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.


Even in the short time of his Rectorship the ability of Dr. Barry as a preacher and administrator had made itself felt, and when the Treasurer presented his appropriations for the year 1911 they were approved without alarm, although the total was $30,447.76. As a further evidence of confidence, and of confidence in him, the Rector's salary was increased. The beginnings of the two previous years had been so full, one of Dr. Christian's resignation and the next the difficulties with the music, that the annual appropriations were not included in the Minutes, but those of 1908 amounted to $26,932.87. In the three years the Diocesan assessment had been increased from $425 to $1,105. This sum the Trustees agreed to pay, but they instructed the Treasurer to protest against the apportionment of $3,315 for the General Missions of the Church.

The objection to paying this amount was evidently considered by the Diocesan authorities to be well founded, for the apportionment was reduced to $750, which sum the Board, at the April Meeting, appropriated. Curiously enough the assessment, against which no protest had been made, was reduced by $15.

St. Cyprian's Chapel had asked for the Organ in St. Joseph's Hall, but the request was declined. There had been some discussion on the subject of discontinuing the Kindergarten, but on the Rector's expressing belief that he could raise the $750 necessary to run it for a year it was decided to keep it open.

During this spring the Corporation was ordered to install a fire-escape on the front of the Mission House, and for a time there seemed to be no way of avoiding this disfiguration; but the authorities at length consented to its being placed on the back of the building, and this was done at a cost of $600.

Toward the appropriation of $750 for Missions the sum of $933.80 had been collected, and the overplus of $183.80 was sent to Fr. Staunton in the Philippine Islands. To the same distant field, Thomas Henningsen, [212/213] who had been an acolyte in St. Mary's for a long time, was about to depart as a missionary worker, and $250 was presented to him when he left to join Bishop Brent's staff.

As an evidence of the spirit in which the Trustees took their responsibilities, the following entry is worth noting: "On motion a leave of absence for six weeks was voted to the Treasurer to permit him to take a trip to England."

In June the Friars Club was considering the purchase of 151 and 153 West 46th Street, and Leopold Weil, the real estate broker who was trying to negotiate the sale, had asked the Board if it would oppose the Club's application for a liquor license in the event of its acquiring the property. The usual answer was made: that the Church would not oppose. The same attitude was taken in the autumn toward the applications of the Hotel Somerset and the Douglass.

During this season the Summer Home was again satisfactorily managed by Sister Harriet, and when the house was closed certain repairs were made and the launch was put in storage.


By the first Meeting of this year, 8th January, 1912, the affairs of the Corporation were on the sound and orderly basis upon which they remained for many years. Dr. Barry's influence dominated the Board and the Parish, and in spiritual matters he reigned supreme. Haley Fiske had practically sole charge of all matters of business, and these two strong able men sought or accepted little help from others For the most part the Minutes record actions which had already been taken, and which were referred to the Board only for formal ratification.

At this Meeting the Treasurer announced the appropriations for the current year, amounting to $29,680.76, and reported that the cost of advertising the Church Services in the Hotels of the City was now $40.

The appropriation for the Music was still mounting, but had not yet reached that for salaries, being $8,400 for this year, while the latter was $10,700. Only $300 was devoted to the Mission House, and one wonders how the rest of the money was raised, for the Sisters certainly could not have lived on $25 a month, even in 1912.

[214] The departure from the Parish of Fr. Dunham was announced at the February Meeting, when the Rector proposed to have only two Curates, and suggested that their salaries be increased from $1,000 to $1,200 a year. The suggestion was adopted; and this matter, with the report of a small fire in 146 West 47th Street, were the only entries beyond those of the usual routine business.

Yet another request for permission to apply for a liquor license was laid before the Board at its Meeting of the 18th March, this time by J. R. Edwards, of 143 West 47th Street. As usual, investigation was made, which proved satisfactory in this case, and Edwards was advised that the Corporation would not oppose his application.

Reference has been made before to the brevity of some of Beverly Chew's records, and this Meeting furnished another example. "The lead box from the Corner Stone of the old Church in 45th Street was brought in and opened in the presence of the Board." This entry is followed by a list of the contents of the lead box, which was given in the early portion of this volume, but we are not told where the box had been, or why it made its appearance at this Meeting. That it was not put in the Corner Stone of the new Church is understandable, but what disposition had been made of these then historic relics for the past fifteen years?

