At that time (the fall of 1910) there happened to be four of the leading parishes of the diocese of Chicago that were vacant. This unique condition was quite unprecedented. These were St. Peter's, Trinity, and The Church of The Redeemer, in Chicago, and Grace Church in Oak Park. I was honored by preliminary "nibbles" from all of them except The Church of The Redeemer, which was the smallest and least equipped of the four. This parish, however, under the Rev. Simon B. Blunt, had achieved, during his seven years of Rectorship, a daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Reserved Sacrament, the colored silk vestments, the occasional use of incense, and established use of Confession, the Daily Matins and Evensong, and at least twice a month the 11 a.m. Holy Eucharist on Sundays. The two Altars were completely and properly furnished with lights, and the whole atmosphere of the little church (it would hold about 500 including the chancel and choir, when filled) was Catholic instead of "Protestant Episcopalian." Besides this, it was near the great University of Chicago, most of whose buildings were situated within its parochial boundaries.
This was the kind of worshipping atmosphere which I had always coveted and longed for, and eventually I was called as Rector, and took charge on December 1, 1910. The Church leaders in New York and in the Province were very kind to me as I frankly told them that I desired to return to parish life. I felt that I was using only a very small part of my equipment as a Priest, in the missionary secretaryship, and I was quite clear that all that I could do, even with Marie's help, "on the road," could be done far better by the Bishops in the smaller dioceses, and by committees of laity as well as of leading clergy in the larger ones. The sequel has proved this opinion well founded. In Chicago, for instance, where we both were best known, the total gifts for General Missions at the close of our second year had risen from about $6,000 a year to about $9,000 a year. In the most recent year of general prosperity (1928-9), with only about 7,000 more communicants than during my secretaryship, Chicago's communicants gave $126,000 for General Missions (we called it then the National Council's Treasury), instead of $9,000. And my office of department or Provincial secretary had been vacant for more than fifteen years! So I felt that we were fully justified in resigning such a work, when such an opportunity for continuing my life as a Rector opened before us, and I was called to The Church of \ The Redeemer, Hyde Park, Chicago, corner of Washington Avenue and East Fifty-Sixth street. Washington Avenue was afterwards named Blackstone Avenue.
This parish, then of about 500 communicants, was formed not long before the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and at that time Hyde Park (or South Park, as it was originally called) was a suburban village of home-owners, with few if any apartment houses. The University of Chicago had been revived but a few years, yet then, as now, it was a leading factor in the life of the surrounding community. Our parish was self-supporting almost from the start, but the start was on a very humble scale. During the "World's Fair," as it was commonly called, the congregation worshipped in a little building whose largest room would hold about two hundred, and whose basement had two other rooms besides a tiny kitchen. This was the only building for some four years or more. Its cost was about $4,000, and it was the parish house when we arrived. As such it was one of the most used edifices in Hyde Park, for there were soon some thirty-five kinds of work going on, either during most of the year or at certain seasons, and this little parish house was the scene of most of their meetings. After the "World's Fair" the present church was built, at a cost of about $15,000, and during Dr. Blunt's Rectorship the chancel had been enlarged and a very beautiful carved wood Altar erected, all at the cost of some $6,000. Most of this chancel-cost had not been paid when we came on the scene. It took us four years to pay off this debt, and about $3,500 more, which I inherited, and on Whitsunday, May 31, 1914, the little church was consecrated. The original Altar which had served in the parish house, was moved into the church, and placed at the end of the south aisle, where it was used for some twenty years or more, for the daily Celebrations, and its tabernacle usually sheltered the Reserved Sacrament. This historic Altar, with its vestments, was given by the parish to us, in 1926, when the new parish house and chapel were built, and we moved it to our home at "Twenty Acres" on Grand Isle, Vermont, where it stands at this writing in our little oratory on the second floor. It was used for Celebrations on most of the Sundays when Marie and I occupied this winter house of ours. It sheltered the Reserved Sacrament for the days and nights just preceding Marie's death, ready for her viaticum.
We soon discovered that, at the age of forty-nine, we had really begun all over again in our parish life. The West Side is a long distance from the South Side, in this great city, and little or nothing of the work which we led for nearly a decade at The Church of The Epiphany was known in Hyde Park. To tell the truth, we were very lonely for some
months, as we found that we had to commence all over again the task of making our neighborhood and even our parishioners feel acquainted with us. When we had been two or three years at The Epiphany, we were well known throughout the West Side. "On the road" we were always introduced by our connection with the Church Missions House in New York, and with its officials. But in Hyde Park all this amounted to very little, outside a limited circle, and we were strangers with our way to make, as it was in the beginning of our Chicago life, a dozen years earlier. We frankly found it a bit difficult, but Marie rose to the situation with all her unconquerable humor, and we laughed it off until this was no longer necessary.
Another element in our South Side life was unique. For the first time in my ministry my "tools" were of less use to me than ever before. Never before had I found myself and my parish of so little consequence in the community. In Calvary, New York, we were members of one of the leading parishes in that great diocese. In St. James's, Chicago, we were unusually conspicuous because of the prominence of the historic old parish. In Atchison, our congregation was almost the largest in the diocese, and one of the largest in that little city. In St. Joseph, we also had one of the largest parishes in the diocese, and our people were among the leaders in the business and social life of that solid city. The Church of The Epiphany, Chicago, was equipped with a beautiful building of such size and architectural charm that it was for many years one of four churches of any kind in all Chicago that were "starred" by Baedecker's "Guide to Chicago." And there was not another Prayer Book church in any city in the whole world that had 500,000 people living within thirty minutes' ride of its doors, with no other similar church of equal size to compete with it.
