An Editor’s Gallery

Bill Jr.:

The editor of THE WITNESS had several offices through the decades from 1920 to 1972. Whether in Chicago on Cottage Grove Avenue, or at 155 Washington St. or 135 Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan, or in what he always called “THE SHOP” in Tunkhannock, he had an accumulating gallery of cartoons, portraits, aphorisms and angry barbs from outraged readers tacked or taped to the walls.

It was hung helter-skelter and it was a repository of the respected, the admired, the hurting and the insignificant. It was an eclectic show. A listing gives the flavor, because, one way or another, these persons, or their spirit, filled Dad.

There was Albert Schweitzer with brown hair and his signature; there was a ferocious cartoon of John Brown of Harper’s Ferry fame and the Rev. Dr. John Pairman Brown, theologian and columnist.  So, too, was a picture of a young Reinhold Niebuhr before he wrote his Gifford Lectures and Dr. Albert Mollegan, ethicist of the Virginia Theological Seminary.

There were women like the outstanding penologist, Miriam van Waters, and Mary Simkhovitch, head of Greenwich House in N.Y.C., and a benign photo of the classicist from Wellesley, Vida Dutton Scudder who was always “Aunt Vida” to us.  Apparently , it wasn’t gender but one’s theology and social convictions that got you tacked up.

Clustered were Charlie Chaplin and Paul Robeson and Norman Cousins.   Archbishop William Temple hung alone, with coat and gaiters. And a covey of bishops made the wall, although some were photographed in their pre-episcopal days: Arthur Lichtenberger {as dean of Trinity Cathedral, Newark}; Brooke Mosley (as social service secretary for the diocese of Washington}; Irving Peake Johnson of Colorado and founder of THE WITNESS; Edward Lamb Parsons of California and president of the Church League for Industrial Democracy; John Elbridge Hines as a young bishop- coadjutor of Texas; Angus Dun of Washington, leading ecumenist; Wm. Appleton Lawrence of Western Massachusetts and long-time center and soul of the Episcopal Pascifist Fellowship. From the past were Paul Jones of Ütah, dropped from the House of Bishops because of his pacifism in World War 1, and the first bishop of a Eastern Oregon, Robert Paddock, whose biography was entitled ‘A PORTRAIT OF A REBEL”.

Tacked up were Deans Paul Roberts of Denver and John Day of Topeka, together with parish rectors, Roscoe Faust, Gardiner Day, Joseph Titus and Hugh McCandless. Academics of various levels had their space: Charles A. Martin, Joseph Fletcher, Massey Shepherd, Sherman E. Johnson, Fred Grant, Norman Pittenger, Adelaide Case (the first female to have Episcopal seminary tenure), and younger persons as the decades rolled.

From other areas there was Martin Niemoeller, Mahatma Ghandi, Rabindranath Tagore, Casey Stengel, Harry Bridges, Roger Baldwin and Eric Hoffer.

And, creme de la creme, was a Charles Addams cartoon of a crowded movie theater with all customers weeping salty tears at the obviously tragic movie, save for one ‘monster’ in the central row, grinning ear to ear! The tag was ‘A MAN WHO THINKS FOR HIMSELF.”

The cartoon was sent to him by his younger sister, Betty. An apt icon, surely!

Tim: I’ve seen copies of this cartoon in the past; I’ve searched The New Yorker archives but didn’t find it.  I’ll add a link or a copy if someone sends it to me.