At this Meeting the Corporation finally closed the sale of the Sears property, in Marshalltown, Iowa. While this fact cannot bring to the reader anything like the satisfaction it brings to the compiler, it is nevertheless worth recording. The Sears property came to the Church as part of the legacy from Miss Cooke, and it appears in the Minutes more frequently, and was the cause of more difficulty to the Trustees, than all the other holdings put together. Haley Fiske and Dr. Knight had each gone out to see it, and the local agent had written letters out of number about it. Over and over again the Board thought it had been sold, and every time the transaction collapsed before it was completed. But this time it really was sold, and in consequence the Church became, finally, $7,000 richer in money.

As many of the present Parishioners know, Dr. Barry was deeply interested in the ornamentation and decoration of the Church, but, what is probably not so well known, he was the first to adopt the plan of deciding what was wanted and then endeavoring to get it, [214/215] rather than waiting for gifts which represented only the donors' individual tastes and which bore no reference to any general scheme for beautifying the Church. The beginning of this definite policy is worth recording: "On motion the Rector was authorized to accept figures to be carved in oak according to the designs approved by the architect, to be placed on the pillars. The estimated cost of each figure is $500." Thus the plan was in existence before donations had been received to carry it out. The next person who desired to erect a memorial, would be given the choice of a figure, and his memorial would become an integral part of the decoration of the Church. This was Dr. Barry's invariable method, and he always had an assortment of necessary additions to the beautifying of the Church ready to suggest, at a wide range of costs.

Tangible evidence of the Rector's ability and success was reported to the Meeting of the 8th April, when the Easter Collection was announced to have been $3,019.26. Such a sum would not gratify the present Treasurer very deeply, but it was more than three times as large as the Easter Collection which had been especially reported a few years before as the record, and was $170 more than that of the previous year.

A parishioner, at that time unnamed, had offered to give a Rood Beam and five statues, and a tentative design was exhibited. The Rector, to whom this offer had been made, reported that the designer had been requested to come to New York to consult with Le Brun; and the Trustees accepted the gift, provided the final plans should prove to be satisfactory to the Rector and the architect.

A Special Meeting was also held during this month for the sole purpose of recommending "to the Bishop for ordination to the Diaconate Mr. Gerald H. Lewis, a member of the Parish." The recommendation was made, and, the formal papers having been signed, were forwarded to the Standing Committee.

At the Regular Meeting of the 13th May, Mr. Charles C. Marshall was elected a Trustee. His acceptance was evidently anticipated, for as soon as he was elected he was introduced, and took part in the further deliberations of the Board.

The definite plans of the Rood Beam had been agreed upon, and the work was promised to be completed in September. It was also [215/216] reported that certain carvings for the Altar of the Lady Chapel were ready to be put in position. Two massive candlesticks for use in the Sanctuary were given by Haley Fiske.

The Rector announced that he had engaged the Reverend Mr. Ross as Curate for the four summer months. He also reported that Mrs. George T. Bliss had presented "The Marriage of the Virgin," by della Robbia, and that he had ordered it erected on the east wall of St. Elizabeth's Hall.--It is clear that Dr. Barry already planned to make this a chapel, but he was not yet ready to announce the change.

At the next Meeting, however, he had the funds in hand, and he "announced a gift of $2,000 to convert St. Elizabeth's Hall into a chapel to be known as St. Joseph's Chapel." Several designs for accomplishing this were submitted, and that by Mr. Mason selected.

"The papers of Thomas Henningsen as a postulant for holy orders in the diocese of Fond du Lac" were ordered signed; and "the design for the Jones memorial tablet was submitted and approved." From this we learn that Miss Florence Jones was the donor of the Rood Beam, which she gave in memory of her brother, William Jones.

An evidence of the increased financial prosperity of the Corporation appears in the record of its entering into a contract to have the streets in front of the Church sprinkled for $2.50 a week.

During the summer St. Joseph's Chapel had been completed, but of course the cost had exceeded the estimate, and the difference was made up by the Corporation.

The inevitable summer work had also been done on the Organ, and it was evidently realized that it would have to be done often again, for $101 was appropriated for permanent scaffolding.

Once more the Summer Home had concluded a successful season, and the Sister in charge had had the additional responsibility of supervising certain repairs which had been entrusted to her to be made. For this double duty, "It was moved to express to Mother Harriet the appreciation of this Board for the good work she had accomplished at the Summer Home." Whether the new title was one to which our old friend could justly lay claim, or was only part of the appreciation of the Board, is not within the knowledge of the present writer.


As usual at the January Meeting the appropriations for the year were fixed, and amounted for 1913 to $30,269.76, which was an increase of $589 over those of the previous year. It is pleasant to note that this year $900 was apportioned to the Mission House. It was in no wise commensurate with the value of the Sister's services--nor is the present appropriation, for that matter--but it was an improvement over the $300 previously allotted. The matter of safeguarding the beach at the Summer Home was brought up for discussion, and a contract was entered into for constructing a bulkhead at the cost of $6.38 per foot.

