Holmes, John Haynes

Holmes, John Haynes

(hōmz), 1879–1964, American clergyman, b. Philadelphia, grad. Harvard, 1902, and Harvard Divinity School, 1904. For 42 years (1907–49) he was minister of the Community Church, New York City; in 1949 he became pastor emeritus. The church belonged to the Unitarian denomination until 1919, when it became nondenominational. The causes supported by Holmes's effective public addresses included the abolition of intolerance and of war. A founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and of the American Civil Liberties Union, he was long actively associated with both organizations. Among his many books are A Sensible Man's View of Religion (1932) and The Affirmation of Immortality (1947).

Bibliography

See his autobiography (1959); study by C. H. Voss (1964).

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Holmes, John Haynes

(1879–1964) Unitarian minister, social reformer; born in Philadelphia. Ordained as a Unitarian minister (1904), he helped found the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice (1908) while conducting a radical social ministry at the Church of the Messiah, New York City. He helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1909), serving as national vice-president for over 50 years, and he helped organize the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (1918–19). An ardent pacifist, he left the Unitarians to protest their support of America's entry into World War I and founded the Community Church in New York City. As a prohibitionist, a supporter of striking workers, a Zionist, editor of Unity magazine (1921–46), and chairman of the New York City Civic Affairs Committee that exposed municipal corruption (1929–38), he made his Community Church in New York City into a model for a pluralistic congregation. A leading U.S. proponent of Gandhi, he led early public protests against Hitler (1933), was named chairman of the ACLU (1939), and later fought McCarthyism. He wrote over 20 books, including his autobiography, I Speak for Myself (1959).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.