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.


The appropriations for the year 1901, which were determined at the January Meeting, were practically the same as for the previous year, except that that for music was increased from $5,400 to $6,000. The general financial outlook seems to have been brighter, however, for an expenditure of $157.75 was made for material for cassocks; and $650.59 for repairs to the Clergy house. The total appropriation of $23,930 was $700 more than the preceding year. A vote of thanks was tendered "to the Treasurer for his able and careful management of the Church finances". This was no doubt well deserved, but it is also true that the brilliant preaching of the Rector was having its effect in attracting larger congregations and consequently increasing the size of the collections.

At the Meeting held the 8th April, the Board gave its permission [179/180] to place a tablet in the Church in memory of the Rector's son, and the Treasurer was authorized to select a suitable place.

Permission was also granted to Haley Fiske "to beautify and improve the Lady Chapel on plans to be approved by the Rector, the architect and Mr. Chew".

A small improvement was ordered which must have been a great comfort to the Priests: "the Treasurer was authorized to introduce electric lights into the Confessional boxes". One dislikes to think what they must have been in warm weather when they were illuminated by gas--and one is tempted to think, judging solely by the noise they make, that the switches now in use are those that were installed thirty years ago.

Two or three entries seem worth noting in the records of this spring, which was an uneventful period for St. Mary's. The house at 232 West 45th Street was leased for a further period of five years at $1,400 and $1,500 a year; it was decided to sell as soon as possible the Summer Home which had come to the Corporation from the Sisters of the Visitation; and the idea was first broached of purchasing the house next the Rectory.

The matter was considered throughout the summer, and was at length thought to be so pressing that a Special Meeting was called on the 4th November, 1901, to take action. At that time the Treasurer reported that Mrs. Casey, the owner of 146 West 47th Street, held the property at $40,000, and that he believed, if it was not acquired by the Corporation, it would "be bought by the people who were building the hotel on the adjoining property, or by another purchaser with the intention of erecting an apartment house on the lot. He gave it as his opinion that the purchase was necessary to protect our present property as well as to provide for the future". Mr. Ecker, the present President of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, appraised the property at $37,500.

The reference to providing for the future refers to the large congregations who were being attracted to the Church by Dr. Christian's preaching, but it is as difficult to understand how that lot could have been used to extend the seating capacity of the Church as it is to believe that an apartment house would have been built on a lot 18 feet 9 inches wide. Why the owners of the hotel, which was then being erected, had [180/181] not bought the property, if they wanted it, before beginning to build, is another mystery. In any event, either for the reasons recorded or for some other, a majority of the Trustees favored the purchase and, upon the motion's being put, all voted in favor except Pierson, who felt so strongly that he requested that his negative vote be recorded.

One week later, at the Regular Meeting of the 11th November, "The Treasurer reported that No. 146 West 47th St. had been purchased through Mr. Ecker for $37,000". The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company loaned $25,000 on bond and mortgage on the property at 4%, and the Treasurer sold a mortgage owned by the Corporation for $13,000 to provide the necessary cash.

A comparison of this price with that paid for the adjoining parcel will indicate the increase in the value of real estate in this section of the city during the preceding seven years. No. 144 West 47th Street, immediately adjoining the new purchase and identical with it in size, had been bought in 1894 for $24,000. It is also interesting to note the difference in the rate of interest since the days of the old church, when 7% was the then prevailing rate.

At this Meeting only one other matter in addition to that of the purchase was recorded: "$50 was appropriated to pay for the special music at the Requiem for the late President McKinley". How long ago it seems, and yet how well some of us can remember the black-bordered newspapers that announced his death, by the hand of Leon Czolgosz on the 14th September, 1901! The Requiem had been held on the 19th, the day of mourning appointed by proclamation.

For a number of years the matter of the tax assessment on the Church property had been before various Courts of the State, and at the Annual Meeting, 9th December, 1901, the Treasurer was able to report that "the Court of Appeals had rendered a decision, placing an assessment of $6,000 on the Rectory and vacating the assessments on the Mission house and Clergy house".

A letter was read from Bishop Potter, suggesting a donation of $50 from the Parish to the Domestic and Foreign Mission Funds. This suggestion was acceded to, but with characteristic caution when payments are to be made to Missions, the sum was to be "payable out of next year's income".

The same disposition was made of the request of the authorities of St. [181/182] Michael's Cemetery, that an annual appropriation of $25 be made "to take care of the plot belonging to this parish". How this plot came to belong to St. Mary's is not recorded, but it is still cared for, and has occasionally been the means of relieving what would otherwise have been very distressing situations.

The Rector reported the resignation of Fr. Lacy as a curate of the Parish.


The total of the appropriations for 1902, determined at the Annual Meeting, held the 20th January, was about $1,200 more than that of the previous year, and amounted to $25,098.33. As the Treasurer was able to report anticipated receipts of $26,250 the financial outlook was comfortable. It is worth noting of this statement of appropriations, as of those that had preceded it for many years, that the amount apportioned to salaries and wages was more than twice as large as that devoted to the Choir.

The Rector nominated the Reverend A. McGuiniss as one of the curates of the Parish, and the nomination was unanimously confirmed.

At the February Meeting the Treasurer announced, and his report is entered in the Minutes with considerable formality and obvious pride, "that the total amount of the pledges to date amounted to $8,984, the largest amount ever reported at this time of the year".

The westerly side of the Church property in 47th Street had sustained some damage from the building operations adjoining, and, as the owner was unwilling to give any satisfaction, the Treasurer was authorized, at the April Meeting, to institute suit on behalf of the Corporation.

During June of this year, the Associated Catholic Clubs were to meet, and $150 was appropriated for music at the services to be held in connection therewith. This is the largest single appropriation for music so far recorded, and elaborate services must have been contemplated to warrant such an outlay.

Up to this time the chairs in the front of the Church had been without designations and had been occupied exclusively by transient worshippers, but now the size of the regular congregation made it necessary to allot them to contributors, and it was decided at this Meeting to number them.

[183] William B. Fletcher sent in his resignation from the Board, but he was asked to withdraw it.

The Meeting of the 24th May has the distinction of being the shortest of which there is any record. Bowen W. Pierson was the Secretary pro tem, owing to one of the two absences of Beverly Chew during the twenty years he had served as Secretary, and he records the fact that the Meeting was called to order at 2:30 P.M., heard the Treasurer's report, and adjourned at 2:52 P.M. This Meeting, incidentally, has the further peculiarity of being the only one held during many years at any other time than half past four o'clock.

The last Meeting before the summer recess of 1902 was held the 2nd July and at that time a communication was read "from the Board of Missions stating that under the apportionment plan the suggested contribution from this Parish was $1,464". It does not need a greatly overheated imagination to picture the reception accorded this suggestion. It was but a few months before that payment at the request of the Bishop, of the sum of $50 to Missions had been deferred. But Haley Fiske was equal to the occasion, and one cannot doubt that the following emanated from him. The ambiguity of the closing words is particularly worthy notice: "The Treasurer was on motion requested to write the Treasurer of the Board of Missions explaining the fact that all our appropriations had been settled for the current year, but that beginning with next year arrangements would be made to place this parish among the regular contributors".

Evidently the court calendars were not so crowded in those days, for the suit brought against the owner of the property to the west on 47th Street, had been called for trial, and judgment entered for the corporation by default. It was decided to put the house, 146 West 47th Street, in repair and rent it if possible. The same disposition was made of the old Mission house in 45th Street, and of the Summer Home, for which no buyers had yet been found.

