James De Wolf Perry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from DeWolf Perry)
Jump to: navigation, search
Rev. James DeWolf Perry II, father of James De Wolf Perry

James De Wolf Perry (given name De Wolf; sometime DeWolf and III; October 3, 1871 – March 20, 1947) was an American Episcopal clergyman and prelate. He was the 7th Bishop of Rhode Island (1911-1946) and the 18th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (1930-1937).


The third of five children, Perry was born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to the Rev. James De Wolf Perry II and Elizabeth Russell Tyson.[1] His father was rector of Calvary Church in Germantown; he was also a descendant of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry, Commodores Oliver Hazard Perry and Matthew C. Perry, and Senators William Bradford, James De Wolf and was great grandson of Lieutenant Benjamin Bourne who served in the American Revolution.[2]

After graduating from Germantown Academy in 1887, he received Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1891 and from Harvard University in 1892.[3] In 1895 he earned a Bachelor of Divinity from the Episcopal Theological School.[2] Perry was ordained a deacon by Bishop William Lawrence on June 9, 1895 and a priest on February 18, 1896.[4] He then served as a curate at Christ Church[5] in Springfield, Massachusetts until 1897, when he was named rector of Christ Church in Fitchburg. During the Spanish–American War, he was chaplain of the 6th Massachusetts Infantry from 1898 to 1904. In 1904 he was transferred to St. Paul's Church[6] in New Haven.[2] He married Edith Dean Weir (daughter of John Ferguson Weir) in 1908. They had three children: James, John, and Beatrice.[3]

On September 21, 1910, Perry was elected the 7th Bishop of Rhode Island at age 39.[2] He received his consecration on January 6, 1911 from Bishops Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, Leigh R. Brewer, and William Lawrence.[7]

Perry was admitted as a member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati in 1915 and became president of the Society in 1921.

During World War I, he served as chief of Red Cross chaplains in France from 1918 to 1919.[2]

On March 26, 1930, Perry was elected the 18th Presiding Bishop by the House of Bishops.[3] He was the last Presiding Bishop to retain his diocesan jurisdiction while serving in the national post.[4]

In August 1930, he was chosen to deliver the farewell sermon at the Lambeth Conference and invited to lay the cornerstone of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Aberdeen.[2] Especially interested in foreign missions, he once spent five months visiting mission stations in the Philippines, China, Japan, and Hawaii.[4]

The French government awarded him the Legion of Honor in 1934.

In a rare instance, he participated directly in politics in 1937 when he accepted an appointment to the Republican Party's Committee on Program, which was charged with drafting "a declaration of principles to redefine the party's stand on political and economic issues."[8]

He retired as Presiding Bishop in 1937, and as Bishop of Rhode Island in 1946.[4] Perry died at the age of 75 from a heart attack while vacationing in Summerville, South Carolina.


  1. ^ "James-John Perry". Landers Genealogy. Archived from the original on 2009-10-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE". University of Rhode Island. 
  3. ^ a b c "Religion: Primate Perry". TIME Magazine. 1930-04-07. 
  4. ^ a b c d "James Dewolf Perry (1930-1937)". Episcopal Church (United States). 
  5. ^ cccspfld.org
  6. ^ "St.Paul's Church". Stpaulstjames.org. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2014-08-12. 
  7. ^ "PECUSA Bishop listpg-p". Apostolic Episcopate Succession Online Project. 
  8. ^ New York Times: "Republicans Name Glenn Frank Head of Policy Group," Dec. 17, 1937, accessed Dec. 10, 2009
Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Charles Palmerston Anderson
18th Presiding Bishop
March 26, 1930 - December 31, 1937
Succeeded by
Henry St. George Tucker
Preceded by
William N. McVickar
7th Bishop of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
Granville G. Bennett