Sherwood Eddy

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Sherwood Eddy
BornGeorge Sherwood Eddy
(1871-01-19)January 19, 1871
Leavenworth, Kansas
DiedNovember 4, 1963(1963-11-04) (aged 92)
Jacksonville, Illinois
EducationPhillips Andover Academy, Yale University, Princeton Theological Seminary
Known forEvangelism and YMCA international leadership
Spouse(s)Maud Arden Eddy

Sherwood Eddy (1871–1963) was a leading American Protestant missionary, administrator and educator. He was a prolific author and indefatigable traveler. His main achievement was to link and finance networks of intellectuals across the globe, especially Christian leaders in Asia and the Middle East. He enabled missionaries to better understand and even think like the people they were serving. His long-term impact on the Protestant communities in the United States, and in the Third World, was long lasting.

Early life[edit]

George Sherwood Eddy was born on January 19, 1871 to George Alfred Eddy and Margaret Louise Nolan at Leavenworth, Kansas. His father George Eddy was a leading businessman and civic leader; he and his wife Margaret Norton were of Yankee stock, The son attended Phillips Andover Academy, and graduated Yale College in engineering in 1891. Eddy married Alice Maud Harriet Arden (1873–1945) on November 10, 1898. They were the parents of two children, Margaret and Arden. After his first wife's death, he married Catherine Louise Gates in 1946.[1]


After college Eddy attended Union Theological Seminary (1891-1893) in New York. He enlisted in the Student Volunteer Movement, which sought to "evangelize the world in this generation." He also worked on the staff of a local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA). In 1893-1894 he served as a traveling secretary for the Student Volunteer Movement in the United States. Eddy's father died in 1894, leaving him an inheritance that made him financially independent and enabled him to work for the causes he believed in without concern for finances. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1896.

Eddy was one of the first of sixteen thousand student volunteers who emerged from the leading universities of the U.S. and Europe to serve as Christian missionaries across the world. In 1896, he went to India and worked at the YMCA-organized Indian Student Volunteer Movement. He served as its secretary for the next 15 years. Working among the poor and outcasts of India he mastered the Tamil language and served as a traveling evangelist among the students and masses of southern India beginning in Palamcottah. In 1911, he was appointed secretary for Asia by the International Committee and he divided his time between evangelistic campaigns in Asia and fund-raising in North America.[2] He is also known today for his works with the Oxford Group evangelical group, a predecessor to Alcoholics Anonymous.

He spent the next 15 years doing student evangelistic work across Asia - from China, Japan, and the Philippines]], through the Near East to Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, and then to czarist Russia and made 15 trips to the Soviet Russia. He admired the Soviet system and refused to believe reports of famine; in 1937 he agreed that the victims of Stalin's show trials were traitors as charged. His was criticized as a "fellow traveler."[3][4]

The Fellowship of Socialist Christians was organized in the early 1930s by Reinhold Niebuhr and others on the left. Later it changed its name to Frontier Fellowship and then to Christian Action. The main supporters of the Fellowship in the early days included Eddy, Eduard Heimann, Paul Tillich and Rose Terlin. In its early days the group thought capitalist individualism was incompatible with Christian ethics. Although not under Communist control, the group acknowledged Karl Marx's social philosophy.[5]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • The Awakening of India (1911)
  • The New Era in Asia (1913)
  • The Students of Asia (1915)
  • Suffering and the War (1916)
  • With Our Soldiers in France (1917)
  • Everybody's World (1920)
  • Eddy, Sherwood; Kirby Page (1924). The abolition of war. New York: George H. Doran.
  • Eddy, Sherwood; Kirby Page (1926). Makers of freedom; biographical sketches in social progress. New York: George H. Doran Company. ISBN 0-8369-1803-7.
  • What Shall I Believe in the Light of Psychology and the New Science (1926)
  • Eddy, Sherwood; The Challenge of Europe (1933). New York: Farrar & Rinehart

'* A Pilgrimage of Ideas: Or, The Re-education of Sherwood Eddy (1934), Autobiography.

  • Russia Today: What Can we Learn from It? (1934)
  • Revolutionary Christianity (1934)
  • Ten Suggestions for Personal work (1934)
  • Pathfinders of the World Missionary Crusade. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press. 1945.
  • God in History (1947)
  • You Will survive After Death (1950)

He wrote other works which were published in England and India.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yale University Divinity School Library, biographical sketch for Eddy's archived papers Retrieved April 15, 2013
  2. ^ Michael G. Thompson, "Sherwood Eddy, the Missionary Enterprise, and the Rise of Christian Internationalism in 1920s America," Modern Intellectual History 12#1 (April 2015), 65-93.
  3. ^ Dallas (2000)
  4. ^ Paul Hollander, Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, 1928-1978 (1981)
  5. ^ Stone, Ronald H. (1992-01-01), Professor Reinhold Niebuhr: A Mentor to the Twentieth Century, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 115, ISBN 978-0-664-25390-5, retrieved 2016-03-14

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]