The Rector reported the resignation of Fr. Linn, and the appointment of Fr. Atkinson as one of the curates. While it is not possible now to discover the reason for these numerous changes among the Assistant Ministers, or even if there was any one reason, it would certainly seem that the Curates remained for very short periods at St. Mary's

[184] Once again the organ was giving trouble, and "Dr. Prentice was directed to have the necessary repairs made in the trumpet stop in the great organ". It should be borne in mind that an annual appropriation was made for repairs to the organ, and that the references in the Minutes to special repairs were for those of a major nature.

By the first Meeting of the autumn, the 13th October, the recently acquired house to the west of the Rectory had been leased to Mrs. Redfield at the annual rental of $1,500. The Treasurer was also able to report that the deficit (always referred to in the Minutes as "the deficiency") had all been made up "except the sum of $150 expended by the Rector for new vestments, and which he had undertaken to raise the money". The mildly ill-natured tone of this entry (and perhaps its slightly defective grammar) was undoubtedly due to the irritation which had been caused, and which lingered for many years, by Dr. Christian's somewhat arbitrarily changing the ferial color from blue to green. He had had a well-known set of blue vestments dyed, and had caused that color to be completely abandoned. Most large effects spring from small causes, and it is probable that the relations between Dr. Christian and his people would have been more intimate had he not, in the early stage of his rectorship, deprived the Church of one of its distinctive characteristics.

The new wood work in the Lady Chapel, which had been carved in Belgium, had been put in position during the summer, and the Treasurer announced the fact at this Meeting.

The Resignation of William B. Fletcher was accepted with sympathy and regret.

This created two vacancies on the Board, which were filled by the election of Joseph D. Pickslay to succeed Dr. Edward H. Clarke, who had resigned in October, 1899; and Dr. Augustus S. Knight to fill the place just vacated by Fletcher.

The new wainscoting in the Lady Chapel had necessitated a change in the lighting fixtures, and this matter had been referred to the Executive Committee, who reported to the Meeting of 10th November "that the lighting arrangements of the Lady Chapel had been satisfactorily completed by placing the electric lights around the corbels in accordance with the suggestion of the Rector"

At the Annual Meeting, which coincided this year with the Patronal [184/185] Festival, Bowen W. Pierson was elected Vice President in the place of William B. Fletcher, who had resigned.


The Executive Committee made a recommendation to the Board at its Meeting of the 12th January, 1903, that the salary of the Rector be increased from $5,000 to $6,000 a year. The recommendation was adopted, and the larger sum appears in the appropriations determined for the year. It was evidently part of the Treasurer's policy to keep the total of the appropriations to approximately that of the previous year, and this he succeeded in doing by means of the items "Sundries" and "Repairs"; the former of which fluctuates from $1,500 to half that amount, while "Repairs" run from $1,000 to $250.

The Rector was requested, at the February Meeting, to prepare an inventory of the Vestments belonging to the Parish, that it might be filed among the records. Unfortunately this seems not to have been done, as no such list appears in the Minutes.

The Executive Committee was authorized to sell both the common and preferred stock of the Texas Central Railroad Company, on which no dividends had been paid for some time.

The matter of the appropriation to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society could not decently be longer deferred, and at this Meeting it was "voted that an appropriation of $500 (the amount suggested had been $1,464) be made for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, marked 'Special for the Diocese of Fond du Lac', and that a special effort be made by a letter from the Rector to the pledgers, with envelopes, giving an opportunity to make payments on two occasions".

One of the most noteworthy features in the decorations of St. Mary's is first mentioned on the 9th March, 1903, when, "The Treasurer reported that he had made a contract with Mr. Elliott Daingerfield for the decoration of the Lady Chapel; and that certain payments thereunder had been made by him--but that the interests of the corporation had been fully protected and that it was in no way liable for the cost of the work".

The owners of the Hotel Somerset had paid $1,000 for damage done to 146 West 47th Street; and the Board decided to sell 29 West 25th Street for $60,000 and to take back a purchase money mortgage of [185/186] $50,000. As this property had been received by the Corporation at a valuation of $50,000, the proposed sale involved a fair profit.

The April Meeting was concerned entirely with what may be called domestic matters. The Rector was granted a six months' leave of absence from the 9th May, and the Treasurer announced that he expected to be away from the country until the 1st November. Dr. Augustus S. Knight was elected Acting Treasurer, and was authorized to borrow the necessary money to meet the inevitable summer shortage.

The Outing for the Choir was evidently abandoned, and the $100 which had been appropriated for that purpose was applied to increasing the salary of the Assistant Organist. The Men's Guild had applied for a loan of $100, and this was made to them from the Reredos Fund, with interest at the rate of 5%.

On the 24th June, 1903, the following "open letter" appeared in the New York Tribune:

"Idolatrous, He Says.

"English Clergyman on an Episcopal Church Service.

"An open letter has been addressed to Bishop Potter by the Rev. R. C. Fillingham, vicar of Hexton, England, who is now a guest at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, declaring that certain ritualistic practices in flagrant defiance of Protestantism are permitted to obtain at St. Mary the Virgin's Church, West Forty-sixth Street, and asking the Bishop to exercise his authority in the case.

"The letter reads as follows:

"I hope I shall not be credited with undue interference in the affairs of others if I address you on the subject of the scandalous and unlawful proceedings at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York.

"I am a beneficed clergyman of the sister Church of England. I have been called upon by my countrymen to take a somewhat prominent part in opposing the ritualistic movement in our church. Several of my American friends have urged me to do something in the same cause here; so I hope this may be my excuse for addressing you.

"I was present last Sunday morning at St. Mary the Virgin. That church is a congregation of the Protestant Episcopal Church--a body which solemnly denies any intention to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline or worship. The whole service was a flagrant defiance of Protestantism. The Church of England was reformed especially to get rid of the mass; but on Sunday [186/187] morning what was openly and cynically termed 'High Mass' was performed. Vestments were worn, incense was burned, genuflections were made; and all these things are in flagrant defiance of the discipline of the English Church; they are absolutely illegal. And the proceedings culminated in the elevation and adoration of the senseless elements of bread and wine--an act of idolatry, which as our prayer-book says, should be abhorred by all Christian men.

"Sir, the Articles of Religion, adopted by the whole Protestant Episcopal Church in 1801, describe masses as 'blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits'. Yet the rector of St. Mary the Virgin publicly celebrates the high mass which he is pledged to disbelieve.

"I write to you, therefore, to solemnly urge the exercise of your episcopal authority in the matter of this glaring scandal. Surely you are not merely a bishop in name; surely you have some power to enforce the laws of the Church; surely the Protestant Episcopal Church in America is not 'the kingdom of chance and error.' I call upon you as a ruler of the Protestant church, to take steps to put an end to these scandalous and idolatrous proceedings.

"It has been my lot to protest publicly against idolatry in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and elsewhere. I hope it may not be my duty, on my return to New York, to protest publicly with a band of friends, against the idolatry practised by the rector of St. Mary the Virgin. But if nothing is done to excise this plague spot, we may feel it our duty, by forcible action, to call the attention of the public to this matter.

"Dr. Morgan Dix, who is head of the diocese in the absence of Bishop Potter, is spending the summer in Long Island and could not be seen yesterday.

"Dr. George M. Christian, the rector of St. Mary the Virgin's Church, is also absent in the country and is not expected in town this week."

This "open letter" was printed around a picture of Dr. Christian who is shown smiling with so pleasant and assured an expression that one can realize in part the subsequent rage of the Reverend Mr. Fillingham.

The Tribune's issue of the 27th contained the following:

"Dr. Potter Advises Police Detail to Deal With
The Vicar of Hexton.