But in Hyde Park, our building was far exceeded by St. Paul's Church, seven blocks distant. And this sister congregation was fifty per cent larger than ours, with two or more available dollars to our one. And its general atmosphere was far more congenial to the University of Chicago's neighborhood than was ours. Our dear little brick church, utterly unpretentious, with its large roof and perfectly plain windows, was almost the only church building in Hyde Park that was not pictured on the local postcards found in the surrounding stores.
When we arrived, our organ was small, with but two ranks of keys, and though our music was always good, our organization, in 1910, was not accorded much influence in the neighborhood. There was no Rectory, and our little parish house was as unpretentious as the church. In diocesan circles, St. Paul's, as the "mother church" of the South Side, was of much greater prominence than was ours, and altogether, as we discovered the features of our new environment, we had come to a place where we had to row up-stream if at all. This was simply a challenge to Marie, and therefore to myself. For the first time since our life in St. Joseph, she was able to devote all of her energies and abilities to the parish, and this she did from the very first to the last week of our nearly nineteen years of wonderful life and of parish growth in Hyde Park. Of course I never asked from her one ounce of strength or one moment of time, so far as helping in the parish was concerned. This was my attitude from the beginning. Yet she threw herself into the work, always, as far as her strength and time would permit, and here, to repeat, she was able to give it all to the parish.
Fr. Blunt, my very able predecessor, had resigned several weeks before we arrived, yet the people had loyally stayed by the parish, and we found a kindly welcome on December 1st. Our last expedition as "Department secretary" and wife was at Joliet, Illinois, where the Men's Club of Christ Church had arranged a dinner with addresses on missionary themes. I was with distinguished speakers at this finale, for the others were Charles E. Field, by far the most eloquent and attractive lay speaker in the diocese of Chicago, and Dean Shailer Mathews, internationally known, of the University of Chicago Divinity School. This men's meeting was a corollary to the great "Men's Missionary Meetings" among the Protestants generally, that made such a sensation all over the nation that year. I was one of the speakers at thirteen of these great meetings of men, when from 800 to 3,500 men would gather at dinner, and the programmes occupied the mornings as well as the afternoons and evenings. My usual place was the "inspirational" twenty minutes at the close of the morning sessions, though I occasionally spoke in the evenings also. I made some good friends among the rather remarkable "crew" of this extraordinary affair, and I learned a great deal about the real strength of Protestantism, as well as about its weaknesses.
So we finished our missionary travels at Joliet. Marie stayed over for the morning of the next day, to address the women, so she really finished that interesting chapter in our work together for our Lord and His Church. An amusing anti-climax on my part was that I carelessly took the south-bound train at about 9 A.M. (the two trains meet at Joliet within a few minutes of the same time), and I had to cool my heels in a little country town all the rest of the morning, while waiting for the north-bound noon train. When I finally boarded it, and reached Joliet, imagine my feelings when I saw Marie, escorted by a bevy of friends, board the same train. I fled to the smoking car, and at a psychological moment I entered her car, to her decided consternation as well as subsequent amusement. So ended my missionary travels. The south-bound conductor mildly asked me if I had "asked the trainman on entering earlier in the morning," and I had to admit "No." "Well," he commented, regardless of my 60,000 miles of travel, "it's always a good plan to ask where your train is going." And I do it now, for even the suburbans!
We had to move our furniture from the flat at Ashland Boulevard and York street, and Marie finally picked out our Hyde Park apartment at 5701 Washington Avenue (afterwards Blackstone Avenue). Judge Rush was our landlord, and the apartment was a pretty one, on the third floor. We had seven rooms, with two bath-rooms, and I fitted up one of the rooms as my study and office, for there was no room in the little parish house which I could solely use for such purposes. We stayed in this apartment for five years, and Marie fitted it up with our belongings until it was a bower of beauty, as were all of our homes. Her magic touch placed every picture and every piece of furniture just where it would adorn and serve to the best advantage. We brought from Win-ooski, Vermont, one after the other, three sisters of a family known for years to Marie's parents. These girls made excellent maids for us, and two of them afterwards married, while the third, Eugenie, gradually acquired her own home some three or four miles south of us. She became one of the maids in a wealthy family when we retired in 1929. So Evelyn Le Clair came to us, and stayed with us until her marriage.
Our first year at The Redeemer was, of course, our hardest, for, as was stated above, we were almost strangers, and had to make our way step by step. My first confirmation class was one of the smallest in my ministry, for I knew so few whom I could invite into the class. These circumstances soon began to change, however, for the better, for the parish was well supplied with able, intelligent, and loyal people, and they soon began to respond to our leadership. This was especially true among the women, for Marie at once went to work to develop the organized activities among the fine women with whom we were destined to become so closely identified as the years accumulated.
