Tuesday, January 25, 2011

* Introduction

New Haven artist Clarence Brodeur unveils (1980) his new portrait of Douglas Clyde Macintosh which hangs today in the Common Room of Yale Divinity School. He donated the new portrait to replace the commissioned portrait of Macintosh he had painted in 1950, which was vandalized in  1965.
When I enrolled in Yale Divinity School in 1976, I knew very little about Douglas Macintosh, except that my parents adored him as a friend and mentor and had sought to honor him by giving me his name. (I quickly learned that he had a "terribly British" middle name which I confess I was relieved to discover my parents had omitted from their tribute.)

But if I knew little of Douglas Clyde Macintosh, I soon discovered that, three decades after his death, his own Divinity School remembered even less of him.  His writings and memory stood practically abandoned: His portrait (vandalized during the 1960's protest era) lay in shreds in the basement of the Yale Art Gallery; his Fellowship, bequeathed to Yale by his widow, Hope Conklin Macintosh, had fallen into disuse; and (with the loyal exception of Randolph Crump Miller), his name was almost never uttered in Yale classrooms.  Indeed, Professor Miller characterized this situation as "a blackout on Macintosh."

Under this sad cloud I began my private campaign to exhume Dr. Macintosh's memory.  This pamphlet of tributes is one fruit of that private effort: That it has grown into a public centennial celebration is quite accidental, for I almost missed the fact that 1977 is Dr. Macintosh's centennial anniversary.  Even at this writing, I still do not know the exact date of his birth in Ontario, Canada.  His place of burial, Whitneyville Cemetery in Hamden, Connecticut, also denies us this information; for, there is no tombstone for him, but merely a marker for his first wife, Emily Powell, with the tiny words chiseled below her name, "wife of Douglas Clyde Macintosh."  It was only late in 1976 that I located his obituary, which is equally equivocal on the matter, stating simply that he was 71 years old.*  A few rudimentary arithmetical calculations led me to conclude that, had he lived, he would have been 99 years old.  And then it hit me: Next year would be his centennial.

At that very instant the Macintosh Centennial Committee was born. For the first year of its life it was a committee of one.  Now, as it begins the third year of its four-year celebration, the Macintosh Centennial Committee enjoys the assistance of three other Divinity students: Dinah Ansley, Karen Bjorn and Carol Brock.

The Committee has concentrated on four projects: 1.) replacement of the Macintosh portrait [this would be accomplished in 1979/80 when the original artist, Clarence Brodeur, agreed to re-paint a new portrait gratis]; 2.) reactivation of the Macintosh Fellowship and re-publication of Roland Bainton's Fellowship brochure [this was accomplished when the Executor of the Macintosh estate, Julian N. Hartt, threatened to demand an accounting from Yale of the funds bequeathed to Yale by Mrs. Macintosh; the Fellowship has since, again, fallen into disuse]; 3.) presentation of "Folly, Noise and Sin," dramatic readings of seven famous sermons and such from American history and literature; and 4.) publication of this pamphlet of tributes. We have had more success with some of these projects than others.

In this brief pamphlet [now blog] you will learn, as I did, that Dr. Macintosh was more than a teacher at the Divinity School, he was a nationally respected theologian; that his legal struggle was more than a court case, it was a pioneering contribution to the notion of "selective" conscientious objection and became one of the famous Supreme Court battles of the the 1920's and 1930's; and, that Douglas Clyde Macintosh's students did more than learn from him, they loved learning because of him.

I wish to thank the Centennial Committee members and Henri Nouwen and the artist Elizabeth Ruthstrom for their generous contributions to the work of the Committee.   I am especially grateful to the contributors to this publication for their loyalty to Douglas Macintosh.  I have made only minor editorial adjustments in transforming some of their contributions from letter-form to the present format.  I have added two editorial notes as points of information.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Douglas Macintosh Keane
Macintosh Centennial Committee
September, 1978

*  Ronald B. Flowers,
John F. Weatherly Emeritus Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University,  informs me in a 1 / 28 /11 email that Douglas Clyde Macintosh  “was born February 18, 1877, in Breadalbane, Ontario, Canada.”  (See also bibliographic citations for Professor Flowers' articles on Macintosh at the end of Herman Will post in Blog Archive.) 

Note Link:    My Donation of Macintosh Chalice to Yale Law School


frdoug said...

I really wish that I had known of this event when it was being planned.
My father, the Rev'd William J. Burger, Jr., YDS 1938, was Dr. Macintosh's secretary during his years there as a student.

Not only that, but I, to my family's best knowledge, the only baby born to a YDS student who bears Dr. Macintosh's name: I am the Rev'd Douglas Clyde Burger, and damned proud of it, too.

PAUL D. KEANE said...

Professor Ronald Flowers is the expert on the Macintosh case. I hope he will be able to contact you through this blog.