Saturday, August 27, 2011

Morton Smith's Mother Was a Member of the New Church at Bryn Athyn

Thanks to the search of the Swedenborgian magazine New Church Life by Jim Cooper, Bishop's Representative to Canada and Pastor of the Olivet Church we now know for certain that Morton Smith's mother Mary Funk Smith was a member of the New Church at Bryn Athyn. Here's what he sent to me today:


“Smith.-At Bryn Athyn, Pa., July 41 1926, Rupert Morton (born May 28, 1915), son of Mr. and Mrs. Rupert H. Smith, the Rev. George de Charms officiating.” (New Church Life, 1926, p 560)

School Award

“Bishop Pendleton then presented diplomas to the graduates, and a valedictorian of each class made appropriate acknowledgments. The graduations were as follows: Girls' Seminary 15; Boys' Academy 9; Junior College 5,-Rosamond Pendleton Brown, Jeannette Pendleton Caldwell, Sylvia Carlton, Alice Fritz, Alexander Heilman Lindsay. Degrees were awarded as follows: Bachelor of Arts-Beryl Gertrude Caldwell, Lois Eileen Stebbing, Anita Synnestvedt; Bachelor of Theology-Alfred Wynne Acton, Philip Nathaniel Odhner. Honors: Deka Gold Medal-Gabriele Pitcairn; Alpha Kappa Mu Merit Bar-Eunice Nelson; Oratorical Prize (Silver Cup) and Sons of the Academy Gold Medal-Rupert Morton Smith. Theta Alpha Scholarships: June Macauley (special), Kathleen Lee (partial), Jean Smith (partial).” (New Church Life, 1932, p. 336)

Smith, R. Morton, Philadelphia, Pa.
Respectfully submitted,
Hugo Lj. Odhner, Secretary. (New Church Life, 1949, p. 169)

(Our custom is to list someone as having “resigned” if they send a letter asking to be removed from the rolls. If we lose touch with someone for a long time and cannot locate them, or if in searching for them we discover that they have joined another church organization, then they would be listed as “dropped.”)


Smith.-At Philadelphia, Pa., February 14, 1942, Mary Funk Smith (Mrs. Rupert Henry Smith), in her 70th year. (New Church Life, 1942) (This is the only reference to “Mary Funk” who is Mrs. Smith. There is another Mary Funk born in 1940 who later married Jacob Heibert.)

(There were no hits on the name “Rupert” at all.)

(There are some references to articles and letters written by “J. Henry Smith” who is sometimes referred to as “Henry J. Smith.” The references are quotes in New Church Life, the official organ of the General Church, from the New Church Messenger, the official organ of the General Convention. These occur between 1895 and 1905. He was married in Massachusets to Miss ELLA LENORE FOX, daughter of the Rev. Jabes Fox.-Roxbury, Mass., December 15th, 1885, and the address for his letters was given as Washington DC. It seems he was in the US State Dept. This all leads me to believe that the family was active in the General Convention, rather than the General Church.)

I am certain that this 'James Henry Smith' (I checked the references) is not the same 'Henry J Smith' who was Smith's grandfather. The dates for his marriage are wrong. There is no connection with Canada too.

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