When we arrived, we found a few organizations well established, but working so independently of each other that there was very little cohesion or cooperation. So Marie set to work to remedy all this by a masterly plan, framed in part after the pattern of the most successful clubs of women which she had known in previous years. She was, I think, a local pioneer in this, as in so many other activities. She wanted to form one big parochial society of women, to which all the women in the parish could belong, and whose demands would be so simple and limited that scarcely any woman who might be invited to join would find it possible to decline. There were to be two classes of membership. One class consisted of all the women then enrolled in the various societies. These were to pay only fifty cents as dues, in addition to their other dues. Each of these societies was to continue just as it always had done, electing its own officers, and arranging its own work as heretofore. Its members, however, were asked to add to these activities the monthly meeting of the "Federation of Women," as she called it, and each member was also asked to serve on one of the eight Federation luncheon committees of the parochial year. Backed up finely by the leading women of the parish already enlisted in its work, Marie then set about to make the Federation a real factor in the parish life of just as many women as she could interest. She put on her hat and started out on a tour of calling which would have dismayed a less experienced and determined leader. Hyde Park was already becoming a section of Chicago where the apartment houses abounded, and to put one's lips to the orthodox tube in the vestibule of one of these contraptions, and to shout up into said tube one's name and errand to a not always even-tempered recipient at the upper end, took a skill in the art of salesmanship, and an amount of unruffled self-control, that many would have been unable to supply. Marie's store of these essentials seemed inexhaustible, and day after day she sallied forth on this otherwise monotonous errand, until she had accomplished her purpose. This was to offer to every woman in the parish, who had control of her daylight time, the opportunity to join the Federation.
The response was ultimately very gratifying. Before long the enrollment of paid-up members, at one dollar a year (fifty cents for the women who had already joined some organization in the parish), amounted to 237, and this for some years was the largest organized enrollment of women in any parish of the diocese. The next thing was to secure a list of speakers for each of these eight meetings each year. The usual date was the second Wednesday from October to May inclusive, the luncheon beginning promptly at 12: 30 p.m., and the business meeting, which included the afternoon address, commencing promptly at 1: 30, and closing at 3 p.m., if not earlier. There are large numbers of eager men and women in Chicago who have a message for earnest and intelligent women, concerning civics, philanthropy, art, travel, or literature, with an occasional dip into specifically missionary philanthropy as carried on by our own Church. When these learned from us that they could have a hearing from such a group as our Federation luncheons soon provided, numbering from 75 to 125 each month, many of them gladly accepted our invitations to be our speakers. And if one were to look over the list of invited speakers that came to us, month after month, for the next twenty-one years (up to this writing the Federation has completed its twenty-first season), one would be truly astonished at the names which would be found, and the wide range of subjects that were thus presented.
From the start Marie took the position that the parish would leave its definite instruction on religion to the Sunday sermons, the confirmation classes, and the Church school and Bible classes. The purely missionary topics were left for the Woman's Auxiliary, and the corresponding work among the children. So the Federation selected programmes of affiliated themes, which Christian women ought to welcome, and about which they ought to be informed or exhorted. Much grateful appreciation was felt by both of us for the lavish kindness with which these able and busy ladies and gentlemen came to speak to us, year after year. After a while we found that the monthly Federation luncheons were being used as social functions by many of our women, so that a festive air often predominated, and many visitors found the atmosphere inviting and enjoyable.
The first thing at the opening of the business meeting was Prayer, and I always made it a point to be present, and to offer the suitable collect. Then, after the usual minutes and reports from secretary and treasurer, there followed some data from some representative of every organization in the parish where women were enrolled. As time went on this list was an inspiring one, and those who belonged to only one or two societies were often astonished at learning the amount of work being done by others in the parish. Announcements of events to come in the following month were also in order. As the ideal chairman, which Marie always was, both by intuition and by long experience, these periods were never allowed to be dull, or to occupy too much time. In fact we had to make rules, as the popularity of the Federation grew in Hyde Park, to prevent our time being absorbed unduly by outside interests zealous of calling attention to their special announcements. This plan, of having a review of at least the women's work each month, was later adopted, for the whole parish, by the General Headquarters of the Church, at 281 Fourth Avenue, New York, in their efforts to standardize the parochial organization of the Church. It was not as generally successful in this wider horizon, however, because so many organizations in the active parishes were for the children and the young people, and these parishioners were not interested in the work of the grown-ups. Of course the idea was not entirely original with Marie, but at the time she established it there was nothing exactly like it in our Chicago diocese, at any rate so far as we know. It was perhaps the chief factor in vitalizing with social service and social life the relationship of our hundreds of women to their Church. The task of securing competent chairmen for the eight luncheon committees was no easy one, but Marie grappled with it with her wonted ability, and it was not long before we had a chairmen's group of eight of our most reliable and willing women. These gladly took the leadership of the twenty or thirty other women who volunteered once a year to help supply the luncheon \ menus, and to serve them, and who were also willing to pay their; luncheon fees at the same time. For some years these fees stayed at twenty-five cents, but were finally raised by common consent to thirty-five cents per plate. The menu provided could not have been duplicated down-town for anything like that sum, as a rule.
These committees had to be assembled a week or so before each luncheon, in order to arrange for the supplies. This was always a difficult matter, because a full attendance was almost too much to expect from busy Chicago women, unless they belonged to the inner circle willing to make sacrifices for any kind of work connected with the Church. The Federation was organized, however, to include those who were not very deeply attached to the life of the parish house, and therefore Marie, for a number of years before we resigned, adopted the custom of inviting personally to the Rectory by mail all the members of each month's luncheon committee, and of serving to them at her own expense an appetizing luncheon in our dining room. After this the ladies would adjourn to the living room, where all of her skill in presiding at meetings would be involved in the work of securing sufficient donations of food to supply the expected guests of that month's Federation luncheon. When they had all gone, then she would undertake the additional work of communicating with the absent members by telephone, and of securing from each some donation towards the menu. This was hard work, of course, and not at all showy work. But she never flinched, and year after year, as president of the Federation, she uncomplainingly applied herself to this monotonous effort, and during some of the years, when there were not enough willing women to total the eight luncheon chairmen, she would often add that to her duties as presiding officer, and now and then she would find herself the speaker of the afternoon as well! Such devotion gradually won the deep affection of our best women, and well it might! Probably a thousand guests were thus served at the committee-luncheons in our Rectory. It was a great privilege and joy for us.
