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Bible Encyclopedias

1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Henry Codman Potter

HENRY CODMAN POTTER (1835-1908), American Protestant Episcopal bishop, the son of Bishop Alonzo Potter, was born in Schenectady, New York, on the 25th of May 183 5. He was educated in the Philadelphia Academy of the Protestant Episcopal Church and in the Theological Seminary of Virginia, where he graduated in 1857. He was ordained deacon in 1857 and priest in 1858; was rector of Christ Church, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1858-1859, and of St John's Church, Troy, N. Y., in 1859-1866; refused the presidency of Kenyon College in 1863 and the bishopric of Iowa in 1875; was secretary of the House of Bishops in 1866-1883; and was assistant rector of Trinity Church, Boston, in 1866-1868, and rector of Grace Church, New York City, in 1868-1884. In October 1883 he was consecrated assistant to his uncle, Horatio Potter, bishop of New York, and in 1887 succeeded him. The Rev. David Hummell Greer (b. 1844) became his coadjutor in September 1903, and succeeded to the bishopric after the death of Bishop Potter in Cooperstown, N. Y., on the 21st of July 1908. During Bishop Potter's administration the corner-stone of the Cathedral of St John the Divine was laid (in 1892).

He was notable for his interest in social reform and in politics: as rector of Grace Church he worked to make it an "institutional church" with working-men's clubs, day nurseries, kindergartens, &c., and he took part in the summer work of the missions on the east side in New York City long after he was bishop; in 1900 he attacked the Tammany mayor (Robert A. Van Wyck) of New York City, accusing the city government of protecting vice, and was a leader in the reform movement which elected Seth Low mayor in the same year; he frequently assisted in settling labour disputes; he worked for the re-establishment of the army canteen and attempted to improve the saloon, which he called the "poor man's club" - notably by his taking part in the opening (August, 1904) of the unsuccessful Subway Tavern. He published: Sisterhoods and Deaconesses at Home and A broad (1872); The Gates of the East (1876), a book of travels; Sermons of the City (1881); Waymarks (1892); The Scholar and the State (1897); The East of To-day and Tomorrow (1902); The Industrial Situation (1902); Law and Loyalty (1903), and Reminiscences of Bishops and Arch-Bishops (1906).

See Harriett A. Kayser, Bishop Potter, the People's Friend (New York, 1910).

His brother, CLARKSON NOTT POTTER (1825-1882), was a civil engineer, then (1848-1868) a practising lawyer in New York City, and in 1869-1875 and in 1877-1881 a Democratic member of the National House of Representatives. Another brother, ROBERT BROWN POTTER (1829-1887), a lawyer and a soldier, commanded the 51st New York Volunteers at Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run and Antietam, was wounded at Antietam and at Petersburg, was commissioned major-general of volunteers in September 1865, and was mustered out in 1866. A third brother, ELIPHALET NOTT

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Henry Codman Potter'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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