"Calls Meddling English Cleric a Lunatic--Full Confidence in the Rev. Dr. Christian--Insulting, says Mr. Fillingham.

"Bishop Henry C. Potter has taken prompt notice of the open letter sent him by the Rev. R. C. Fillingham, vicar of Hexton, Hertfordshire, [187/188] England, and has sent the vicar a reply that is at once vigorous and pointed. Furthermore, he has written to the Rev. Dr. G. M. Christian, rector of the church of which the complaint was made, advising him to apply for a detail of the police, and in case the Hexton vicar and his followers present themselves and interfere, to direct the police to throw the party into the street. Bishop Potter writes from Coopers-town in Otsego County, as follows:

"Reverend Sir: In the public prints of yesterday I find a letter from you addressed to me; and later, this letter reached me through the mail.

"You call yourself a clergyman of the Church of England, but 1 doubt it. For a clergyman is, usually, a gentleman, and aware that he may not print a private letter until its receipt has been acknowledged by the person to whom it is addressed.

"That you are a lunatic is much more likely, for only a lunatic could suppose that the Church in New York is governed by the laws of the Church of England, or that you could compel me, or any incumbent in the Diocese of New York, to enforce, or to obey, the laws of the Church of England.

"The rector of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin possesses my respect and confidence; and though his modes of worship may be as little to my taste as to yours, he is not following them without my privity and knowledge.

"I have advised him, therefore, to apply for a detail of police and have instructed him, in case you and your followers venture in any way to interrupt, or interfere with his service, to direct the police to throw you and your associates into the street. Happily, we have a law in the State of New York which deals summarily and effectually with disturbers of public worship. Very truly yours,

"H. C. Potter,
'Bishop of New York.

"To the Rev. R. C. Fillingham.

"On receipt of Bishop Potter's letter yesterday, the Rev. Mr. Filling-ham addressed one in reply, and, in spite of the Bishop's cutting words about people who make letters public before those to whom they are addressed have received them, he made his letter public, as he had done the first one. His reply follows:

"Right Rev. Sir: I am in receipt of your extremely violent and insulting letter of yesterday's date. I suppose so extraordinary a production was never before penned by a professedly Christian minister.

"You are, or affect to be, unaware that open letters are frequently written to public men. You are also unaware, apparently, that the Church of which you are an officer has declared that she has no intention [188/189] of differing in anything from the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Church of England. I suppose you are also unaware of the fact that the ritual of St. Mary the Virgin does differ absolutely from that discipline and worship.

"I will not follow you in your own choice expressions and describe them as 'lunacy', but it is certainly a singular exhibition of ignorance.

"I note that you condone and are privy to the illegalities and idolatry practised by the rector of St. Mary the Yirgin. I also note your threat of physical violence--that you, a minister of the Gospel, advise another minister to 'throw' us into the street; but I can assure you that no threat will affect those who are prepared not only to act but to suffer in the cause of Protestanism. Very truly yours,

"R. C. Fillingham.
"To the Right Rev. Henry C. Potter.

"The Rev. Dr. Christian, of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, is in Europe, and his assistant, the Rev. J. A. Lanpher, declined to make the Bishop's letter public. Its contents were, however, mere mention of the fact that the Bishop inclosed a copy of the letter he was mailing to the English vicar, and the instructions to do as he said he bade him in the other letter. The Bishop's letter was shown yesterday to the Rev. Mr. Ritchie, of St. Ignatius; to the Rev. Dr. Clendenin, of St. Peter's, West Chester, and to others of the 'Catholic' school, and caused rejoicing. The Rev. Mr. Wood, of St. Paul's Church, Stapleton, had been writing some letters of similar tenor, but he said on reading Bishop Potter's letter, that the letter's phrases were an improvement on his own.

"This correspondence grew out of a letter which the Rev. Mr. Fillingham addressed the other day to Bishop Potter concerning the services which the writer said he witnessed last Sunday morning in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Forty-sixth street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. He described the sacrifice of the mass, the burning of incense and the elevation of the host, declared all to be contrary to the doctrine of the Church, and called the whole ceremony profane and idolatrous.

"The vicar of Hexton is an interesting personality. He is short, and typically English in face. He does not, he says, belong to the Wickliff preachers, the organization which has grown out of the work of the late John Kensit, and which work is now under charge of John Kensit's son. These preachers now number twenty, and last year had financial support from the English public to the extent of about $15,000. The Rev. Mr. Fillingham says he does not receive pay as do these Wickliff preachers, but labors at his own cost.

"'The radical parson', as he has come to be called, is the only clergyman of the Established Church of England preaching regularly in Nonconformist pulpits. He was ordained in 1889, and spent two years in a [189/190] curacy. Then he went to Hexton, thirty miles out of London. The Bishop of Peterborough tried once to stop him, and others at one time tried to put him out of his living in Hexton. He is to sail for home next Wednesday, recovered in health, and says he will not spend the few days in further controversy. He plans, however, to return here next January, and conduct, under the auspices of a committee, a Lenten mission in the interests of Protestantism.

"Seated in the lobby of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, the Rev. Mr. Fillingham told a Tribune reporter last night that it had not been his intention, when he arrived in New York, to make any such protest, and that he was greatly surprised at the commotion it has caused.

"'I came to New York' he added, 'on my way back to England from Japan, where I have been spending the spring. In Yokohama, at a Church of England service, I entered a public protest, at the wish of various members of the congregation, against the ritualistic practices which there obtain. On my overland journey East from Vancouver 1 stopped off at Toronto, and there likewise lodged a protest. I came to New York, as I thought, for a rest, but my visit to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin last Sunday morning has had far other effects. I shall do nothing further in the way of protesting here until I shall have returned to New York next January. Then I shall begin to take some definite action. Then if there are fools enough to arrest and make a martyr of me, so much the better for my cause. The anticipation of any such action on their part will not deter me in the least. At present, however, I shall do nothing further.'

"The Rev. Mr. Fillingham came before the public in March, 1902, when he visited this country to attempt to obtain President Roosevelt's intervention on behalf of the Boers, so that they might retain their independence. He is the author of 'King David', which was published in England a short time ago.

"So far as could be learned last evening no application for police protection had been made in behalf of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin."

It is probably kindest to adopt the Bishop's view, and consider the Reverend Mr. Fillingham a lunatic, but, at the same time, his actions have all the earmarks of the professional publicity seeker. He did return to New York on the 16th of February, 1904, and succeeded in achieving some degree of notoriety by the usual process of denouncing various things. He made a journey through parts of New England and the Middle West, but his efforts were wholly abortive, except that he increased the congregations in the churches he denounced. He accomplished this at St. Mary's, and also succeeded in increasing the admiration [190/191] in which the Bishop of New York was held, and for these two desirable results of his visits we are grateful to him.

Beyond this beneficial little excitement, the Trustees, or such of them as remained on duty, had a peaceful summer, and beyond ordering repairs to be made to the roof of the Mission House, had no business of sufficient importance to be recorded until November.

By that time the travellers had returned, and the Board took up again the usual routine matters; which, it may be mentioned, make the Minutes very voluminous, but a recital of which would not add to the interest of these pages.

The testimonials of Donald Johnston, candidate for Holy Orders, were presented, and ordered signed. "Dr. Prentice, Mr. Gorham and Mr. Daingerfield were appointed delegates to represent this parish at the meetings of the Archdeaconry."

The organ in St. Joseph's Hall was ordered to be put in repair at an estimated cost of $150.