During the eighteen years of the Federation's existence before we retired, Marie was its president for all but four or five of the seasons. There were plenty of able club-women in the parish who were capable of serving as president of this important work, but the feeling was general that Marie was the one wished for by the other women, and so she complied, at no matter what cost to herself. She was well seconded by her secretaries, and also, for some of the later years, by a very competent finance committee. Her successor, Mrs. O. P. Alford, who was her admirable secretary and treasurer for several years, carried on the work even after our retirement, with notable devotion and success. This was very gratifying to Marie, especially during the last year or two of her life, when she was able to do so little herself in the way of activity. To the day of her death she was the honorary president of the Federation--a courtesy which she deeply appreciated. This large and exacting work, however, was only a part of her life and influence in our busy parish. She was a member of nearly all of the societies for women, and she attended their meetings, whether weekly or monthly, whenever possible. The Altar Society depended greatly upon her help, and under Fr. Blunt (the Rev. Simon Blinn Blunt) our Redeemer Altar Society had already taken a position as one of the leading ones in the diocese. Especially at Christmas and at Easter Marie was of service in helping to decorate the sanctuary and the side Altar.
She joined the Daughters of the King, when that Chapter was organized, some years after we came, and occasionally she presided at its meetings, and made addresses. She helped the Woman's Guild in every possible way, and also the Mothers' Bags Committee (afterwards called the Babies' Bags Committee), whose layettes gradually attracted even the attention of the American Red Cross, for their excellency and completeness. Widespread requests for these layettes came constantly to our ears, and for some years the faithful members of this charitable committee met even throughout the summer months, in order to supply the demand.
In the Woman's Auxiliary she took of course an especial interest, and was always present at their monthly and other meetings. Under her inspiration our parish's contributions to the United Thank Offering at times reached very gratifying sums. She did not, however, serve as custodian of this, her favorite offering, but she lent all of her influence towards developing it among our good women.
For five years we lived, as has been said, in our attractive apartment at 5701 Blackstone Avenue, and then something happened. I preached a sermon one Sunday morning on the difficulties of living an ideal home-life in an apartment-house. The Hon. S. T. Mather, afterwards the internationally known director of the national parks of our country, and always one of our strong supporters and earnest communicants, was in the city that Sunday morning, and a few weeks later, as Marie and I started down-town one Saturday evening for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra programme (we had the same seats, "G 1 and 2, Right," in the balcony, for twenty-five years), I took from our mailbox a letter from Mr. Mather. On the way to the concert I opened it, and imagine our excitement and delight, when we found an offer of $5,000, starting the Rectory fund! It was conditional upon having the parish raise another $5,000 within one year. Mr. Mather was good enough to say in this letter that he wanted us to have a house to live in, so that the parish might have an example of what a home could be! This generous offer was the largest single gift that had been made to our parish since its organization. It created a sensation among our people, and of course aroused our own deepest gratefulness. With characteristic modesty he desired that his name as donor should not be known. Eventually he allowed us to announce that he had made the gift.
This was in the spring of that fateful and awful year, 1914. The horrible World War broke out that summer, and little or nothing was done about Mr. Mather's offer until January, 1915. Then our Senior Warden, Henry S. Hawley, called together a meeting of Vestrymen, at which I was present, and they decided to go ahead with the effort of raising the other $5,000 by Easter Day, war or no war. In the meantime Marie had done a remarkable deed of promptness and foresight, in connection with the Rectory lot, adjoining the church.
The oldest house in Hyde Park had occupied that lot, in part, and for years the property had been for sale at a price which did not secure any bidders. The sign had been taken down for some time, but was suddenly replaced, and Marie's sharp eyes saw it one afternoon, soon after it had been again set up next to the church. She at once got me on the telephone, and I as promptly got Mr. Hawley on the telephone. Mr. Hawley acted at once, and paid a deposit for an option on the lot, and it was well that he did, for the next day he was offered $1,000 more than the stated price ($6,000), and had we not acted within a half-hour of the time when Marie made it possible, we would have probably lost the opportunity of buying the only available lot for a Rectory and parish house!
Thanks to her keen vigilance and to Mr. Hawley's able promptitude, as well as to Mr. Mather's generosity, the Rectory proposition in 1915 went forward, and the cornerstone of the very beautiful building was laid, with an appropriate service, in early July, 1915. Three of our women set out during the latter part of Lent to do some canvassing towards the goal of raising the Easter offering to the needed $5,000. They succeeded so well that the offering was over $6,000, and Mr. Mather's gift was assured.
J. E. O. Pridmore, one of the Vestry of The Church of The Atonement, Chicago, and a brother of Mrs. Zelotes E. Martin of our parish, was selected as the architect. He very willingly conferred a great deal with Marie about the general plan of the house. It was to be of brick, with half-timbered second storey and attic, and was thus to have three stories and a basement. Marie at once saw that the whole length of the lot's front would be necessary for the living room, if she were to have a room which would be adequate as well as properly proportioned. At once there arose the question of a front door and a vestibule.
