And the Wilderness shall Blossom: Henry Benjamin Whipple, Churchman, Educator, Advocate for the Indians

Anne Beiser Allen
When he died in 1902, Henry Benjamin Whipple was one of Minnesota s best-known citizens. In his 42 years as Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, he had overseen the development of the state s Episcopal Diocese and established two well-regarded secondary schools (Shattuck and St. Marys) and Seabury Seminary. In his denomination, he was a force for conciliation and mission. But he was most famous as a champion of the rights of Native Americans. Although his advocacy of assimilating native peoples into the majority culture is now challenged, in his time he was a major voice in bringing the plight of Native Americans onto the international stage. An outgoing, charismatic figure, Whipple was ninety percent St. John and ten percent New York politician, a charming blend of evangelist and shrewd businessman whose friends ran the gamut from presidents to backwoodsmen. His simple sincerity and beautiful, powerful voice made him a popular speaker and persuasive fund-raiser.Anne Beiser Allen traces Whipple s origins in upstate New York, his election as Minnesota s first Episcopal Bishop and his growing influence in the fields of religious affairs, education and Indian policy. Her carefully documented research helps to bring this complex figure into clearer focus.

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