Saturday, January 5, 2013

Following Up: Bishop William Croswell Doane

It will be remembered that when General Jones's army reached their goal on the hike from New York to Albany they were denounced by Bishop William Croswell Doane as a "band of silly, excited and exaggerated women."

Doane in 1896
In 1912, when Bishop Doane denounced the suffragettes, he was 80 years old and had been Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany since 1869, the year after the Albany Diocese was organized. Among his achievements during his long tenure best remembered today are the founding, in 1870, of the St. Agnes School for Girls, which in 1975 merged with the Roman Catholic Kenwood Academy to form the Doane Stuart School, and the construction, from 1884 to 1888, of the Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, recognized as "the first great cathedral to be built in the Episcopal Church." 

Photo accompanying his obituary
Five months after the suffragist pilgrimage to Albany, Bishop Doane suffered an acute heart attack while in New York City to attend the quarterly meeting of the Board of Missions of the Episcopal Church and died "in his apartments in the Hotel Manhattan" in the early morning of May 17. His obituary in the New York Times provides this intriguing description of the bishop:
What some of his friends described as eccentricity in dress caused those who saw the Bishop for the first time to pause. He not infrequently wore knickerbockers, with black buttoned jersey leggings, from below which the tips of big silver buckles on broad and low shoes could be seen. His hat had the sides laced up, and when not wearing an overcoat the hem of an apron was visible, and from his neck depended a pectoral cross. These habiliments were taken by some to mean that Bishop Doane was exclusively of the High Church wing of his denomination. . . .
During his travels abroad, it is said he registered himself as "William of Albany," after the fashion of the English Bishops. His house in Albany bears evidence of his liking of things English. The heavy entrance door of oak with antique hinges bears the inscription, "Bishop's House."
Gossips Note: Because Bishop Doane's middle name was Croswell, it seemed possible that he might somehow be related to Harry Croswell, the notarious editor of The Wasp in Hudson who, after his ill-fated forays into publishing, abandoned the fourth estate for the second estate and became an Episcopal priest. It turns out, however, that William Croswell Doane was named for this father's best friend, William Croswell.

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