In February the Treasurer announced that he would be absent from the City for about a month, and, for the first time, authority wa9 given Mr. Dohrman as Assistant Treasurer, to sign cheques. This was a more workmanlike proceeding than that of appointing some other Trustee as Treasurer pro tern, which had formerly been done.

There is no record to show where choir practices had been held up to this time, but in March Mr. Fleming, the Organist, asked for the use of the Ladies work-room for that purpose. The matter was referred to St. Mary's Guild, as being composed of the ladies most interested.

One of the many deficiencies of this Story, and one which it is hoped will be supplied should another edition be warranted, is the absence of information about the Guilds of the Parish, some of which have been in existence for many years and have done work which cannot be too highly extolled, and which has been of great benefit to the life of the Parish. The first of the Guild's, St. Mary's, was founded to make and care for the vestments of the Church and to supply altar linen and vestments to missions. It has been doing that work for well over fifty years and is doing it today.

St. Mary's Guild consented to the request for the use of its room, and choir practices have been held there for the past eighteen years. The Guild, however, did not occupy the room during the whole period, but moved to the gallery of St. Joseph's hall for a number of years, and has but recently returned to its former quarters.

The "high spot" of the April Meeting is usually the announcement [217/218] of the Easter Offering, which this year amounted to $3,832.48, being in excess of $800 more than that of the year previous. At this time it was voted to contribute $100 to the Bishop, upon the occasion of his visiting the Church to administer Confirmation, and this practice has become one of the traditions of the Parish.

An ambiguously brief entry records the fact that it was decided "to give to Mrs. Lloyd Williams an order on Cottier and Co. for a certain memorial window formerly in the old Church."

Considerable work had been done at the Summer Home, and when the Trustees assembled for the Meeting of the 12th May, 1913, they approved bills for work done on the house in the sum of $1,181.16, and also authorized the payment of $1,898.05 for the bulkhead.

At this Meeting "the Rector reported that he had selected the Reverend Winthrop Peabody to assist in the services of the Parish during June, July and August." The Trustees confirmed the nomination, but it is safe to say that they had then no foreshadowing of the effect of this temporary appointment or of what was to flow in the fullness of time from the loyal, devoted ministrations of this Godly and self-effacing Priest. Through the years that were to come, through the changes that for long impended and that finally broke upon St. Mary's, he stood staunchly loyal to it and "to the things that cannot change"; and has been such help and such support to many, members and strangers alike, as has been given to few men in the quiet places of this world to be.

Although St. Elizabeth's Hall had been converted into St. Joseph's Chapel, it was not equipped as Dr. Barry wished it to be, and he announced at this time a donation of $2,000 for a carved ceiling, and "that the Crucifix and other Altar ornaments" had been purchased at a cost of $465. He had also the expectation of a donation for a new floor.

Dr. Christian had died the 5th October, 1913, and when the Trustees convened after the summer recess, on the 20th October, they passed the following Resolution: "Since the last meeting of this Board our former Rector, the Rev. George M. Christian, D.D. has been released from his sufferings and called to the rest that awaits the faithful.

"While it is not possible to mourn over the ending of the long years of pain he endured so bravely and with such resignation to God's will, [218/219] it is fitting for us to record in these minutes our admiration for his character and our thankfulness for the abundant labours he was enabled to perform for Christ and his church.

"Coming to this Parish on the death of its Founder Fr. Brown, his position was one of great delicacy, and one that required special ability to carry on the Parish successfully. His broad kindly nature was fully equal to the task and inspired at once renewed activity in the Parish

"His sermons were strong in defence of Catholic Faith and practise, and attracted much attention outside as well as within the Parish.

"The loss of his strong personality is indeed a grievous one to the Church and to the presentation of Catholic Faith and doctrine of which he was so valiant a defender.

"This Board offers to Mrs. Christian and his children its most sincere sympathy.

"Grant him, O Lord, Eternal Rest and may Light Perpetual shine upon him, Amen."

The Treasurer made the usual report of changes in investments during the summer, and discussed the general financial situation of the Parish. That infallible barometer of the preacher's ability, the open collections, was rising, steadily, and the Treasurer was able to announce that the income from that source for the nine months, ending 30th September, had been $7,415.29 as against $6,432.91 for the like period of 1912.

The Rector nominated the Reverend George Lascelle as a curate in place of Fr. Van Elden, who had resigned. He announced the gift of $125 for vases for St. Joseph's Chapel; and reported that $2,700 had been collected for the Summer Home, and that $2,000 had been spent, exclusive of repairs. Sister Harriet again received the thanks of the Board for her economical management of the Home and for her devoted services.