The Treasurer presented the resignation of Dr. Prentice. This serious loss to the Parish had been anticipated for some time, as Dr. Prentice had suffered a severe illness two years before, and had played the organ since with one hand and his feet. The Resolution on the departure from active duty of this consummate musician and loyal friend of St. Mary's is worth transcribing, for it not only shows the high esteem in which he was held, but embodies such assurance to him that his ideals would be carried on as could be conveyed in the recital of the detailed arrangements for the musical direction:

"Resolved that the board accepts with regret the resignation of Dr. Geo. B. Prentice as organist and musical director of the Parish, on the following terms--Full salary to be paid him until the end of this calendar year, and thereafter to be paid $1,500 per annum until further notice, with the promise that his pension for life shall not be less than $1,250 per annum. That he be appointed Organist Emeritus. Resolved that T. M. Prentice be offered the position of Musical Director at a salary not to exceed $750 per annum. That he be authorized to employ Mr. Chegwidden as organist at a salary not to exceed $1,000 per annum, and an assistant organist Mr. Frederlein in charge of the Chancel Choir at a salary not to exceed $400 per annum."

Considerate and grateful as this Resolution was, it did not seem adequate [191/192] to Beverly Chew, and, upon his motion, the following Minute was adopted at the Annual Meeting (14th December, 1903) and a copy sent to the subject of it: "The Board of Trustees desires to enter upon its Minutes an expression of the deep regret felt by all its Members at the resignation of Dr. George B. Prentice as Organist and Musical Director of the Parish, and for the fact that its acceptance is rendered imperative by the impaired condition of his health. The long and faithful service that Dr. Prentice has given to the music of this Parish, which has placed it in the very first rank in this City, and, in fact, in the entire American Church, cannot be too highly valued, or our indebtedness to him overstated. It gives the Board deep satisfaction to believe that the type of service he has given us will be perpetuated under the new Director and the best musical traditions of the Parish carefully conserved. It is also very gratifying to the Board that as a Member of this Body his long experience and ripe judgment will continue to be available. That the more retired and restful life upon which he now enters will greatly promote his physical improvement, is the earnest prayer of his fellow Trustees."


The records of the early portion of this year contain little that need be transferred to these pages. The appropriations were about $700 more than those of the previous year, and the affairs of the Parish appear to have moved along in an uneventful course.

In March, $500 of the fund collected for Missions was sent to Bishop White of Michigan City, $200 to Bishop Grafton, and $50 to the Reverend R. W. Cuthburt, Kyoto, Japan.

Miss Redmond offered to paint and present an altar piece for St. Elizabeth's Chapel, which was accepted with thanks.

No meeting was held in May, presumably for lack of business, but at that of the 20th June, the Rector announced several changes among the curates: Fr. Lanpher had resigned as of the 30th April, and the Reverend Andrew C. Wilson was nominated in his place; and Fr. Starr had retired from the Parish on the 31st May. It may be noted, in passing, that during the rectorship of Dr. Christian there were frequent changes among the curates, and that few remained for any considerable length of time.

[193] Yet another change is recorded when meetings were resumed in the autumn: Fr. Atkinson resigned, and the nomination of the Reverend Daniel Hinton was confirmed.

During the summer, repairs had been made in the Clergy House and Rectory, and $150 had been spent in the gymnasium. An interior telephone system had been installed, and the organ had been cleaned. The pictures in the Lady Chapel had been photographed at a cost of $75, of which expense the Church was to bear one-half. The house at 146 West 47th Street had been leased for a period of five years to the Hotel Somerset at the annual rental of $1,600. It may be inferred from this, that the idea of adding to the seating capacity of the Church by building a transept on this property, had been abandoned, if it had ever been seriously entertained.

The organ was again giving trouble, and Dr. Prentice was requested to investigate the matter, and recommend what it would be best to do. At the next, the Annual Meeting of 1904, he reported that the magnets in the organ action required attention and that the bellows needed to be repaired. The work was, of course, ordered done, and the repair bills against the part-old-part-new and altogether inadequate organ continued to mount steadily.

At this Meeting appeared the first indication, other than absences, that Dr. Christian's health was not robust, for we find the entry that "The Treasurer was authorized to have a suitable seat prepared for the Rector so arranged as to shelter him from drafts".


The year 1905 was even less eventful than its predecessor, and so little was there to record that all the Minutes of the year are not as long as those of a single Meeting in former years. In March the Treasurer came to the Meeting shortly before it closed--a sure indication that nothing of importance was to be done--and in his absence Mr. Dohrman, the then Assistant Treasurer, read the financial report. $500 was ordered to be paid to Bishop Greer "for work in the Bronx as a Missionary contribution from the Parish", and it was decided to sell the Summer Home at Little Neck for $7,500, possession to be given in the autumn. There was a deficiency of $2,000 in the Endowment Fund, [193/194] and toward making up this amount "four gentlemen had agreed to contribute $250 each."

The sale of the Summer Home evidently met with some obstacle--as other real estate sales have been known to do--and was not consummated as planned, but the delay was advantageous, for in the autumn a contract was entered into with Austin Corbin whereby he agreed to purchase the property, as soon as leave to sell had been obtained from the Supreme Court, for $8,000. This transaction was duly completed, and the Corporation received the purchase price less legal expenses of $136.24. The amount which had been lent on mortgage, with accrued interest, was returned, and of the balance $4,500 was set aside as the "Summer Home Fund," obviously with the purchase of a suitable location in mind.

The papers of "Mr. Lewes and Mr. Day, Candidates for Holy Orders" were signed. The habit of recording only surnames is probably very widespread, but it is not to be commended, and at times makes the path of the chronicler difficult.

In the midst of the routine entries which for the most part make up the history of St. Mary's at this period of its existence, the Minutes of the Meeting of the 20th November, 1905, stands out. "The Treasurer reported a gift from a gentleman not connected with the Parish of about $700, which sum together with the amount already reported (but not recorded) as contributed by certain members of the Board of Trustees was sufficient to reduce the old deficit which has existed for a number of years to a little over $100." He went on to express the belief that the surplus of receipts over disbursements for the year would make up the balance.

It will be remembered that "the old deficit" had been created in the year 1897, and that it was to prevent a possible repetition in 1898 that the salaries of the Clergy and organist had been reduced 5%. It had been carried on the books for eight years, despite avoidable expenditures of many times the amount, and now stood at $100. Nota bene: the appropriations for this year totalled $25,520.

In view of the anonymous gift, and of the encouraging report that the $100 eight-year-old deficit would be wiped out this year, "the Treasurer was authorized to pay the arrears of salary due Mrs. T. McKee Brown (for the late Fr. Brown), Rev. Fr. Staunton and Rev. Fr. Upjohn and to Dr. Prentice, amounting in all to $354.18."

[195] It is said that laughter and tears are very close together, but it is hard to say which would be called forth by that resolution. For eight years the Trustees had worshipped in a church that had cost $356,000 to build on land that had cost $209,000; for eight years they had passed annual appropriations of approximately $25,000 for running expenses; and for eight years they had left unpaid salaries "amounting in all to $354.18". This pitiful debt was paid at last because of a gift from one who was "not connected with the parish". And all the circumstances, including the fact that this mean little sum was "the arrears of salary due", is set forth explicitly in the permanent records of the Corporation. Is it the record of a tragedy of modern business efficiency, or does its unintentional humor prevail?

At this same Meeting the Treasurer reported that he had invested $4,500 for the Summer Home Fund, a like amount for the general funds; and he was instructed to sell two mortgages totaling $25,000 and to pay off the mortgage of that amount on the house next the Church, 146 West 47th Street.

At the Annual Meeting of 1905, which was held on the 19th December, having been adjourned from the regular date, the Board received the" report of the President and Treasurer that they had purchased "certain property at Keyport, N. J. for use as a Summer Home". This action was approved, and the Treasurer was authorized to mortgage the property for such sum not to exceed $3,500 as would cover the cost of necessary repairs. Possession of the property was to be obtained on the 1st April, 1906.

