involved a good deal of complicated book-keeping. The means of reaching the Home from the main road was also under discussion at this [171/172] time, and the Rector and Treasurer were constituted a committee with power to devise some way to accomplish this.

The memorial volume, containing the account of Fr. Brown's death and the sermons preached in St. Mary's shortly afterward, which had been published by E. & J. B. Young & Co., to whom the Trustees had made over the copyrights of the sermons, seems not to have met with their entire approval, for they declined to subscribe to the book.

They were, however, appreciative of the efforts of the Choir, and voted $100 to be expended, under the direction of Dr. Prentice, "for such form of entertainment as may be most agreeable to the Choir."

Dr. Kate Sterling offered to contribute $25 to $30 for a ciborium for the Reserved Sacrament as a memorial to Fr. Brown, and the offer was accepted with thanks.

As an indication of the change in the location of residences which was then beginning, the Treasurer reported that it was found impossible to obtain the former rental of $3,500 for the house at 29 West 25th Street, and he was authorized to close a lease with Mrs. Hazard at $3,300.

The Rector nominated the Reverend John Adams Linn as curate of the Parish, and the nomination was confirmed.

Either the brilliant preaching of Dr. Christian, or the recovery from the disorder of the Spanish American War, was having a beneficial effect upon the income of the Church, and the Treasurer was able to report "a gratifying increase in the pledges which are now 251 in number and amount pledged $6,701.75". Neither of these figures would seem especially gratifying to us now, but they marked the high point up to that time.

A graceful and gracious Resolution was passed, which it seems fitting to preserve here: "This Board reminded by the commemoration at the Church last evening (7th May, 1899) that the Conductor of the Choir, Thomas M. Prentice, has completed twenty-five years of continuous service to the Parish, desires to place upon record and to communicate to Mr. Prentice its appreciation of the faithful unselfish service he has rendered to St. Mary's, and of the high standard of execution brought about by his efforts, which has made our music so favorably known throughout the American Church and to express the hope that the Director and Organist, Dr. George B. Prentice, and the [172/173] Conductor will long be spared to carry on together the great work they have established."

The first mention of the changes which Dr. Christian made in the services and conduct of the Chancel appears in the Minutes of the Meeting of the 12th June, when "The action of the Treasurer in paying for red cassocks and linen vestments was ratified and approved".

Two High Masses were formally made annual fixtures among the services of St. Mary's: one "on the anniversary of the death of Sara L. Cooke benefactress of the Parish", and one "on the 19th of December in memory of the Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, late Rector".

The position of the altar tomb memorial to Fr. Brown was definitely determined, and the space between the two columns opposite the Rector's Confessional was selected.

The Summer Home was not to be opened this season, and Dr. Christian, who had recently visited it for the first time, expressed the opinion that the property might be damaged if left empty all summer. This suggestion coincided with the request of Fr. Cameron of the Church of the Holy Cross to be allowed to use the Home for the choir boys and acolytes of his parish. The request was granted "on the pledge of keeping the property safe and in good order".

When the Board reconvened after the summer recess, on the 16th October, the resignation of Dr. Edward H. Clarke was presented and accepted with regret. He was the oldest Trustee in length of service, having been elected in October, 1871, but his resignation cannot have come as a surprise, for he had not been able to attend a meeting for some years. His withdrawal left Beverly Chew the oldest Trustee, he having been elected in 1876, sixteen years before Pierson and Fiske.

A curious instance of the greater responsibility toward others which the pressure of urban life has forced upon us appears in the records of the November Meeting, when "a proposal to insure the Church against any loss or suit for damages that might occur through accidents happening on any property owned by the Corporation, at a cost of $75 per annum", was declined. This seems to have been an early example of liability insurance, which is now considered to be such a matter of course that it is carried without comment--but not at a cost of $75 a year, unfortunately.

A distinguished name in the annals of St. Mary's appears for the [173/174] first time, when "Dr. Prentice, Mr. Daingerfield and Dr. Symonds were appointed" delegates to represent the Parish in the Archdeaconry of the Diocese. Mr. Elliott Daingerfield was to place the Church under a great artistic debt to him some five years later and was in due time to become a Trustee, which happily he still is, but even in these earlier days he was a prominent and respected parishioner.

At the last Meeting of the year, held the 12th December, Mrs. Brown offered "to the Church the Communion service presented to our late Rector on the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Church, and requested that it be held as a memorial of her husband our first Rector". It is unnecessary to say that the gift was gratefully accepted, and that it is still used on the larger Festivals, and is amongst the most prized possessions of St. Mary's. It has already been described at length in some of the newspaper accounts of the opening of the new Church.

"On motion the Treasurer was directed to distribute pro rata the contingent salary account for 1898." Such is the record that immediately follows that of Mrs. Brown's gift. It refers, of course, to the proviso made at the time the salaries were reduced that the deductions would be made up if and when the finances permitted. It was possible now to pay a part of what had been withheld, but in the case of the late Rector the amount was paid to his widow.

For the first time blank pledges were distributed through the Church with the programmes on the last Sunday of the year.

The Rector nominated the Reverend S. McPherson to be one of the curates, and the Reverend George H. Hooper to be honorary curate, and both were confirmed by the Board.


The first Meeting of 1900 was held, as usual, in the Treasurer's office, 1 Madison Avenue, the 22nd January, at 4:30, which had been for some time, and was to remain for many years, the regular hour. The first business of every January Meeting is to fix the appropriations for the current year. They amounted to $23,230, which was $60 more than those for 1899. For several years after the move, the Church's receipts and disbursements stood very close to the figure of $23,000.

After numerous conferences with the experts in such matters, the Trustees voted to install "a new apparatus for lighting the gas in the [174/175] church by electric current at a cost of $305". This was considered to be and was a great improvement, but the apparatus were not entirely reliable, and the old means of lighting the gas had to be resorted to frequently.

At this time a contract was entered into with J. Massey Rhind for the monument to Fr. Brown, although the contributions from the parishioners and the public amounted as yet to only $490.

In the latter part of this winter the organ began to give trouble, and an examination disclosed several breakages. Hutchins, and Ryder, and Harrison made inspections of it, but it was some time before satisfactory arrangements could be made for the necessary repairs. It would, of course, be most unfair now to criticize the Trustees for failing to put a new organ in the new Church, as they were faced at that time with tremendous outlays of money and were trying to save wherever they could. But it is undeniable, nevertheless, that this supposed economy has proved to be St. Mary's greatest extravagance. Considerably more than half the organ was second hand and had already seen hard service when the present church opened; it was too small, and various stops had to be grafted on to make it at all adequate; and the combination of the new and the old parts caused trouble from the very beginning and continues to do so to this day. Within four years of the opening of the new church a substantial sum of money had to be spent to repair the organ, and every year since it has cost considerable to keep it in running order. The organ is practically the only major accessory of the Church of which the congregation need feel ashamed. It is curious to consider this when one remembers that the music of St. Mary's is one of its outstanding features, and has been from the earliest days. At present the Altar, the Chancel and its attendants, the vestments, the Chapels and their appointments, the whole interior of the Church, with its decorations, the singers and instrumentalists of the choir are as fine perhaps as those of any church in the country; but the organ, which is the most important material feature of every High Celebration, is distinctly fifth rate, and wholly inadequate. It has, moreover, cost enough in the past thirty years to have put in a splendid instrument. Unfortunately while the Corporation has been able to raise the necessary funds annually for repairs, it has not been possible to get together at one time enough to install a new and competent organ. When this [175/176] can be done, the Choir, for the first time since the new church was opened, will be properly supported, and the music what it should be.

Work had been progressing on the Altar Tomb Memorial to Fr. Brown, and at the time of the May Meeting, J. Massey Rhind had done so much of the carving as to warrant a payment to him of $1,000. Plans by Le Brun for the base of the memorial were exhibited and approved. The design of the tablet which the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament wished to erect to the memory of Fr. Brown was also shown and approved. The position designated for it was "on the Gospel side of the Nave near the entrance door of the Choir". This applies to the large door back of the Pulpit, which was formerly used by the men and boys of the choir, who had vested in the rooms back of St. Joseph's Hall, the men on the ground floor, and the boys in the room above, which is reached by the small spiral stairs. In the days of which we are now writing there were two processions: one of the Choir from their vesting-rooms and one of the Priests and Acolytes from the Sacristies.

The sketch of the proposed memorial tablet to Alice Edna Troutman was presented, and was approved with certain changes suggested by the Rector.

At this Meeting the resignation of Fr. McPherson was accepted with regret.

Mrs. Brown offered to the Church all the vestments which had been used by the late Rector, and they were accepted with thanks. This would seem to have been such a logical, such an almost inevitable dis-osition to make of the vestments that had become inseparably connected with St. Mary's, that one wonders a little why it was delayed for eighteen months.

For the first time there is a record this year of a special appropriation (of $90) for music at the great festivals which occur in June. $100 was also appropriated for the annual Choir festival and outing; and the thanks of the board, together with the more substantial testimonial of a set of drums, were given to Mr. Chatter for his long and faithful services in the Choir.