Consent was readily granted to Mrs. Christian's request for permission to erect a tablet in the Church to the memory of Dr. Christian.

The Rector was quietly pursuing his plan of bringing the equipment and decoration of the Church to what he considered to be the proper standard, and at this Meeting he was authorized to order a credence table and book-rest for St. Joseph's Chapel at a cost of $500.

[220] At the Annual Meeting, 8th December, 1913, it was decided that the central Chancel window should be the Parish memorial to Dr. Christian, that the window be ordered from Kempe, and that a circular be distributed through the Parish calling for subscriptions and asking for $2,500, the estimated price of the window.


The cost of the music was steadily advancing, and in 1914 $9,286 was appropriated for it. The total appropriations amounted to $31,466.73, $1,196.97 more than those of 1913.

By the first Meeting of the year, 12th January, 1914, $2,000 had been received toward the memorial window to Dr. Christian.

The Rector nominated The Reverend Henry C. Dyer to be curate without salary.

It is doubtful if the organ in St. Joseph's Hall had ever been used enough to justify its having been installed there, and it is certain that it had not been played for a long time; at this Meeting it was ordered sold for $400. It was sent to the Sanatorium of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, at Mount McGregor, but was not satisfactory there and was soon removed.

The subscriptions for the window in memory of Dr. Christian exceeded the necessary amount by more than $500. When the Trustees met on the 13th April, $500 had been given by the Veterans' Association of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, of which Dr. Christian had been Chaplain, and it was suggested that this sum be used for one of the statues that the Rector wished to have placed on the pillars of the Nave.

The application of Charles Hancock Wentz for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Fond du Lac was signed and the certificate forwarded to Bishop Weller.

Dr. Barry, true to his interest in the young people, had appealed for an adequate gymnasium to take the place of the low dark room which had been used as such in the basement of the Clergy House. The estimated cost of altering the upper portion of that building so as to provide a good gymnasium was $10,000, and this sum Haley Fiske generously offered to give at the rate of $1,000 a year. The offer was [220/221] gratefully accepted, and in May the contract for the work was let to the Edward Corning Company.

By the first Meeting in the autumn, the two memorials to Dr. Christian, the central Chancel window, and the statue of St. John, together with suitable tablets, had been put in place.

Sister Harriet wished to enlarge the dining room at the Summer Home at a cost of $300, and was authorized to do so, "she undertaking to raise the money from those entertained there during the summer."

The war clouds over Europe had not come close to the United States yet, but we find the following entry in the records of the Meeting of the 13th October, the first since the War began: "On motion the collection on October 14th was ordered sent to the Belgian Relief Fund."

The memorial to Dr. Prentice, which had taken the form of a statue of St. Cecilia, had been placed on the exterior) front of the Church, with a suitable tablet in the vestibule, and the Treasurer was able to report in November that it had been wholly paid for by subscriptions.

D. Everett Wade, the architect of the gymnasium, at this time reported the completion of his work, and received the thanks of the Board; he would receive no remuneration for his services. The Church Mission of Help was first mentioned in the records in connection with a collection made for that excellent charity, which amounted to $355.

Once more we find that "Mother Harriet" had led the Summer Home through a successful season. Her report shows that she received $2,000 "from subscriptions," $100 from the sale of the launch, and $205.50 from those who had paid board. She had spent $1,200 for food, and $999.64 for all else, and returned to the Treasurer a surplus of $105.86. Again she received the thanks of the Board, which there can be no doubt she richly deserved.

A threatened invasion of 46th Street by a Moving Picture Theatre, which for a time contemplated the acquisition of the property directly opposite the Church, caused some anxiety, but that danger, as have so many others, passed St. Mary's safely by.


Probably due in part to the fear and unsettlement caused by the War, the previous year (1914) had been closed with a deficit of $3,030, but this in no way alarmed the Trustees, who, at the Meeting of the 18th January, 1915, approved the appropriations for the current year in the amount of $31,965.23, being an increase of $498.50 over those of 1914.

At the Meeting of the 10th May, the Treasurer announced the receipt of $1,000, "collected from a life insurance policy on George L. Pegram." Sometimes the Secretary's records leave one in a state of not altogether delightful uncertainty.

The statue of St. Peter had been placed on one of the pillars by Beverly Chew as a memorial to his late wife, and the Treasurer announced that a suitable tablet would be erected within two weeks. The Rector's plan was bearing fruit, and these statues are far more important and imposing than isolated and unrelated memorials would have been.