There is one interesting association connected with this property, which it was not within the province of the Minutes to mention, but which is nevertheless worth noting. Prior to its purchase by the Church, the house which is now and has been for twenty-five years the Summer Home, was a fashionable small sea-side hotel, and there are those among the present attendants at St. Mary's who have danced at balls within its hospitable doors. To such an one, who would now probably consider dancing days as done, it must be a curious sensation to go to the Home and see the uses to which its spacious rooms and corridors have been converted.

At this last Meeting of 1905 a telephone was ordered put in the Clergy House with an extension to Fr. Wilson's office. Such little [195/196] entries serve to remind us that some of the mechanical appliances which we have come to regard as indispensable are not actually such old established necessities as we sometimes believe them to be.

It would appear that Fr. Wilson had been doing some entertaining, for "The Treasurer was authorized to pay $38 for money expended in hospitality, and provided there be sufficient money to warrant it he be further authorized to expend $200 for dining room furniture for the Clergy house."

Henry Tiedgens was dismissed from the position of Sexton, and Frank Hoffman, who had been his assistant, and whom most of us remember, was appointed temporarily to fill the position.

At this time Thomas M. Prentice resigned as Musical Director, and the Board accepted his resignation with an expression of deep appreciation of his faithful services for thirty-one years and of regret at his leaving the Choir. Frank J. Chedwidden was appointed Musical Director in his place, to take charge of the music on the 1st January, 1906.


The appropriations for the year 1906 amounted to $26,771, an increase of $1,251 over those of the previous year. At the January Meeting, when they were adopted, it was resolved to install another bathroom in the Clergy House at an estimated cost of $326, and to provide additional fire extinguishers for the sum of $100; from which premises it may fairly be argued that the Treasurer considered the financial outlook improved.

The final entry of the Meeting records the fact that "a person wishing to be appointed official undertaker of the Parish" had made written application, and had intimated his desire "to put his plate on the front of the Church". This was too much, and the "person" was curtly refused.

A Special Meeting was called on the 31st January to close the contract for the purchase of the property in Keyport, when it transpired that the sellers were Lila de Salignac and Walter B. Harris, and that the price was $7,500. Of this amount the Corporation paid $3,500 cash, and gave a mortgage for the balance to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

For some reason, which is not a matter of record, the Parish was [196/197] interested in the Diocese of Springfield, and the contribution of $500 to Domestic Missions was designated for that work, and an appeal was made from the Pulpit.

An entry, which seems curiously out of date now, closes the record of this Meeting: "On motion the consent of the Board was given to the Lexington 145-155 West 47th Street for the establishment of a bar."

Donald K. Johnston was about to be made a deacon, and his papers were presented and duly signed.

$100 was authorized to pay bills for entertaining visiting clergy.

$100 was appropriated for use in the Sacristy.

Such entries as the three given above, of which there are a great many throughout the records, are particularly unsatisfactory to an editor who aspires to be conscientious. As they stand, they are not in the least interesting, but they seem to point to information that we should be glad to have if they were not so meagre. Who was Donald K. Johnston; why do we come at this time upon appropriations for entertaining visiting clergy, and who entertained them before, or why did they not visit us before; to what use was the $100 put in the Sacristy? It will no doubt be clear to any one who reads this story of St. Mary's that much of interest in connection with the Parish has been omitted because it has no place in the available records, and because it antedates the recollection of the editor. Should the present volume be received with sufficient interest to warrant another edition, it is the desire of the Trustees to produce a history of St. Mary's that shall be worthy the name, and that shall supply the many deficiencies of the present story. In the perhaps too optimistic hope that this may be the case, the Trustees would ask that any information relating to the Parish, any biographical material about persons connected with the Parish, any anecdotes which are authentic, any records of services rendered or donations made to the Parish, any descriptions of significant or important Masses or other Services, or any names, which have been omitted from this Story or have been inadequately or incorrectly mentioned, will be sent, in detail, with dates and all the correlated facts, to the Trustees. On the 8th December, 1933, will be observed the Sixty-fifth Anniversary of the Parish, and, if an enlarged history be desired, that would seem to be an appropriate time for its appearance. Whether this incomplete story, which is in some ways but a bare outline, be followed by a worthy history [197/198] depends upon the interest and support given to this attempt to relate the happenings of many eventful and important years.

In the records of the Meeting of the 23rd April, 1906, mention is made of a project which we can only regret was not carried into execution. Dr. Christian had been looking for a suitable house to be used as the nucleus of a mission for colored people, and at this time he had some hope of finding such a house. The Trustees authorized him to engage another curate, should he succeed in securing the premises needed to house the proposed mission.

At this Meeting Frank Hoffman was appointed Sexton of the Parish. Within the next three weeks he met with some sort of accident, for the Trustees, at the Meeting of the 14th May, appropriated $125 "for the medical services rendered Frank Hoffman the Sexton after his late accident."

Although the month of May is usually the time when the Treasurer, with the dread of the five lean kine of the summer months upon him, holds the door of the treasury open only a very little way for absolute necessities, we find an exception this year in the form of an appropriation of $530.10 for an extra bathroom to be installed in the Clergy house.

A Special Meeting was called to consider an offer from George Felton of $6,000 for the leasehold estate of the Corporation in 232 West 45th Street, the former Clergy House. As the lease had but a short time to run, and the rent would be materially increased upon a renewal, this was considered to be a satisfactory offer, and was accepted.

When the Trustees convened in the autumn, the 22nd October, they learned of and approved certain investments made by the Treasurer during the summer, and also received his report that only $1,000 had had to be borrowed to tide over "the thin months." In view of this comparatively satisfactory state of the finances, they readily approved the additional $71.50 which the bath room in the Clergy House had cost, over and above the estimate, and authorized repairs to the amount of $554.64 in the Rectory and Clergy House. A new piano was wanted for the Guild room, and this matter "was referred to the Rector with power"--which is usually another way of saying that the request was granted.

"Letters were read from the Rectors of the Church of the Advent [198/199] and St. Mary the Virgin, San Francisco, thanking this Parish for its contributions sent after the fire." That great catastrophe had begun with the earthquake of the 18 April, and St. Mary's had done what it could for the sister parishes.

Joseph D. Pickslay resigned as a Trustee, and "the Rector was authorized to offer the position on the Board to Mr. George G. Frelinghuysen," who, however, did not accept, as the Rector reported at the next Meeting.


At the first Meeting of 1907, held the 14th January, the Rector nominated the Reverend F. D. Graves as a curate of the Parish, and renominated the Reverend A. C. Wilson. As is customary, the Trustees confirmed both nominations. "The certificates were ordered signed and forwarded to the Authorities of the Diocese," which seems unusual in the case of Fr. Wilson, who had been a curate since June, 1904.

The appropriations for the year amounted to $28,235.84, which was an increase of $1,464.84 over the previous year. The largest single increase was for Missions, which rose from $200 in 1906 to $600 this year. The gas consumed in the Rectory was, at this time, made a charge upon the Corporation.

No business that would now be interesting to recount came before the Board until the Meeting of the 8th April, when the Rector nominated the Reverend Lawrence Kent as curate.

Fr. Wilson sent in a bill "for $69 expended in entertaining visiting clergy for the first three months of this years." It was ordered to be paid, but it seems to indicate a system with which we are not now familiar.

Robert V. McKim was elected a Trustee to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Joseph D. Pickslay.

