New York: 1881. 4 pp, single 9 ½ x 7 ½ inch leaf, folded. Very Good. Item #CAt0180
An important document from early in the career of Washington Gladden, a key figure in the Social Gospel and Progressive movements. He writes the board of the State Street Congregational Church, explaining the reasons for his resignation, which include the spiritual bankruptcy of the congregation, his poor health and the inability of the church to pay his salary. Of these subjects, it’s the spiritual health of the congregation that seems to trouble him the most. He writes: “Spirituality is at a very low ebb… I would never be satisfied with laboring year after year in any church with no signs of success… it saddens me today that the tokens of good have been very few…. I had hoped and longed for spiritual prosperity among you.” An interesting document that sheds light on Gladden’s reasons for leaving his first position. The American National Biography states his reasons for leaving as a “mental breakdown,” though this letter may suggest that he had thought out his decision to a greater degree. Partial tears at folds but still very good.