The Reverend Charles Taylor was engaged as Curate for the summer from the 1st June.

"The papers for the ordination of Thomas Henningsen were presented for certification, and on motion were ordered signed."

In the records of the June Meeting is another of the brief entries which the lapse of time has rendered mysterious, not to say obscure: "Mr. Dohrman was authorized to testify in the suit of Bain vs. St. Ignatius Church." Why was Bain suing St. Ignatius Church, and how was the then Assistant Treasurer concerned?

It was decided to contribute $100 a year for Religious Education; and to offer "to instruct any children sent from the Public School opposite our building." A Miss Davis was apprised of these two decisions, but one is left in considerable doubt as to who Miss Davis was.

Owing to the condition of his health, Fr. La Ferre was obliged to resign, and the Trustees were notified that he would leave the Parish on the 1st September.

At the first Meeting of the autumn, the 4th October, 1915, several matters were laid before the Board which are of more than average [222/223] interest. "The Rector nominated Rev. Charles Winthrop Peabody as curate." Fr. Peabody had made a favorable impression during the summer he had served St. Mary's, and now that it was possible for him to return, he was cordially welcomed to the post he still adorns with such steadfast loyalty.

A graceful action was done at this Meeting, when the Board made an appropriation "for the purpose of procuring certain books chosen by the Rector, to be presented to the Rev. Thomas Henningsen in token of appreciation from the Trustees."

The Rector reported that Miss Florence Jones proposed to add to her already munificent gifts by presenting a Chancel window and tablet in memory of her parents. At the same time the statue of St. James the Less was given as a memorial to the late Mrs. Newell, who had recently died, and whose husband had been buried from the Church nineteen years before; and the statue of St. James the Great was presented by Mrs. Harlan Cleveland. The Rector also announced that a statue of the Blessed Virgin had been procured for St. Joseph's Chapel.

One of Dr. Barry's outstanding characteristics is loyalty to his friends. Both Fr. La Ferre and Fr. Lascelle had been associated with him at Nashotah, and he had brought them to be with him at St. Mary's. There was yet another and older friend than either of these whom he had wished to join him in his work, and the following entry records an event which gave him considerable pleasure and satisfaction. "The Rector then nominated the Rev. Dr. Selden Peabody Delany as a member of the Staff of St. Mary's." It will be noticed that Dr. Delany is not referred to by the usual term, "a curate in the Parish." There is no doubt that he came upon a different footing than that of any other curate who had ever been at St. Mary's, and it is also a fact that he came with the understanding that he was to become Rector, when Dr. Barry should retire from that post. This arrangement was probably illegal and was certainly ill-advised, but it was to have important consequences at a later date.

During the past season the Summer Home had done its share to promote the health and pleasure of some of the parishioners, but it had closed with a deficit of $107. This had no effect upon the Board, and it is agreeable to note that the usual vote of thanks was given to [223/224] Sister Harriet. The Trustees of St. Mary's have so often been accused of being solely men of business, who gauged all things by the financial standard only, that it is pleasant, if for no other reason than that of novelty, to find them occasionally giving evidence of recognizing some other criterion than dollars and cents.

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament expressed a desire to have its Annual Requiem in St. Mary's, and the request was gladly granted and full music ordered.

During this year another gift from Miss Florence Jones, a beaten silver tablet representing the Epiphany, was placed on the wall near the Choir.


The appropriations for the year 1916 rose to $34,269.23. The increase of $2,304 over those of the previous year was largely due to the higher salary of one of the curates.

In spite of the War, which was every day coming nearer to enfolding the United States in its deadly grip, Dr. Barry went steadily on with his efforts to beautify and adorn the Church he had come to love. At this first Meeting of the year he announced the acquisition of a bell for St. Joseph's Chapel, and of a statue of St. Elizabeth given in memory of Mrs. Eliza Verplanck Richards.

R. G. Morris, of 120 and 122 West 47th Street made the customary request in reference to a liquor license, with the usual result. These numerous requests serve to indicate the character of the neighborhood in which St. Mary's bears testimony to Christ. It is not a fashionable neighborhood, and a person with a strict regard for truth would probably hesitate to call it entirely respectable, but it shelters those who need the Saviour perhaps as much as the dwellers in more select sections of the City. The men and women who founded St. Mary's were not afraid to carry the Gospel into an unsavory neighborhood--for it was that even in those days--and it is to be hoped that their successors will not be afraid to keep it in an even more unsavory neighborhood--for it is certaintly that in these days.