In May the Executive Committee reported to the Board that an offer of $7,000 had been received from Theodore F. Meeker for the leasehold of 248 West 45th Street, the former Mission House. As this lease from Astor had four years to run, and a renewal could not be obtained on the then favorable terms, it was considered wise to accept Meeker's offer, and the necessary application was ordered made to the Supreme Court. It is a very simple matter to record these sales here, but they involved some small labor for the Secretary, as the necessary [199/200] Resolutions, which had to be passed before the transaction could be started, comprised 360 words.

For the first time, there is a record that the coal for this year was bought at one time at the spring price; and we read that "a boatload of Lehigh coal, 150 gross tons, at $4.80 per ton" was ordered. Examination showed the electrical wiring for the organ to be in dangerous condition, and $600 was appropriated to repair it. At the same time the dining room in the Mission House was put in repair, and a bookcase was ordered for the Rectory. There is no record of how the Mission House was used during Dr. Christian's rectorship, or by whom, and no appropriation had been made for its maintenance since 1904, when $200 was voted, but the foregoing reference to the dining room would seem to indicate that it was thought well to at least keep the premises in repair. One can hardly think that either the Parishioners or the Trustees approved of being without Sisters at St. Mary's.

When the Board met the 27th June, Beverly Chew spoke of the death of Dr. Prentice, and the following is transcribed, not only because it fittingly closes a remarkable term of faithful service, but because it presents an ideal that it would be well to strive to attain. A life that deserved such an eulogy is not a life that should be lightly forgotten:

"The Secretary presented the following Minute, recording the death of our late fellow Trustee, George B. Prentice, Mus. Doc.

"It is with deep sorrow that the members of this board record the death on June 20th, 1907 of their late associate, Dr. George B. Prentice.

"Of Dr. Prentice's work in organizing and developing the type of music that has made this Parish famous throughout the Anglican Communion, very much could be said, but it is felt that at this time it is sufficient to acknowledge the debt we owe to the genius--that conceived and the patient ability that accomplished the important results achieved. For thirty-three years he gave himself to the work and only retired when disabling sickness rendered him powerless to perform his duty. The Parish owes to him the deepest gratitude for the life of devotion to its service.

"He was a careful and attentive member of this board, and prompt and faithful in the performance of every duty. His associates will greatly miss his presence at the meetings and record with grateful memory his genius as a musician and his high character as a man."

[201] The Men's Thank Offering had been taken in the Parish, and amounted to $1,510, which was designated as follows: "$300 for Rev. Mr. Wood, Woochang, China; $250 Bishop Seymour Endowment Fund; $200 Rev. John A. Staunton, Jr., Philippine Islands; $250 for the Missions of the Bishop of Fond du Lac; $250 for Coadjutor Bishop of N. Y. for the Bronx; $260 St. Alban's High Bridge Building Fund."

The next entry is of importance, for it marks the beginning of the work of decorating and beautifying the Church, which, while magnificent in its proportions and fine in some of its appointments, presented at this time and for years to come a somewhat cold interior.

"On motion it was voted to communicate with Mr. Kempe or his successor for designs for Chancel windows with the following subjects: Center Window; Top, The Nativity, bottom, Appearance of the Angels to the Shepherds; West window; Top, The Visitation, bottom, Marriage of St. Mary. On motion the Treasurer was authorized to obtain accurate measurements of the windows."

It will be noted that designs were suggested for only two of the windows, but in time C. E. Kempe & Co., Ltd., of London, produced designs for the five, and in the course of the next ten years executed three of them. Kempe's suggestions are reproduced on another page.

The Trustees did not meet again until the 11th November, 1907, when they were confronted with a large number of matters that claimed attention. Before entering upon them however, the following Resolution was offered by Haley Fiske on the death of Bowen W. Pierson, which had occurred on the 4th July. As he was Beverly Chew's brother-in-law the Secretary neither wrote nor offered the Resolution.

"The Board places on record an expression of the deep grief of its members over the death of Mr. Bowen W. Pierson since its last meeting and of their realization of the severe loss the Corporation has suffered. Mr. Pierson has served as a member of the Board over fifteen years; has been diligent in his attendance upon its meetings; has been devoted in his personal and official interest, and wise in his counsel. His service extended over a period covering many parish experiences--of poverty, of the receipt of the Cooke legacy and the erection of the splendid plant it now occupies, of the formation and building up of the endowment fund, of the death of its first rector and the troubles incident thereto, and of the coming of its present rector and the growth and [201/202] prosperity it is now experiencing. In all exigencies he was patient and sympathetic, in his duties as trustee he was earnest and industrious and his sweet disposition and deep piety were an example to his associates. The Board wishes also to express its most sincere sympathy with the widow and daughter in their great loss and to assure them that his work for the church will never be forgotten and his memory will ever be tenderly cherished by his fellow members."

The resignation of Robert V. McKim as a Trustee was received and accepted with regret. Thus but four Trustees remained, including the Rector, and the first business of the Meeting, after the Board had recorded its regret at the passing of a faithful member, was the election of two Trustees. The Honorable Alton B. Parker and Mr. Elliott Daingerfield were nominated and unanimously elected. Mr. Daingerfield had served for a number of years as head usher and with the Rector, as the committee on the assignment of seats, and he had, of course, embellished the Lady Chapel with the paintings that were then and are now world famous. It would be wholly inappropriate to speak of Mr. Daingerfield's great reputation as an artist, but it is interesting to note here that in point of service he is the father of the Board of Trustees.

The accounts of Chegwidden, the Organist, had become involved and were in arrears, and he was removed from the position, and the Assistant Organist, Mr. Walter S. Fleming was put in charge of the music.

Five hundred Prayer Books were ordered, and the insurance on the Church and its contents was renewed in the amount of $265,000.

Again the organ claimed attention, and this time new motors had to be bought.

The Flanders Hotel requested permission for a liquor license, and as usual the permission was given.

By the time of the Annual Meeting, 10th December, Kempe, of London, had submitted designs for the two windows, and had stated that the cost would be 400 for each window. The designs were examined and accepted "but work was deferred until the times should show improvement."--That rider has a singularly familiar sound today.

Several matters affecting the music were laid before the Board, and tend to the conclusion that that important branch of the services at St. Mary's was not esteemed as highly as it had been under the former [202/203] Rector. The salary of the Organist, which was now at the rate of $600 a year was to be raised after the 1st January to $900; he was to be allowed $3 a Sunday for an assistant organist, and $25 a month "for the salary of Mr. Wilson for training the boy choir." Dr. Christian evidently did not consider it necessary to pay very much for music.

Again the organ had to be repaired, and, apparently in the hope of avoiding some expense or of keeping it goirig, an annual contract was entered into with the Hope-Jones Organ Co. to care for the organ.

A new apparatus for striking the Angelus Bell was ordered at a cost of $155, and the expense of wiring.

This being the Annual Meeting, the election of officers was held, and Dr. Augustus S. Knight became Vice President in the room of Bowen W. Pierson, while Fiske and Chew remained Treasurer and Secretary respectively.

Permission was granted to Mrs. Pierson to place a tablet to the memory of her late husband on the wall of the Church, under the 14th Station of the Cross.


For the first time in several, the appropriations for the current year were less than those of the year previous. The total of the appropriations for 1908 was $26,932.87, while that for 1907 had been $28,235.94. This was largely due to the smaller salary to be paid the Organist.

"The Treasurer reported that among the Christmas contributions he had received the sum of one hundred dollars from Mr. Henry Ollesheimer," and the Secretary was instructed to "express the thanks of the board for his kind gift."

At the March Meeting "The Testimonials for Holy Orders of Marshall Mallory Gray were presented by the Rector, and on motion were ordered signed."