One of the ambiguously brief notices sounds almost like a corollary to this graceful action, when we read in the record of the next Meeting, that "the Treasurer was authorized to pay Mr. Chatter's bill of $75 for cartage". Where could he have sent the drums to run up such a [176/177] cartage bill? Or was it something else that was being carted somewhere? The Minutes kept by Beverly Chew are less obscure than those of his predecessor, but still there appears from time to time an entry that seems capable of solution only by divination. It may also be said, in this connection, that while the then Secretary's chirography is what an enthusiastic lady admirer described as "distinguished" it sometimes leaves words that are isolated from their context enveloped in considerable mystery. This occasionally involves the would-be decipherer in unpleasant uncertainty, and is peculiarly trying with reference to the nomenclature. But all such considerations give place to a feeling of sincere admiration for the loyalty and steadfastness that led a man of such commercial and artistic prominence to write by his own hand every word of the hundreds of pages that make up the records of so many years. While Beverly Chew was Secretary he was also distinguished in half a dozen other exacting activities, and was one of the foremost bibliophiles in the world. One of the most inscrutable differences between our fathers and ourselves was their ability to accomplish so much with small aids in comparison to what we accomplish with our so much greater facilities. Perhaps we have surrounded ourselves with so much machinery for doing things that its management leaves us time for little else than its direction.

By the 12th November, 1900, the Altar tomb Memorial to Fr. Brown was completed, and at the Meeting held that day, it was decided to issue invitations to the unveiling and the Solemn Requiem Mass to be celebrated on the 19th.

At this time the Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary disbanded and the title to its property on Little Neck, Huntington, Suffolk County, Long Island, passed to the Corporation. This Order had been founded by Fr. Brown in the early days of the Parish, and would seem to have existed under a somewhat loose business constitution, until "The Guardians of the Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary" were incorporated, the 8th December, 1888. The objects, as set forth in the Articles of Incorporation were: "the care and relief of the sick and needy and fallen, the education of the young, and all other works of mercy and charity for both bodily and spiritual relief incidental to and connected with the before mentioned objects, which shall be executed and carried into effect (so far as may be [177/178] practicable) by and through the personal and gratuitous labors and efforts of Christian Women, communicants of that branch of the Holy Catholic Church known in the United States as the Protestant Episcopal Church, wholly devoting themselves thereto, associated under the name of 'The Order of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary' and in connection with the Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin in the City of New York, and under the Patronage and Supervision of the Rector of said Church and his successors in said office."

The incorporators were Thomas McKee Brown, Fannie Elizabeth Hunter, James Burt, Haley Fiske and John Alexander Beall. Meetings were to be quarterly, but seem actually to have been held about once in two years. By Laws were framed, and changed, and the Minutes of the Guardians were commenced on an elaborate scale; but difficulties soon arose on the subject of the funds which had been collected and which Mother Francesca declined to account for or turn over to the Guardians. Miss Hunter appears to have supported Mother Francesca, and resigned, rather more acrimoniously than now seems desirable. Beverly Chew was elected to fill her place, and the Guardians "rubbed on somehow", as the saying is. That all was not satisfactory is plain from the fact that Haley Fiske sent in his resignation. Although it was not accepted, his tendering it is significant.

On the 20th January, 1899, he rendered his report--he was both Treasurer and Secretary of the Guardians--covering the period since the 30th September, 1896, in which we note the names of Sister Mary Maude, the present Reverend Mother of the Community of St. Mary (as it is called in the records), and Sister Mary Angela.

On the 12th December, 1899, Dr. Christian, who had become President of the Guardians in succession of Fr. Brown, "reported that the Sisters of the Visitation had disbanded the Order and entered the Community of St. Mary, and that it was not his intention as Rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin to continue the Order or to have a parochial Sisterhood."

Early in 1900 the necessary legal proceedings were instituted to dissolve the corporation, and turn over the real property to St. Mary's, which already held a mortgage upon it The matter was concluded before the end of the year, and by December The Order of the Visitation [178/179] of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its incorporated Guardians had ceased to exist.

It would perhaps not be fair to hold Dr. Christian solely responsible for this outcome, but there can be no doubt that his genius did not lie in organization nor in the amalgamation of discordant elements into an harmonious whole to anything like the same extent as had his predecessor's.

Throughout the whole existence of the Guardians, John Alexander Beall rendered consistently faithful and devoted service. It was he who completed the final transfer of the Summer Home to the Corporation, and for this he received the thanks of the Board.

At the Annual Meeting, the 10th December, 1900, Dr. Christian nominated the Reverend V. C. Lacey and the Reverend L. A. Lanpher as curates "to hold their positions during the pleasure of the Rector". That may be the correct technical definition, but it is extremely doubtful if Fr. Brown would have used it. Fr. Lines and Fr. Hooper continued as curates, the latter in an honorary capacity.

Today we should feel that no special arrangements need be made for the care of an electric motor, but thirty years ago it was looked upon differently, and the "Treasurer was authorized to make a contract with the Western Electric Company to take care of the electrical parts of our organs."

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