Here Marie's shrewdness and determination rose to the occasion and triumphed over all the many difficulties that were involved. The lot was small. The church was very close to the building-line of the proposed Rectory. Some advisors demurred at the plan of having the vestibule and front door placed at the side of the house. Yet Marie found just such a situation in another house in Hyde Park, and she took her measuring rod and found that there would be just enough room for such an entrance of the Rectory, leaving a passage-way between the church and the Rectory of sufficient width to enable the wheel-barrow to take the ashes and other garbage from the basement of the parish house to the street--there being no other available passage. She held her own in this matter, and the result is an adequate front door, a beautiful living room, and plenty of room in the passage-way as well.
Of course there were the usual troubles which try the patience and baffle the plans of those who build, but the work went on apace, and finally the very beautiful structure was completed, with fourteen rooms, and space for four more in the attic. The Vestry asked me whether to build large or small. I replied that this Rectory ought to be so built as to accommodate any ordinary kind of a family that grows. We of course needed only a few rooms, as we had no children, and no relatives that were dependent on our home for shelter. Other Rectors might need much more room than did we, and the parish ought to be equipped with a building adequate for any reasonable demands in the future. So they built a fourteen-room house. It was at that time the most beautiful Rectory in the diocese. Since then it has been equalled or surpassed by some, but not by many. We were complimented by university professors on having added to Hyde Park such a comely and attractive structure.
At first the sleeping porch and the sun-parlor were omitted by the building committee, for these would cost $500, and there was not enough money in sight to pay this additional sum. So the building committee had held a meeting in the early part of June, and had decided to wall up the back end of the Rectory temporarily, until there should be an additional $500 subscribed for the porch and sun-parlor. This also was to include a basement cellar for cold-storage, underneath these two upper stories of parlor and porch. These wise counsels were suddenly changed, on June 11th, by an event of unexpected and far-reaching moment.
Marie and I were married on June 10, 1890. Therefore on June 10, 1915, we were keeping our Silver Wedding Anniversary. Marie made a great deal of this quarter-century date, for during the eight months which preceded or followed that glad anniversary she graciously provided no less than eight social events, in Chicago, in Canandaigua, New York (where my brother Richard lived), and in Grand Isle, Vermont, in our summer home, to signalize with different groups our commemoration of this Silver Wedding year. There was a "Hopkins Party" in Chicago, to which every person in Chicago even remotely connected with either of us by marriage was invited, for a dinner and a festal evening. There was a fine dinner for the Vestry and their wives. And then, on June 10th, there was a big parish reception in the parish house, the building decorated with tin ("silver"!) hearts and red balloons and all sorts of things. At a psychological moment in this largely attended reception, Marie and I were asked by the ladies in charge please to go to the south windows and to look out at something in the street. We obediently did so and then, when bidden to turn around, what was our astonishment and delight to see a tiny fairy cart, all decked in white, drawn by six little girls, all also in white, and bearing a box containing 535 silver dollars, the gift of our parishioners to their grateful leaders! There was a beautifully painted little card, inscribing this gift to the Rector and his wife, and saying that it was from all the parish organizations. I used to think that I knew pretty well what was going on in the parish, but no! This committee of kind and generous friends (and I never did find out who were the leaders of the really extensive enterprise) went around to every organization in the parish for weeks before June 10th and collected from these, and I don't know how many other kind friends, gifts ranging from the pennies of the dear children in the Church Sunday school up to the large givers among the adults. They then took all the trouble of going to the place in Chicago where they change other money into silver dollars, and then got up this little white-trimmed cart, assembled the six little girls and dressed them all in white, and then poured out upon our astonished and wondering selves this most beautiful Silver Anniversary gift! We were about speechless, though I stumbled through some kind of a response, and Marie, as always, rose to the occasion with her wonted grace and ease. The rest of that memorable evening (the parish house was thronged) of course centered around this delightful and novel gift. And the next morning Marie and I started down-town with a heavily laden bag (it weighed about thirty-five pounds), and deposited the whole $535 in one of the big banks in the Loop. The clerks themselves paused in their nonchalant way, and gazed with open mouths at the glittering array of silver dollars. Even in a great Chicago bank the sight was unusual.
What should we do with such money? The question was a real one. We promptly settled it by devoting $500 to replacing the sleeping porch and the sun-parlor as part of the Rectory, and with the $35 "change" we bought a beautiful silver tray and one or two other silver articles for our home, to commemorate visibly this very touching expression of affection from our people. And we placed in the sun-parlor, and afterwards in our Grand Isle home at "Twenty Acres," the attractive legend which accompanied the gift, and inscribed to us on our Silver Wedding Day from our friends of The Church of The Redeemer.
So the summer of 1915 wore on, and while our hearts were bowed with sorrow along with all the rest of the world's as the awfulness of the Great War ran its frightful course, we found ourselves legitimately busy with the progress of the new Rectory. We had not yet reached our own entry as a nation into the war, and it did not seem Neronic or anachronistic to be building, while millions of others were suffering. The Vestry were undoubtedly right in acting when they did, in order to save the original $5,000 gift which Mr. Mather's generosity had provided. Had we waited longer than we did, before beginning to build, we would have lost that large portion of our building fund. Along in December the beautiful home was finished, and we moved one block, piece-meal, as we left our little apartment and began to live in this spacious and attractive home. Marie at once began to furnish all the rest of the rooms, as fast as she could, and before long the entire house was occupied by our Lares and Penates. Then something else happened.
