Parkhurst, Charles Henry

Parkhurst, Charles Henry,

1842–1933, American clergyman and reformer, b. Framingham, Mass., grad. Amherst 1866, and studied theology at Halle and Leipzig. He was pastor of the Congregational Church at Lenox, Mass. (1874–80), and of the Madison Square Presbyterian Church, New York City (1880–1918). Becoming interested in municipal affairs and having been elected (1891) president of the Society for the Prevention of Crime, Parkhurst inaugurated a campaign against Tammany Hall (see TammanyTammany
or Tammany Hall,
popular name for the Democratic political machine in Manhattan. Origins

After the American Revolution several patriotic societies sprang up to promote various political causes and economic interests.
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), personally collecting evidences of corruption to substantiate his charges. The campaign led to the appointment of the Lexow committee to investigate conditions and to the defeat of Tammany and the election of a reform mayor in 1894. Parkhurst's writings include Our Fight with Tammany (1895, repr. 1970) and My Forty Years in New York (1923).
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Parkhurst, Charles Henry

(1842–1933) clergyman, reformer; born in Framingham, Mass. Born on a farm, he became a high school principal and then was ordained (1874) as a Presbyterian minister. He preached in New York City (1880–1918). Although scholarly and reserved, he made a tremendous impact with two sermons (February 1892; March 1892) in which he attacked the political corruption of New York City government. Backed by the evidence he collected, his statements led to the defeat of Tammany Hall and to subsequent reforms. He wrote Our Fight with Tammany (1895).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.