The Treasurer was authorized to purchase 250 copies of the old edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern; and it was decided to increase the salary of the tenor $100 a year, beginning with the 1st October. It is safe to infer that the music was not satisfactory, but these palliatives could not reasonably be expected to improve it to any marked extent.

Two entries referring to the Services of the Church are of more than [203/204] passing interest, as they stand recorded in the Minutes of the April Meeting. "The Treasurer was authorized to pay five dollars per Sunday for the services of a sub-deacon whenever it is required by Fr. Kent to assist in certain High Masses." "The Treasurer was authorized to pay Fr. Fiske the sum of fifty dollars for his addresses at the Three Hours service on Good Friday."

It will be remembered that in March, 1903, the Trustees had decided to sell 29 West 25th Street for $60,000. Fortunately, that transaction was not consummated, and at this meeting the property was sold to Rosanna Batchelor for $75,000. The thanks of the Board were extended to Mr. Ecker and Mr. Stabler for their efforts in the matter. The former is now the President and the latter was for many years the Comptroller of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

The Special Meeting, which was called the 4th May, to complete the sale, was held in the Rectory on account of Dr. Christian's illness. It was the first held there for many years. Having authorized the execution of the necessary papers, the Trustees granted permission to Mrs. Newell to place on the east wall of the Church, a tablet to the memory of her late husband, Commander Newell, U.S.N. who had died in 1896.

New benches, similar in design to those in St. Ignatius Church, were ordered for St. Elizabeth's Chapel, "provided he (the Treasurer) can spare the money."

Dr. Christian's health had grown steadily worse, and he was granted a leave of absence until the 1st October. This was evidently not considered long enough, for the Board met a month later and extended it until the 1st January, 1909.

During the Rector's absence Dr. Van Allen, Bishop Weller, Bishop White, the Bishop of Salino and the Reverend Charles Fiske, amongst others, preached in St. Mary's.

At the Annual Meeting, 21st December, 1908, Mr. Walter S. Fleming was reelected Organist and Musical Director for the ensuing year at a salary of $1,500. It was decided to sell the property of the Corporation at Woodcliff, New Jersey.


When the Trustees met for the first time in 1909, on the 25th January, the outlook of the Parish was far from encouraging. The previous [204/205] year had closed with a deficiency of $3,756.76, and the number of those who had pledged for the current year was forty-three less than at the same date in 1908.

Several matters worthy of record were taken up before the important business of the Meeting was reached: the money received at Requiem Masses was to be devoted to the Guild of All Souls. The Reverend Clarence M. Dunham was confirmed as curate, and the offer of Fr. Hooper to remain at a salary was declined.

A letter was then laid before the Trustees from the Reverend Dr. George M. Christian, in which he resigned as Rector on account of his failing health, and requested that the resignation take effect on the 1st March, 1909. This had evidently been anticipated, and the resignation was accepted with regret.

With the concurrence of the Rector, the Bishop Coadjutor of Fond du Lac, the Right Reverend Reginald Heber Weller, D.D., was invited to take charge of the services of the three ensuing Sundays.

By the time these various matters had been acted upon the hour was so late, that the Meeting was adjourned until nine o'clock the next morning, when the negotiations for the sale of the property at Woodcliff were closed.

At this Meeting the resignation of the Hon. Alton Brooks Parker as a Trustee was received, and was accepted with regret.

From the records of the February Meeting it is clear that Fr. Dunham was actually if not nominally in charge of the ecclesiastical affairs of the Parish. He was authorized "to employ an additional curate, and to secure the services of either the Sisters of St. Mary or St. John the Baptist for work in the Parish." This entry is worth noting. It proves that the Trustees did want Sisters in the Mission House, and that the preliminary steps to restore them to the Parish were taken even before the resignation of Dr. Christian had become effective. The responsibility for the removal of the Sisters, and their long absence from St. Mary's, does not fairly rest upon the Trustees.

Steps toward the calling of a Rector were being taken, but as Dr. Christian still occupied the position, nominally, no direct reference was made to them. That "the expenses of Dr. Knight's trip to Chicago were ordered paid" is the only entry on the subject.

The Hopewell-Jones Company had evidently not given satisfaction [205/206] in their care of the Organ, and a contract was made with the Hook-Hastings Company to inspect it, twenty-four times a year, and make minor repairs and adjustments. The same company is still doing so. While the Meeting of the 16th March was a long one, and there is not much doubt which of "the affairs of the Parish" was discussed at length, the Trustees were not yet ready to announce a definite decision, and the subject of the new Rector was not referred to. It is worth noting, however, that even at this time, with the Pulpit to be filled every Sunday, and Lent upon them, the Trustees showed no sign of panic, and "respectfully declined" the proposition of the Reverend Mr. Bouchier, who had written from Montreal "asking permission to preach in St. Mary's Low Sunday for the purpose of presenting his work at St. Jude's, Hampstead, London."

At the Meeting of the 11th April, 1909, "The following resolution was then offered and passed by unanimous vote: Resolved that in recognition of the long and faithful services of the late Rector the Rev. George M. Christian, D.D., the sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month be paid to him and that amount added to the appropriations of the current year." Mr. Hyde also offered to give $100 a month "for the benefit of the late Rector." The $125 was contributed by Haley Fiske, but the Minutes do not mention that fact.

Fr. Taylor asked for the use of the Church in connection with the forthcoming meeting of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. The request was granted, and arrangements were made for the music at the Solemn High Mass on that occasion.

Pierre Le Brun offered to have the tympanum over the main doors carved in accordance with the original plans, as a memorial to his father, Napoleon Le Brun, and Haley Fiske offered the Calvary over the doors in memory of James Burt, his predecessor as Treasurer. Both offers were accepted with thanks.

A few days later, on the 17th April, the Trustees met and began their deliberations very agreeably by receiving the Treasurer's announcement that the Easter Collections had amounted to $826.47, which was a record, and $250 more than the previous year.

Mr. Edwin S. Gorham was unanimously elected a Trustee, and is, happily for all concerned, serving in that capacity today. Mr. Gorham had evidently been apprised of his impending election, for he was [206/207] soon able to join the Meeting and be welcomed by his associates.

"The following resolution was then offered and on being duly seconded was passed unanimously: Resolved That the Very Rev. Joseph G. H. Barry, D.D. now Dean of Nashotah is elected Rector of this Parish and President of the Board of Trustees at an annual salary of five thousand dollars."

This record looks plain and simple enough, but it would be utterly impossible to estimate the effect which this action has had upon countless people, many of whom are now parishioners of St. Mary's. Probably the recollection of most of the members of the present congregation does not go further back than Dr. Barry--the Rectors of St. Mary's have each given his name to an epoch--and it gives one something of a start to realize that there was a time when his name was unknown in the Parish. To us he became as integral a part of St. Mary's as Fr. Brown had been to the previous generation.

Having settled this vitally important matter, the Trustees decided to distribute in the Church on Low Sunday "a circular relating to a memorial to the late Geo. B. Prentice Mus. Doc."

The Trustees met again on the 10th May, 1909, at which time "The Secretary reported that he had received a letter from the Rev. Dr. Barry accepting his election. Dr. Barry then entered the Meeting and took the Chair as President of the Board."

Although the Parish had nominally been without a Rector for only about six weeks, it had actually been without its constitutional and logical head for a long time, and there were no doubt many loose ends to gather up. Even the brevity and formality of Beverly Chew's Minutes cannot conceal the fact that the new President of the Trustees was not the man to leave ends loose very long.