Our generous Vestry met, one evening, at the Rectory (where we usually held our Vestry meetings), and they asked me to step out into another room for a few minutes. Somewhat surprised, I yet complied, of course. And when they again invited me to resume the chair, they had raised my salary from $3,600 with rent to pay to $5,000 and the Rectory. This very handsome deed of the leaders of our congregation gratified us deeply, not so much because of the additional money, though Marie and I were saving as much as we could, for many years, against the inevitable years of retirement, but because it bespoke in a way that no one could misunderstand, the confidence and kindliness which are a constant inspiration to any fortunate Rector. Marie was very much excited. When the Vestry had gone home, she exclaimed to me: "Let's not go to bed at all! Let's stay up all night and talk about it!" All the same, we did not stay up "all night," but we did have a very important talk about it. The upshot of it was that we should continue to live on the old salary, and that she should put away every month the additional sum of $116.66 which had thus been added to said old salary. And this slowly accumulating sum, which she carefully saved every month, gradually became large enough to build for us the beautiful permanent home on Grand Isle, Vermont, at "Twenty Acres," for us to occupy, after our retirement, when it would be too cold in "Wedding Bells Bungalow."
This increase in income also enabled us to add to our summer home at Grand Isle, from time to time. In 1912, as has been stated above, we devoted to our first "Ford" car ("Daisy") and to our first motor boat ("Wenonah") the sudden sum of $1,000 which our "big" life insurance policy provided for us on the completion of its twenty-year period of premium paying. We next built a small garage for $200, near our bungalow. We also added a summer house and drive to the common property of "Westerly," in that same year, 1914. This was before the outbreak of the Great War. In 1917, when "Henry" (as millions of people, all over the world, love to speak of him, meaning Henry Ford) put out his first five-passenger car (costing the mammoth sum of $350) we bought one, and for ten years it was our best car. In 1917 and 1918, we bought "Twenty Acres" on Grand Isle situated just one mile inland (east) from our summer bungalow, the price $1,750 including also six acres of wood-lot, about three miles from "the Farmlet" (as we grew to call "Twenty Acres"), this supplying us with all the soft wood we could possibly need. As I write there are probably twenty-five cords of it, sawed and piled up, in our little barn.
In 1919 we built this barn at a cost of about $1,100. We had already built on Grand Isle, at Westerly, with some help from Father Gemont Graves and other members of "the clan," the log chapel which we named "the Lady Chapel," our share of the expense being over $900. That was in 1911. In 1921 we rebuilt and enlarged the Community House of the "clan" on Grand Isle, at a cost of nearly $1,900. Beginning in 1922, and during the four years that followed, we engaged the same Grand Isle contractor who had done all of our other building, namely, Edson W. Gordon, to build for us our "winter house" at "Twenty Acres." All of this building was planned by Marie, and was supervised by her, through correspondence, while she was 1,000 miles away from the scenes of activity. This was a feat that required rare skill on her part. Reams of paper were used up in this long correspondence that ranged over a period of twelve years. Of course she and I talked over most of the important details, before she would write to Mr. Gordon about them, but she did all of that work, and to her belongs all of the credit. She saved the money, and met every payment with absolute promptness. How she managed to do all this, in addition to her literary life and work, and her constant duties in the parish and as home-maker at the Rectory, I cannot imagine. Yet she did it, and gloried in the doing. Our home at "Twenty Acres" cost us about $12,000, besides the land.
In 1924, we bought another motor boat, already mentioned (having given away the "Wenonah"), and our new venture was a strong row boat capable of bearing an out-board Johnson motor of from two-and-one-half to four horsepower. I found this a much less troublesome and much more useful affair than the "Wenonah." The boat and engine cost $235, and Marie named her "The Honey-Moon." She was probably paid for by wedding fees! Finally, in 1927, we cashed in our oldest life insurance policy, and added enough to it to pay cash for a $1,300 Nash Special Six sedan, which perhaps was our greatest single luxury. At this writing (July, 1933) it has begun its seventh year of service, and has been driven some 27,500 miles.
Marie enjoyed this car of ours more than anything else that we ever purchased. She always sat on the front seat next to me, and she never wearied of "taking a little drive" around the Island, or to one of the neighboring towns. The longest drive we ever took together in "Cousin," as she called the car (for the five-passenger Ford was Daisy's "sister," and the "Nash" was Daisy's "cousin") was to New York City, in the spring of 1931. I sometimes called the "Nash" by another name, which Marie didn't like very much, so I didn't use it often. I coined the name from several facts. One fact was "Nash." I didn't want to call her "Nashti," for it somehow didn't sound just right. So it occurred to me that a queenly name was "Vashti," and "Vashti" she was accordingly called, now and then. She has proved a very good car, and I intend to drive her as long as she will keep up her reliable speed and as much as possible of her good looks.
One event in the January of 1915 ought to be specially mentioned. It was the parochial mission that Marie and I conducted together in Trinity Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska, for eight days. Marie had the afternoon addresses to the women, and she was much more successful than I was with the evening messages. In fact her afternoon gatherings were so largely attended, and were so filled with zest and interest, that she herself was very much pleased, and I of course was delighted. She had never before undertaken any of this kind of speaking, and she did the women that came a great deal of good. We stayed at the Deanery, as the guests of the Dean and his hospitable wife, and we enjoyed the experience deeply. The weather was very cold most of the time, but the people took hold of the mission with earnestness, and I hope that some of the results may have been permanent. After we returned, the members of the Cathedral Chapter sent us a handsome check, which I at once turned over to Marie, and with it she purchased a beautiful bureau for our Rectory guest-room. I have never had much experience in mission preaching, but the opportunities that have come to me have been much appreciated. To have had Marie's help in Omaha was a rare privilege.