During this winter the Rector had been soliciting subscriptions to the Endowment Fund, and at the February Meeting he was able to announce that they now amounted to $27,500. Dr. Barry may have [224/225] been a mystic, but both his feet were on the ground, nevertheless, and he knew better than any one could tell him that St. Mary's financial committments were too large to be safe unless she could rely upon a greater fixed income than she had. He worked early and late to put as far away as he could the danger of financial stringency, and he did it by the practical method of increasing the Endowment Fund.

The presentation of a silver and ebony processional Crucifix was reported by the Rector, but the identity of the donor is not disclosed.

Of the $1,000 collected in the Missionary Fund, it was decided to send $500 to Fr. Staunton for his mission of St. Mary the Virgin in the Philippines, $250 to Bishop Williams of Marquette and $250 to Bishop Weller of Fond du Lac.

The Brotherhood of St. Andrew was to hold an evening service in the Church, and the Board voted to provide supper for the visiting members.

In the report which the Sister in charge rendered of the progress of the Summer Home, Sister Harriet announced that the work done in the dining room had cost $652.34, and that the expense was being borne by the Guild of St. Mary of the Cross and the Girls Friendly Society.


At the first Meeting of the year 1917 the Rector announced that he would celebrate the thirtieth Anniversary of his Ordination on the Feast of the Purification, the 2nd February; that the Bishop of Milwaukee would preach at High Mass, and that a Parish Reception would be held on the day before.

He went on to say that "from the point of view of the Rector the work of the Parish during the past year has been going on in a very satisfactory manner." He paid tribute to Fr. Lascelle for his direction of the Guilds and Clubs; and to Dr. Delany for his development of the pastoral side of the work. Dr. Barry stated that the number of confessions and communions had been more than in any previous year in the history of the Parish, and that they had increased almost fifty per cent during his Rectorship of eight years.

The annual appropriations were considered and fixed at $35,401.17, an increase of $1,131.94 over those of 1916. It was decided to send [225/226] the Thanksgiving collection to "The Living Church" for work among French orphans.

The usefulness of the Summer Home for a number of years past had been such that the Trustees felt justified in increasing its facilities, and at this Meeting announcement was made of the purchase from the Jones Estate of the adjoining lot.

The Meeting of the 19th February was the first over which Dr. Barry had not presided since the 17th April, 1909, when he became President of the Board. It is probable that he remained away because he had recently preached a strong sermon on the necessity of increasing the Endowment Fund, and he wished to give the Trustees an opportunity of initiating some plan to accomplish that result. His policy, if such it was, succeeded, for practically the entire Meeting was devoted to a discussion of the matter of the Endowment Fund.

The great Church Pension Fund scheme of Bishop Lawrence was nearing completion, and in reference to it the following entry in the records of the Meeting of the 19th March, 1917, is worth transcribing: "Resolved by the Board of Trustees of the Corporation of The Society of the Free Church of St. Mary the Virgin that in obedience to the Canons of the General Convention and the Diocese of New York this Corporation accepts the assessment to assure support to the aged and disabled clergy, and to the families of deceased clergymen, payable to the Church Pension Fund, which amounts to 71/2% upon the salaries paid to the clergy connected therewith being the sum of Eight hundred and ninety-two 50/100 (892.50) dollars."

The regard which the Trustees felt for Dr. Barry, and perhaps something of their alarm at the state of his health, was reflected in the action which they took at the Meeting of the 9th April, 1917, when they granted him "an unlimited leave of absence at the full salary."

The Treasurer reported that 284 pledges for a total of $9,403.30 had been received as against 260 for $8,926 at the same date of the previous year.

General additions to the ornamentation of the Church were announced at the May Meeting, chief of which was a carved and illuminated oak ceiling for the Lady Chapel, which had been ordered from Kirchmayer from designs by Ralph Adams Cram. Kirchmayer [226/227] who carved all the wooden statues in the Church, received the order to carve the statue of St. Andrew to be placed on the pillar near the pulpit; and a third Chancel window had been ordered from Kempe, of London, by Haley Fiske as a thank offering on his thirtieth wedding anniversary.

The Rector had left New York by the time of the June Meeting, and Dr. Knight, the Vice President presided. The most important business was awarding to the Lustbarger Company the contract for making the changes to the stoops and the front of the Church necessitated by the orders of the City in connection with widening 46th Street. The work was to be done during the summer at a cost of $2,044.

On the 24th August the Trustees assembled in a Special Meeting to confirm the nomination, sent in by Dr. Barry, of the Reverend Henry St. C. Whitehead, of Middletown, Connecticut, as curate in the Parish.

By October the Rector had returned, and he occupied the Chair at the Meeting of that month. A change was made in the method of paying the salary of the Rector, and a portion of it was applied to the running expenses of the Rectory.

