William F. Quigley Jr.
The Faith of a Father and Son in the War for a More Perfect Union
This event includes a book signing
January 27, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome local historian and teacher WILLIAM F. QUIGLEY JR. for a discussion of his first book, Pure Heart: The Faith of a Father and Son in the War for a More Perfect Union.
About Pure Heart
In the summer of 1862, as Union morale ebbed low with home front division over war costs, coming emancipation, and demoralizing battlefield losses, 24-year-old William White Dorr enlisted as a lieutenant in the 121st Pennsylvania Volunteers, a new Union regiment organizing in Philadelphia. His father, the Reverend Benjamin Dorr, rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, strived to prevent divisions in his congregation from sundering that Episcopal church historically tied to the nation's founding.
William F. Quigley Jr. presents a narrative that remarkably encapsulates much of the North's experience of the war. Reverend Benjamin Dorr was one of the most important clergymen of the era, who strived to hold his warring parishioners intact. His efforts paralleled Lincoln s far greater but comparable challenge to preserve the Union. The Nation s Church was torn apart from within between a faction of Pennsylvania's leading anti-emancipation Democrats and a faction of the city's and state's leading Republicans. Like Lincoln, Dorr invoked a temperate faith apart from the civil religion with which most Americans crusaded against each other. Dorr prayed that war might be avoided. But, when war came, he stood faithfully in support of the Union and of the war as Lincoln waged it, emancipation included, even unto the most grievous of losses.
William White Dorr was a young officer in a storied Union infantry regiment whose brave stand at Gettysburg was pivotal in the Union's preservation. Ten months later, wearing the second bar of an army captain, the rector's son would lead his company once more into the Wilderness, one of the most brutal and bloody campaigns of the war.
By war's end, many Philadelphians came to praise the spirit of charity and forgiveness exemplified by Reverend Dorr. He was their shepherd through that political, constitutional, economic, and religious crisis, and to honor his memory they erected stone monuments in The Nation's Church to him and to Captain Dorr, A Christian and a Patriot, Faithful unto death.
Clearly and engagingly written, Pure Heart is unique in its narrative synthesis of home front political divisions and frontline infantry experiences.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
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No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
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