New York City – Dr. Bellows And All Souls Church

The Unitarian Church of All Souls was built in 1855, and architecturally is of exceptional interest as it was modeled by Wray Mould, an English architect, after the Basilica of San Giovanni erected in the Fourteenth Century at Monza, in Northern Italy, which it closely resembles both in design and color, and in the contrast of color afforded by the alternate layers of terra cotta and Caen stone. The first pastor of the church was the Rev. Dr. Henry W. Bellows, one of our great citizens. Eloquent in the pulpit, and on the platform, he was a powerful force in the nation during the Civil War, and as the president and one of the founders of the United States Sanitary Commission, he rendered a service of in-estimable value. Through this great organization, which was the predecessor of the American Red Cross, and which Dr. Bellows extended over the entire country and administered with inspiring enthusiasm and consummate ability, over fifteen million dollars was contributed for the relief of our soldiers in food, medical supplies and comforts, and over five millions in money; and the great moral issues of the war were brought home to every Northern household. Through his work for the Commission he was closely associated with President Lincoln and Secretary Stanton and was one of their most trusted and efficient supporters. He was also actively interested in City affairs and was one of the founders of the Union League Club, the Century Club, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Children’s Aid Society. He was also the advisor of his neighbor and parishioner, Peter Cooper, in the founding of Cooper Institute, and as the founder and president of the National Conference of Liberal Churches he was a leading member of the Unitarian Church. As a memorial of Dr. Bellows, a full length bronze tablet, executed by Saint Gaudens has been placed in the south transept of the Church.

Among those who were associated with Dr. Bellows in his work for the Sanitary Commission were George Templeton Strong and Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler. Mr. Strong was the treasurer of the Commission. He was a man of broad culture and an author of ability. A graduate of Columbia College, he became one of its trustees and was one of the founders of the School of Mines. He was also the President of the Philharmonic Society and at one time Controller of Trinity Church. Miss Schuyler, when a young woman, was one of Dr. Bellows’ most ardent workers and devoted herself to the cause of the Union with the patriotic spirit of her distinguished ancestors, General Philip Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton. Throughout the Civil War she gave herself untiringly to further the efforts of the Commission to pro-vide our troops with medical supplies and care, and displayed the ability which she showed in later years in organizing the Bellevue Training School for Nurses and the State Charities Aid Association, and in establishing State Care of the Insane. In recognition of Miss Schuyler’s many and important public services Columbia University conferred upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws.