Talk:Henry Ward Beecher

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Popular culture: Sherlock Holmes[edit]

I don't know how to properly cite a Sherlock Holmes book (The Resident Patient), but should it be mentioned in the Popular Culture section? I've quoted the relevant passage below, and the portrait of Beecher can be seen in the TV show Sherlock, episode: "The Abominable Bride" (2016).

Do you mean to say that you read my train of thoughts from my features?” “Your features, and especially your eyes. Perhaps you cannot yourself recall how your reverie commenced?” “No, I cannot.” “Then I will tell you. After throwing down your paper, which was the action which drew my attention to you, you sat for half a minute with a vacant expression. Then your eyes fixed themselves upon your newly framed picture of General Gordon, and I saw by the alteration in your face that a train of thought had been started. But it did not lead very far. Your eyes turned across to the unframed portrait of Henry Ward Beecher, which stands upon the top of your books. You then glanced up at the wall, and of course your meaning was obvious. You were thinking that if the portrait were framed it would just cover that bare space and correspond with Gordon’s picture over there.” “You have followed me wonderfully!” I exclaimed. “So far I could hardly have gone astray. But now your thoughts went back to Beecher, and you looked hard across as if you were studying the character in his features. Then your eyes ceased to pucker, but you continued to look across, and your face was thoughtful. You were recalling the incidents of Beecher’s career. I was well aware that you could not do this without thinking of the mission which he undertook on behalf of the North at the time of the Civil War, for I remember you expressing your passionate indignation at the way in which he was received by the more turbulent of our people. You felt so strongly about it that I knew you could not think of Beecher without thinking of that also. When a moment later I saw your eyes wander away from the picture, I suspected that your mind had now turned to the Civil War, and when I observed that your lips set, your eyes sparkled, and your hands clinched, I was positive that you were indeed thinking of the gallantry which was shown by both sides in that desperate struggle. But then, again, your face grew sadder; you shook your head. You were dwelling upon the sadness and horror and useless waste of life. Your hand stole towards your own old wound, and a smile quivered on your lips, which showed me that the ridiculous side of this method of settling international questions had forced itself upon your mind. At this point I agreed with you that it was preposterous, and was glad to find that all my deductions had been correct.”

Lack of a NPOV[edit]

An author writes, "He was also rabidly anti-Catholic and was contemptuous towards Irish-Americans." "Rabidly" is a charged word, an attack word, and "contemptuous" leaves the reader hanging. What, was Beecher simply opposed to the mass immigration then coming from Ireland, or was he truly discriminatory? Encyclopedic content must be verifiable. Whoever penned this sentence is contemptuous of Beecher, as such language is not fitting for an encyclopedia entry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:44, 17 September 2006

  • I would like better evidence that Henry Ward Beechers wife was "unloved." Being that she stood by him, for whatever reason, "unloved" is a serious indictment of his character. --—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 01:10, 23 December 2006

Cleanup tag[edit]

I added the tag because the article has very poor flow due to the strings of quotes used instead of prose. It's interesting to read what others have said about Mr Beecher in their own words - and it may be useful to retain their actual words in some cases - but an encyclopedia article has to live or die on its own, hopefully scintillating, prose. Anchoress 03:59, 5 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Agreed. I've done a few things here and there. I moved the sections around to try and create a more normal flow as well as fit the format of the normal biographical article more correctly. Much of the quoting done in this article needs to be done away with and merged into encyclopedic content. I think it would be wise too, to try and find more sources. The same two sources are quoted repeatedly for almost the entire article. --Lendorien 09:46, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Awry footnote![edit]

I added a Beecher quote in the Preaching Style section, but it's misnumbered. I don't know how to fix it, could anyone else do it? Thanks! The Sanity Inspector 14:48, 18 September 2007 (UTC)

Theologically Liberal?[edit]

The first sentence in this article labels Beecher as a "theologically liberal American Congregationalist clergyman." There is no citation proving this and no description of his "theologically liberal" views. It's just thrown out there at the beginning and forgotten. There is one line saying that he believed in Darwin's Theory of Evolution, but that hardly qualifies someone as "theologically liberal." Is there an assumption that being socially active makes one Theologically Liberal? Could a link be added to a page that defines Christian Liberal Theology?

Jsminch (talk) 07:30, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

How many children?[edit]

How many children were born to Beecher & wife? The number changes from 10 to nine within the article! Kkid99 (talk) 17:35, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

ERm, also it currently says that he was the seventh of 13 siblings, but his mother died when he was three. This might just about be barely possible if she had at least two pairs of twins and was continuously pregnant, but it seems unlikely.... surely this is wrong.., —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:36, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Minor deletions[edit]

I deleted what appeared to be editorial comments in one section of the main text and a bit of vandalism in the legacy —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:38, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Phrases Section[edit]

Shouldn't this kind of thing be moved to WikiQuote? (talk) 21:13, 12 December 2010 (UTC) could his last words be "now comes the mystery" when he had a stroke and died in his sleep??? (talk) 21:36, 3 November 2011 (UTC)

Going for Good Article status[edit]

Hey all, over the coming week I'm hoping to expand and revise this article to prepare for a nomination for Good Article status. I'm preparing a new draft in my user space at User:Khazar2/Beecher and would welcome any comments or additions anyone would like to make there.

Things I'd like to work on:

  • organization and flow of the article
  • eliminating some trivial details
  • better integrating/explaining quotations
  • expanding a few sections
  • expanding the lead to better summarize the article
  • improving quality of sourcing

Anybody have anything else to add to the list?

Incidentally, I may try to tackle the Lyman Beecher article after this as well. -- Khazar2 (talk) 03:35, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Since I'm not sure anyone else is active here, I've gone ahead and moved over my new draft from user space. Comments welcome. I don't think this is perfect yet, but I think it's reached the point where it's more comprehensive than what was previously here. I'll continue to tweak this over the next few days and then hopefully nominate for GA. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:38, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Henry Ward Beecher/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Tim riley (talk · contribs) 09:22, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Beginning first read through. More soonest. Tim riley (talk) 09:22, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

This article is clearly of GA standard, and I don't propose to prolong the review. But before I observe the formalities I offer a few small points that you are welcome to accept or reject, as you think best.

  • Lead
    • The hatnote mentions that HWB was American, but the text of the lead itself doesn't, and I think it should.
  • Early life
    • You give Thomas K Beecher his "Reverend" but in the lead you haven't done the same for Lynam Beecher (or HWB himself, for that matter). I'd be inclined to omit it for Thomas K, too, particularly as he has a WP article,
    • "Mt. Pleasant Classical Institution" – do the sources really say "Mt" rather than "Mount"? Looks rather odd.
  • Early ministry
    • "had been hired as a minister" – to an English eye it looks a bit odd to say "hire" a minister. I wonder if "had been offered a post as a minister" might read more naturally?
    • "he also led a successful revival" – of what, precisely?
  • Personal life
    • "Beecher wed Eunice Bullard in 1837" – perhaps this is one of those US-v-UK usage things, but to an English eye "wed" is used only in tabloid newspapers rather than by real people, who say "married".
  • Images
    • The picture of Beecher in what appears to be military uniform could do with a more detailed caption than just his name. I see the image is called File:Henry Ward Beecher Chaplain.jpg. Was he a chaplain to the Unionist forces in the civil war? Perhaps even worth mentioning in the text, if so.
      • It seems that he was made the honorary chaplain of a New York national guard regiment in 1878 [1]; my guess is that this was the year the photo was taken. I can't immediately find further detail on the photo, however. -- Khazar2 (talk) 13:08, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Those few insignificant points are all I can find to quibble about. If you are thinking of taking the article on to FAC I think you need to get at least one more major biographical source: at present you rely very heavily on Applegate. Fine for GA, but FA reviewers will expect a wider range of sources.

Now, to cut the ribbon:

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

I enjoyed this article. Beecher is one of those names one vaguely knows without quite knowing why. And now I do. Out of interest I looked out his obituary in our leading British paper, The Times, which said of him, "one of the ablest and most popular of United States citizens – a man in whom were embodied many of the virtues and some of the failings of the national character", which chimes pretty well with your Applegate peroration at ref 64. I enjoyed spending a few hours in Beecher's company courtesy of this fine article. – Tim riley (talk) 12:41, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Thanks so much, Tim, for the suggestions and kind comments. I'll be implementing the former and appreciating the latter. -- Khazar2 (talk) 12:45, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

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