During all of the dreadful years of the Great War, we mentioned in our daily Church services all the names of our own men who were under arms, and when people began to find this out other names were sent to us so that we had, besides the 135 or so men who were closely or remotely connected with our parish, about forty more on our daily list.
And on Sundays we prayed by name for these 175 men twice. And we used the parish house for meetings of both women and men, to make sponges and other hospital supplies. With the very great help offered to me by the "American School of Correspondence" in Chicago, through R. T. Miller, Jr., its president, I was able to write twice a month to all of these 175 men, a signed letter which I composed, and which the friends in this large Correspondence School multigraphed and addressed, the school also generously contributing the postage. Many replies came to these letters, and one Chaplain remarked that "The Church of The Redeemer did more for its men at the front than many parishes did." For a third communication each month I mailed to each one myself a copy of our parish paper. I did not try for a Chaplaincy. My "leaky valve" would not have brought me further than the first examining physician, as I knew. After a while this relic of my seventeen years of bicycling healed up, and troubled me no more, but during the decade in which the war occurred it was troublesome at times. Marie and I subscribed as best we could to the Liberty Loans and in all other ways tried to do our share in keeping up the base of supplies. The parish commemorated its "Gold Stars" by a bronze tablet erected on the outside of the chancel wall, which gave the full names of all of these honor-men.
Our young organist and music director, Robert Royal Birch, was one of the men who rallied to the draft, and I kept his position open for him all during the fifteen or twenty months of his absence. We had the help of Mr. Graham, of the Columbia School of Music, during those months. I could not without betraying confidence speak further concerning the applications for Mr. Birch's position which came to me during his absence. Of course I would not listen to any of them for a moment. The sequel has more than justified this decision, since Mr. Birch has become one of the distinguished musicians of Chicago, and the comments in Chicago's musical papers upon the work of the Redeemer choirs under his remarkable leadership have often used unstinted superlatives. I never dreamed in my early life that I should be allowed the inspiring luxury of such music in my own parish. The memory of it, as I write, is an echoing joy. To Marie also it meant so much that she never thought of going anywhere else to church.
We went to the General Convention of 1910, in Cincinnati, as I have stated, but we did not go again until 1919, when I was elected to the Detroit Convention. Part of the time during the intervening years I declined to "run," as I had been a deputy to five of these legislative assemblies of the Church. At Detroit Marie felt the lack of leverage due to her not being a diocesan president of the Auxiliary and I felt the effects of nine years of absence. So we tried it only once more, three years later, at Portland, Oregon, and after that experience I declined to let my friends vote for me for any subsequent General Convention. The most important committee work offered to me during these six Conventions was that of the Commission on the New Hymnal. I stayed on this Commission for about a year, thinking that I could do my work in its connection by correspondence. This proved not to be the case. The Commission met in Philadelphia or in some other Eastern city, and I could not go to its meetings. So I resigned after about a year. I would have been glad to have continued as a member, but the other members very naturally preferred one who could attend the meetings. The Commission was at work for several years.
And so our life at The Church of The Redeemer went on its busy and varied way, year after year. Marie surveyed the empty lot behind the Rectory, on which the new parish house and chapel were erected in 1926, and she planted flowers and shrubs in this back yard, and called it "Hopkins Park." She also planted shrubs, and vines in the little nook of the corner made by the chancel wall, and many a friendly conversation she had with the Fifty-fifth street children about helping her to keep that tiny space as neat and pretty as possible. These earnest efforts were not always successful, but the shrubs grew apace, and the vines were not always torn down. The porched entrance to the sacristy was another of her ideas. She overcame all the objections, including the attitude of some friends who said that it was architecturally impossible!
Marie felt that she owed a great deal to the parish for building such a beautiful Rectory for us, and so she entertained a great deal within its attractive rooms. Every year she made it a rule to invite to our home at least once, for some kind of a social gathering where refreshments or luncheons or dinners were served, every organization in the parish except the Boy Scouts. (These bright boys were largely recruited from beyond our own membership, and we loaned them the parish house gladly, but did not feel that they were as much a part of our parish family as, for instance, the boys of the choir.) We also belonged for some years to a small literary club of very interesting people. It was called the "Motley Club." And they met with us once a year. After a while our work became so heavy that we had to drop everything that was not immediately connected with the parish or the diocese, so we resigned, with regret, from the "Motley Club."
The next important step in the improvement of our plant was the enlarging of the church organ. This instrument was made by an Ohio firm, Hilgren and Lane, before I arrived. It had but two manuals, and though its tone was sweet, with an especially good "swell" manual, it was not sufficient for our increasingly fine music. Our trouble was lack of space. So the parish spent $1,000 to build an upper room over the little sacristy, which should contain the pipes for a third manual (the "choir" manual), and some other "stops" were also placed on the other side of the church. The total cost was no small sum, but it gave us finally a very beautiful instrument of some 70 or more "stops" and mechanical registers, and Mr. Birch has graciously made the best of it for all of his many years as our organist and director. Marie always attended with me his organ recitals, which he gave for more than one season, but he finally discontinued them because Hyde Park somehow did not support organ recitals, and he had too much to do to prepare the programmes for the limited attendance that came. They were very fine programmes, and the instrument was as large, in proportion to the size of the church, as was at all necessary for any kind of organ music. The total cost of enlarging the organ was about $7,000.
