• Harvard Divinity Professor Believed Russian Revolution Would Collapse

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    FRANCIS GREENWOOD PEABODY (1847-1936) was an American Unitarian minister and theology professor at Harvard University.  While teaching at Harvard, Peabody served as the Parkman Professor of Theology, Preacher to the University, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and the Dean of the Divinity School (1880-1912).


    He writes a 2 pp, 8 x 10 ¼, letter signed August 23 [n.y.] to “Mr. Hapgood,” presumably Normal Hapgood (1868-1937), an American writer and critic and an American Minister to Denmark, commenting on the book Hapgood sent. On Harvard University, Cambridge, stationary, he writes that he believes the Russian Revolution will collapse.


    “I have read with unusual interest the book you are kind enough to send me & find in it much which is instructive & much which needs to be said. It seems to me to differ from most books in that it improves as it proceeds. There is much in the earlier chapters which is passionate, personal & apologetic & which I think more appropriate as Journalism than as literature. As you advance to more constructive methods I go with you more willingly & in your treatment & cooperation & wholly concur. I have for twenty years seen in this movement the best hope of industrial peace & rejoice to observe that what seem then Utopian is now becoming a practical scheme. I welcome also your view (p. 146) that the Russians may be determined by the cooperators & I have for some months believed that the success of the Revolution in capturing the Cooperative Societies will mean the collapse of the Revolution.


    “With many thanks for your kind thought of my interst.


    “Francis G. Peabody”


    Folds, light toning, but a very nice letter and easy to read.


    PEABODY stressed the need to study the religious and social implications of changes brought about by the industrialization process, and offered liberal interpretations of the New Testament.  He portrayed religious tradition that stressed members as agents of social change. Yet he left a complex legacy involving race. When a faculty member chose W.E.B. DuBois and his fellow Black student Clement G. Morgan as commencement speakers, Peabody questioned the propriety of choosing two Black for this honor. DuBois spoke but Morgan did not.


    HAPGOOD graduated from Harvard University in 1890 and from Harvard law school in 1893. He was named the editor of Collier’s Weekly in 1903 and later became editor of Harper’s Weekly. During World War I and into the early post-war period, Hapgood served as president of the League of Free Nations Association and advocated for the Leage of Nations, which helped advance President Woodrow Wilson’s agenda. In 1919, Wilson appointed Hagood minister of Denmark.  There, he helped expose Henry Ford’s antisemitism in his article, “The Inside Story Of Henry Ford’s Jew-Mania.”


    Folds, toning.


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