Description: In an emotionally charged typed letter dated Feb 20, 1925, Universalist Minister Whitesmith writes to J. Howard Flower of The Solitarian Press and expounds on the need for liberal thinking. Concerned that schools and churches are unable to provide the necessary education in liberal thought as “They are, in the main, organized to perpetuate dogmas and to uphold institutions favored by those who are in control,” he states: “We are needing an order of free teachers who will go up and down through the world to arouse it to free thought and sympathetic feeling; and we need an organization of all the free minded back of them to give them the material support they must have. This to my mind is the supreme need of the hour.” Even more strongly, he decries the “hellishly distorted” ethics of an era that “classes a Eugene Debs [political activist and candidate for the Social Party for President of the United States] with a bandit and that sends a man to prison for killing one men [sic] in an irregular manner and another to prison because his conscience will not permit him to help the government slaughter men wholesale---in a regulation manner. . . .” He wishes to use churches as bases to build liberal character and adds “I wish to see done this summer as an auxiliary to this, is the calling of a conference of socially-minded liberals for the organization of a Free Church Union thru which we can work for our mutual support.” The letter is signed “Fraternally Yours, Ernest M. Whitesmith”
In a handwritten postscript, he adds “It is in the northwest states,-Ore. Wash. and Idaho-where this fraternity will take hold most easily. It has the most backers there and the soil is well prepared. I am undertaking to see what can be done in the northeast. E. W.”
Typed letter on 8 ½” x 11” ivory stationery imprinted: “Ernest M. Whitesmith, Minister of Universalist Church, Linesville, Pennsylvania”. Item #A01076.
Ernest M. Whitesmith (1873-1956) was a Minister of Universalist Church, Linesville, Pennsylvania. He wrote the essay, “Will Progressives Unite?” He fully supported the New Deal, and praised FDR for developing a new and healthier nationalism.
J. Howard Flower (1883-1967) graduated from Canton Theological School in New York. He was a teacher and a minister in various places before he founded The Solitarian Press in Hartland, VT. He was also a poet, an outspoken socialist and pacifist, was against formal religion, and believed in equal rights for women.
Condition: Fold lines, otherwise in fine condition.