Sister Harriet's annual report of the Summer Home was presented at the November Meeting, together with a balance of $18.02 which remained after paying the season's expenses. The usual expression of thanks was sent to Sister Harriett "for her efficient and successful management."

The music of the Church had long since been put on a satisfactory basis, and at this time "the Secretary was directed to write to Mr. Fleming expressing the congratulations of the Board on the completion of ten years' services as Organist and Director of the Choirs."


At the first Meeting of the year 1918, one of those curious lapses that will happen even in well-run organizations was reported, when the Treasurer announced that $323.21 had been found in the Union Square Savings Bank, where Dr. Christian had deposited it for Parish [227/228] objects. It must have remained there for about ten years, but was returned now and placed to the credit of the Endowment Fund.

The appropriations for the year were approved in the amount of $37,193, which was $1,791.83 more than those of the previous year.

Miss Karlina Schmitt had been the Contralto soloist of the Choir for twenty-six years, and she notified the Board that she intended to retire on the 1st May, whereupon "the Secretary was directed to write Miss Schmitt a letter of appreciation for her long and acceptable service as Contralto."

The Treasurer was able to make the gratifying report that on the 1st February 277 pledges had been received for the amount of $9,935.60 as against 205 for $8,895.60 at the same date of 1917. Two months later the amount of the pledges reached five figures for the first time in the history of St. Mary's, 292 having been received for the then record total of $10,329.

Throughout the summer the Rector's health had not been good, and it became necessary to call a Special Meeting in September, when the situation had to be faced. The leave of absence previously granted had not been taken for the time contemplated, but it was clear now that Dr. Barry would have to relinquish his duties for a considerable period. The Trustees took the same action as before, but the Rector objected to the salary provision, and asked that he be given but a fraction of it, and that part of the balance be paid to Dr. Delany, in consideration of his having to do some of the Rector's work in his absence. This arrangement the Board declined to make, but Dr. Barry probably had his way by apportioning his salary when he received it. The following Resolution was adopted: "The Board with great regret grants the Rector's request for an indefinite leave of absence and trusts that the change and rest will result in the complete restoration of his health."

At this Meeting the Chancel Choir, for which it had been growing increasingly difficult to recruit boys, owing to the changing character of the neighborhood, was given up.

To those who know Dr. Barry, it will not be a matter of surprise that he was in the Chair at the Annual Meeting in December, and at the other Meetings of the winter, despite his leave of absence. Dr. Delany was invited to appear before the Board at the Annual Meeting [228/229] to explain certain changes which he thought it advisable to make in the pledges. At his suggestion "the Duplicate envelope" was adopted and two pledges were ordered sent to each parishioner instead of one.

Fr. Peabody was ill in a hospital at this time, and the Rector was authorized to employ a substitute during his absence.


With the opening of the year 1919 interest in Church matters was largely centered in the "Diocesan Missionary Campaign and Every Member Canvass" which had been decided upon at the Diocesan Convention of 1918. The Board gave its support to the project, and the Rector was appointed Parish Campaign Chairman.

The annual appropriations were discussed, and were fixed at the total of $36,613.64. This amount was $579.36 less than that of 1918, which was caused largely by changes in the salary list. For the first time the approriation for music was larger than that for salaries; the former being $9,664 and the latter $9,400.

The Meeting of the 10th March, 1919, was noteworthy as being the third from which Beverly Chew had been absent since he was elected Secretary, in 1882.

Once more the organ was out of order, and this time the trouble was too serious to be remedied by the usual patching process. L. W. Donnelly, an expert in such matters, was employed, and upon his written report and recommendation Hook and Hastings were authorized to make the necessary repairs.

By the Meeting of 14th April, the Rector had begun his long-deferred leave of absence, and had made certain written requests to the Trustees which they did not feel at liberty to disregard. After some discussion, the necessary Resolutions were passed to give effect to the Rector's recommendations. The first was concerned with salary adjustments, and the others are as follows: "That the Reverend Selden P. Delany, D.D., is hereby elected Assistant Minister in charge of the Parish with the title of Associate Rector." "That the Rector shall have the right to assign to his associate such of the work of the Parish as he shall deem wise." "That the above arrangement shall take effect on September 1st, 1919."

[230] Mr. Walter S. Fleming resigned as Organist and Director of Music at this Meeting, and requested that his resignation become effective the 1st September.

Mr. Raymond V. Nold, the Assistant Director, was appointed Director of Music in his place, and was requested to secure the services of an organist.

Dr. Delany was present by invitation at the May Meeting, which was wholly occupied by routine appropriations. $12 was voted for music on the night of the Confirmation Service, and one wonders what it procured. Mr. Ernest Ball was given $100 "for his extra services," but they are not more particularly set forth. An appropriation was "made to cover the cost of printing a card containing a prayer prepared by the Rector for general distribution." For the rest, the inevitable repairs to the Mission House and Summer Home, which two edifices would seem to have been always in a bad way, were authorized, and the means provided for carrying on the work of the Parish during the summer.

Dr. Barry had returned by the autumn and presided at the Meeting of 27th October. He nominated the Reverend Carl W. Bothe as curate, to succeed Fr. Whitehead.

Dr. Barry announced the retirement from the Choir of Mrs. Maxwell, "after 30 years of devoted, effective service." A Resolution of thanks was passed, and the Secretary instructed to apprise Mrs. Maxwell of the fact.

The allowance to the Sisters was increased from $100 to $125 a month.

After the negotiations usual in such cases, the property at 146 West 47th Street was leased to the Hotel Somerset, with permission to alter the front.

Beverly Chew had been seriously ill, and was obliged to be absent from several Meetings. Dr. Knight acted as Secretary pro tern, and expressions of sympathy were sent to the faithful Secretary, at whose residence the Annual Meeting was held, as he was still not able to leave the house on the 22nd December.

A name that has since come to be very familiar at St. Mary's as that of a generous benefactor appears in the records of this Meeting for the first time: "the Secretary was directed to send a vote of thanks [230/231] from the Board to Mr. A. Hatfield, Jr., for his services in the Nationwide Campaign.'

The Rector announced the gift of a valuable Monstrance; and called attention to the fact that Matthew Carswell "is just finishing twenty-one years of devoted service as Acolyte." The Trustees authorized the Rector to purchase a Christmas present to be sent to him with a letter from Dr. Barry "expressing appreciation of the Board for his services."

On 31st December Haley Fiske formed a trust by which, over a period of years, the Parish would receive $29,172, sufficient to pay off the floating debt. No mention was made of this munificent gift in the Minutes, and it was only disclosed in the financial report.


In spite of the condition of Dr. Barry's health, which had not been robust since 1917, and which was rather a sleeping than an averted danger, affairs in the Parish were in a flourishing condition. The Rector continued to preach many of those sermons which had made him famous, and administered the Guilds and other activities with consummate ability, while pretending to have nothing to do with them. So prosperous was the Parish, that the Trustees fixed the annual appropriations at $41,336.60 being an increase of $4,722.96 over those of 1919; and the largest increase of any single year up to this time. The pledges were correspondingly larger, those for Parish Support amounting to $15,523.77 and for other objects, $9,056.80.

In March Dr. Barry announced that Miss Florence Jones had added another to her already long list of valuable gifts to St. Mary's by defraying the cost of painting the Rood Beam, and that the order for the work had been given to Kirchmayer. The Rector also announced the gift from Mrs. Arnold of two statues of heroic size, of Our Lord and Our Lady, which were to be carved by the same artist.

The Reverend Henry K. Pierce had come to the Parish as an honorary curate, and at the April Meeting he was allotted a room in the Clergy House.

From the report, which the Sisters forwarded to the Mother House, of their work at St. Mary's during the year 1919, Dr. Barry read the [231/232] following statistics to the Board: 1,438 visits made, 2,950 visits received, 130 Public Instructions, 282 Private Instructions, 153 Guild Meetings, 26 Sewing School Sessions, 44 First Confessions, and 15 Baptisms.

In June St. Clement's Church advised the Board of its plan to absorb St. Cornelius's Church, and consent was given for this amalgamation.

During the summer two more statues had been ordered for the pillars of the Nave, those of St. Matthew and St. Philip, and the statue of St. Joseph had been placed in the Lady Chapel. By many people the last-named is considered the most attractive piece of statuary in the Church. It was given, like all the other appurtenants of the Lady Chapel, by Haley Fiske.

Beverly Chew's health had not improved and at the Annual Meeting, 13th December, 1920, a letter from him was presented to the Trustees in which he announced his departure from New York, and suggested his resignation from the Board. To this his associates would not consent; but he was relieved of his duties as Secretary, which he had fulfilled with extraordinary skill and devotion for thirty-eight years, having been elected the 11th December, 1882. It would be extremely difficult to find the counterpart of his record of attendance, or to match his unswerving loyalty.

Dr. Augustus S. Knight was elected Secretary, while retaining the office of Vice President.

An application had been made for a license to operate a theatre at 1540 Broadway, and a letter from the Deputy Commissioner, Department of Licenses, was laid before the Board, asking if there was any objection on the part of the Church to the granting of such a license. The Trustees, as usual, consented.

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