George Washington Doane
The Right Reverend
George Washington Doane
|Bishop of New Jersey|
|Church||Episcopal Church in the United States of America|
|See||Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey|
|In office||1832 — 1859|
|Successor||William Henry Odenheimer|
|Born||May 27, 1799|
Trenton, New Jersey
|Previous post||Rector, Trinity Church, Boston|
Early life and career
Doane was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1818. He did additional studies in theology and, in 1821, was ordained deacon. In 1823 he was ordained as an Episcopal priest by Bishop Hobart, whom he assisted in Trinity Church, New York.
With George Upfold (1796–1872), Bishop of Indiana from 1849 to 1872, Doane founded St. Luke's in New York City. From 1824–1828 he was professor of belles-lettres in Washington, now Trinity College), Hartford, Connecticut. At this time, he was one of the editors of the Episcopal Watchman. He was assistant in 1828-1830 and rector in 1830-1832 of Trinity Church, Boston.
Bishop of New Jersey
Doane was called as second bishop of New Jersey, serving from October 1832 to his death in 1859 at Burlington, New Jersey.
The diocese of New Jersey was an unpromising field, but he took up his work there with characteristic vigour. In 1837 he founded St. Mary's Hall (now Doane Academy, to provide a classical education for girls. It was the first such boarding school for girls in the United States, in a period when numerous schools for girls were founded.  In 1846 he founded Burlington College, a school for boys. These fulfilled his theory of education under church control. Because of national financial crises, his business management of these schools got the diocese heavily into debt. In the autumn of 1852 a charge of lax administration was made against him before a court of bishops, who dismissed it.
Doane was shown to be an able and wise disciplinarian of these schools. His patriotic orations and sermons prove him a speaker of great power. He belonged to the High Church party and was a brilliant controversialist. He published Songs by the Way (1824), a volume of poems. He also wrote hymns, and his pieces beginning "Softly now the light of day" and "Thou art the Way" are well known.
He commissioned John Notman to build a chapel for St. Mary's Hall. The congregation of St. Mary's Church grew, and he commissioned architect Richard Upjohn to design a new St. Mary's Church, his episcopal seat, completed in 1856. Both buildings have been recognized as National Historic Landmarks.
Death and legacy
Among those whom Doane ordained was Joseph Wolff, a Jewish Christian missionary.
Doane's biography and bibliography, Life and Writings of George Washington Doane (4 vols, New York, 1860–1861), was edited by his son, William Croswell Doane (1832-1913). He followed his father into the clergy and was called as the first Bishop of Albany. The fact that both Doane and his son became "bishops [was] a situation possibly not unique but certainly rare enough to be remarked upon."
Doane died in 1859. He was buried in Saint Mary's Episcopal Churchyard in Burlington. Now known as Doane Academy, the private school he founded is coeducational, serving grades Pre-K through 12, and has a substantial endowment to ensure its future.
- The Episcopal Church Annual. Morehouse Publishing: New York, NY (2005).
- Bishops of the Diocese of New Jersey
- Doane, George Washington, Bishop of New Jersey, The apostolical commission the missionary charter of the church. The Sermon [on Matt. xxviii. 18-20] at the ordination of Joseph Wolff in ... Newark, Sept. 26, 1837.