Passing over the remaining years with simply the comment that they were all exceedingly busy ones, filled with our daily and Sunday services, our parish house buzzing with at times forty-one different kinds of Work, regular or occasional, Marie's time was so thoroughly occupied that she rarely had sufficient rest, and mine was a whirl for sometimes sixteen hours a day, during ten months, with a fairly busy period of two months' vacation at Grand Isle, during which vacation time I wrote for the parish paper and answered all my mail, and blocked out, as has been said, all my sermons for the next ten months, besides holding the three Sunday services with at least one sermon each Sunday in our log chapel. My contract provided one month's vacation, but the parish very generously gave me two, and so I devoted a good deal of time to parish matters during these delightful summers at Grand Isle.
I have already spoken of the time when, after absenting herself from the diocesan Auxiliary gatherings in deference to her successors as president, Marie accepted the vice-presidency of the South Side Auxiliary branches for a year or two. She visited the local branches as in the days then gone, and the rallies she organized at our parish house and elsewhere were very successful gatherings. She later on accepted the diocesan chairmanship of the "double-extra fund" which the men at Headquarters in New York asked the devoted Auxiliary women to raise in addition to their general work and the United Thank Offering. This fund was to raise $100,000 for six of the neediest objects in the great mission field. Chicago's Auxiliary quota was $3,000 and Marie raised it by correspondence with the local chapters. She did this so finely that our diocesan Auxiliary took front rank among all the others for the promptness with which its quota was paid. She enjoyed this work, for it gave her a taste of the "old days" when the Auxiliary was such a large part of her life. She composed one or two telling addresses in connection with this fund, and gave them here and there at strategic points.
During one year soon after the Great War, our parish invited two remarkable men, "Ted" Mercer and "Tom" Farmer, to conduct a laymen's mission in our church and parish house. It was a very unusual affair, and did much good. I have kept Mr. Mercer in my daily prayers ever since, and have always sent him at least a small subscription for his personal expenses every year. It was Courtenay Barber, our devoted Warden, who found these earnest men for us. Another parochial mission, which I arranged as well as I could, at another time, was conducted by Bishop William W. Webb, of Milwaukee. It was very helpful and was especially effective among the children, who were simply fascinated by the Bishop's afternoon messages to them. The older people came out well, also. These were the only two attempts at parochial missions which I made during our life at The Redeemer.
Our Lents were always very earnest seasons. There could not be much addition to our service list, for there were always four or five each Sunday and from three to five each week day, throughout most of the year. Yet we did add a Thursday evening service, with visiting preachers, and the congregations were usually among the largest in the diocese on Lenten evenings. And our choirs always gave a Passion cantata on Sunday evenings, our repertory including every Lent at least four of the best that modern music provides. We repeated two of these so that every Lenten Sunday was thus observed. As the radio, and the Sunday evening music at the hotels, began to compete with us, as with all the churches, these special services of sacred music gradually lessened their influence, but we never gave them up, and they were always well attended. Evensong was said at 5 p.m. on those Sundays, to observe the Prayer Book's rule.
We gradually increased our 11 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharists, until some two or three years before I retired it had become the regular 11 a.m. service. This I regarded as the chief devotional achievement of my entire ministry. The congregation loyally and devoutly seconded this great improvement from the start.
Another special service was introduced about nine years before we left. It was the "Healing Mission" service at 11 a.m. on Thursdays. It followed the visit to the parish of that wonderful man, James Moore Hickson of Australia. This world-famous layman of the Church came to us largely through the influence of my friend, the late Miss H. Eloise Hersey of Boston. I had great difficulty in securing him for our church. The weather provided one of the heaviest snowfalls of the winter, and scarcely a wheel of any kind was turning in all Chicago. Yet the church was filled with possibly four hundred semi-invalids and their escorts, and they came from California, Canada, Missouri, Denver, St. Louis, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Washington, Alabama, and Peoria, as well as from distant parts of Chicago and her suburbs. Most of them were strangers to me and to each other. A Canadian Priest from Toronto, sent by his Bishop to arrange with Mr. Hickson for a visit to Toronto, was with me in the chancel during this service. All the people who wished for improved health advanced one by one to the Altar rail, and Mr. Hickson laid his hands upon them, individually, with prayer, a private prayer for each one. We sang familiar devotional hymns, to organ accompaniment. Many signed cards either requesting prayers, or volunteering to become intercessors for others. With Mr. Hickson's compliance and encouragement, I at once formed a "Prayer Circle Union" which has held Thursday morning services of intercession for the sick ever since, my successor having continued it, as I did for the nine years following this memorable visit and service. I made no pretensions to having what are called the "Gifts of Healing," and I have a deep suspicion against modern "psychiatry" and all such methods of "suggestion," but I have an implicit belief in Prayer, and in the efficacy of the sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Holy Unction, and I could fill some pages of this chronicle with accounts of remarkable healings which God sent through the prayers and sacraments of our Healing Mission services, year after year. Mr. Hickson has been in my daily prayers ever since this visit. He came to us on Easter Monday, April 5, 1920. He died in 1933.