At this first Meeting he plunged into the business of the Board, and we find it recorded that many decisions were made, and considerable work undertaken. A Mrs. Terry had laid claim to certain pieces of furniture in the Clergy House, which were supposed to belong to Fr. Kent. The matter had been in abeyance for some months, but it was now decided to turn the furniture over to Mrs. Terry.

Dr. Barry's first act as President of the Board was to nominate Fr. Dunham as curate of the Parish, and to arrange that he receive [207/208] three months' leave of absence with full pay, and $100 additional, "in recognition of his faithful services."

The bell, and the roofs of the Church were reported to be in need of repair and "The Treasurer was authorized to expend whatever sum may be necessary to" put them in good order. Dr. Barry's influence may be detected in this ordering necessary work to be done without the delay of securing estimates. No such entry had appeared in the records for many years. While in no sense a man ignorant of the value of money, Dr. Barry was always more interested in having important things done than in discussing the way to do them.

The question of having Sisters attached to the Parish had been laid before him, and in the record of this first Meeting over which he presided appears the following characteristic entry: "The Rector announced that the community of the Holy Nativity had consented to send a proper number of Sisters to work in the Parish. And on motion $100 per month was appropriated for their expenses." That is an excellent example of Dr. Barry's method: Sisters were necessary, arrange to have Sisters, provide some money for Sisters, and leave the details to the Sisters.

At the June Meeting the Rector nominated the Reverend Anthony E. Van Elden as curate; and was authorized to employ Fr. Henkle during the summer, if necessary.

As was to be expected, certain repairs were needed in the Rectory, Clergy House and Mission House, and these were ordered made at a cost of $1,450.

When the Trustees convened in the autumn, the papers of application for Holy Orders of Gerald Horton Lewis, a parishioner, were ordered signed. The inevitable accumulation of routine matters was disposed of after the summer recess, but none of them was of sufficient interest now to record here.

In November, Dr. Christian presented to the Parish his white Chasuble and his Chalice and Paten. They were accepted and the grateful acknowledgments of the Board were made to Dr. Christian.

The tenant of 155 West 46th Street had asked for permission to apply for a liquor license, but, after considerable deliberation, the Board declined the request.

The Summer Home at Keyport was the principal business of the [208/209] Annual Meeting, 13th December, 1909. It appears that Miss Hoffman had been in charge during the summer, and she had reported a deficiency of $669.70. In addition a bill for supplies amounting to $100 was presented, and various neighbors of the Home filed claims for alleged damage done by the boys. So discouraging did the prospects of the Summer Home appear to be, that it was proposed to sell, the property and to discontinue that activity of the Parish. The matter of the sale, however, was laid over for further consideration, and it is not hard to divine whence the objection to selling it came.

In view of recent developments, it is interesting to find this entry: "Mr. Fogarty was requested to inspect the boilers of the Church heating plant for the purpose of determining whether they can be safely repaired or whether it will be necessary to install new ones." Fogarty's report favored the latter course, and the estimate of the Baker-Smith Company of $1,073 for a new boiler, and $159 for covering pipes was accepted.

During the year 1909 Mrs. Burt presented a handsome carved and decorated portable altar with its ornaments for use at the Children's Masses, in memory of her late husband, for many years Treasurer of the Corporation.


With the beginning of the new year the new Rector began to inaugurate certain changes which he felt to be necessary. The Trustees realized that they now had a leader who would show the way, and they fell in behind him and gave him all the support they could. A contract for wiring was made with the Western Electric Company and for fixtures with the Mitchell-Vance Company, and soon electric lighting began to make its appearance generally throughout the Church and its buildings. It is true that gas, as a means of lighting, was not completely expelled until the summer of 1930, but it began to be displaced by electricity within the first year of Dr. Barry's Rectorship.

The matter of the music was next considered, and the Regular Meeting of the 14th January was adjourned to the 24th, at which time Mr. Fleming, the Organist and Musical Director appeared before the Board. No one other than a Trustee had done so since the new buildings were being erected. The outcome of these two Meetings [209/210] was that Mr. Fleming was given authority to make such contracts with the four soloists, and such arrangements with the chorus and orchestra as he thought best, provided the cost of the music did not exceed $8,000 for the current year. It is not definitely stated, but it seems probable that the authority of the Musical Director had not been absolute as regards the music since the retirement of Dr. Prentice, until this arrangement, which was reduced to writing, was made with Mr. Fleming.

The subject of the music had claimed so much attention in January that the usual reports had to be deferred to the Meeting of the 23 rd February. At that time the Treasurer was able to announce that there were 307 pledges, or 32 more than the previous year, and that the total amount pledged was $8,455.80, being an increase of $670.

Dr. Barry being the first unmarried Rector, had arranged for the curates to live in the Rectory, and, as no part of the Clergy House was now used as living rooms a reduction in the assessment on that portion of the property was claimed.

Changes were going on outside the Church as well as within, and yet another hotel, the Longacre, applied for permission to seek a liquor license. Each of these applications indicates a change in the character of the neighborhood, and points to the fact that fewer parishioners were living near the Church.

At this Meeting the "Rector announced that Miss Florence Jones had given $300 for a library for the use of the Parish, the same to be under the charge of the Sisters."

In April the Rector was authorized to appoint a third Curate, and he nominated the Reverend H.B.B. La Ferre, who was at once confirmed. The mention of this name will no doubt call up many pleasant memories, and none pleasanter than the way in which he sang the High Mass. It is probably no injustice to the others to say that no Curate of St. Mary's, within the past twenty years, excelled Fr. La Ferre in this particular.

The amount assessed against the Parish for Missions was $600, and at the May Meeting Dr. Barry reported that $705 had been raised. He took no personal credit for this achievement, which was, and would be now, most unusual in the annals of St. Mary's, but there is no doubt that he was the prime mover in the efforts, as he was of most [210/211] of the Parish activities from the time he came to St. Mary's until his health failed. Those who have only known Dr. Barry during the last few years of his Rectorship have but a faint conception of the energy with which he worked to lay the foundations of the splendid structure he later raised. His chief interests were probably the children and the pulpit, and it may give some idea of his early labors to say that during his first two years at St. Mary's he delivered three hundred sermons or addresses.

In the record of the Meeting of the 14th November, 1910, we encounter a name that has been very familiar to most of us. The thanks of the Board were "extended to Sister Harriet for the satisfactory and economical management of the Summer Home." A few months before the Trustees had been on the point of considering the sale of the Keyport property, but had been persuaded by Dr. Barry to open the Home for one summer more. So disgusted were the Trustees with the whole matter that they rented the property from October to June for the handsome sum of $20 a month. At the expiration of the lease, Sister Harriet took charge and Dr. Barry raised the interest in the Summer Home and the money to run it. Nothing more is heard of damage suits, but instead, at the end of the season Sister Harriet reported that she had spent $1,763.75, and she returned $355 of unexpended funds.

At this Meeting, as at very many others, there was evidence that the Trustees considered nothing small that concerned St. Mary's. They went exhaustively into the subject of fire insurance, and increased that on the Church and its contents to $302,000; and "on motion the Treasurer was authorized to purchase a vacuum cleaner for use in the Church."

The Annual Meeting of 1910 was held on the 19th December, and transacted the routine business that pertains to such occasions. A further indication of the change in the character of the neighborhood came in the form of "a letter protesting against the ringing of the Church bell, especially at 7:30 A.M."

The Rector was requested to look up the statues that formerly were on the Altar in the old Church with a view to placing them in the Church, if found suitable; and Mr. Daingerfield was requested to "investigate [211/212] the condition of the paintings formerly on the wall of the old Church." Unfortunately, although diligent search was made, no trace has ever been found of either the statues or pictures.

Project Canterbury