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Henry Codman Potter Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Sep 1987

Biographical History

Henry Codman Potter (1834-1908) was an American Episcopal bishop. He served as rector of Christ Church in Greensburg, Pennsylvania (1858-1859) and of St John's Church in Troy, New York (1859-1866). He was secretary of the House of Bishops (1866-1883), assistant rector of Trinity Church, Boston (1866-1868), rector of Grace Church, New York City (1868-1884), and in 1887 he succeeded his uncle, Horatio Potter, as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.

Potter was known for his interest in social reform and in politics. In addition to his work assisting missions on the east side of New York City, which continued even after he became a bishop, he frequently assisted in settling labor disputes and was outspoken in his criticism of Mayor Robert Van Wyck for his affiliation with Tammany Hall.

He was also a productive author; among his works are Sisterhoods and Deaconesses at Home and Abroad (New York 1871); The Gates of the East, a Winter in Egypt and Syria (1877); Sermons of the City (1881); Waymarks (1892); The Scholar and the State (1897); Addresses to Women engaged in Church Work (1898); The East of To-day and To-Morrow (1902); The Citizen in his Relation to Industrial Situation (1902); Law and Loyalty (1903); Modern Man and his Fellow Man (1903); and Reminiscences of Bishops and Archbishops (1906).

[Portions of this biographical sketch adapted from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica (online edition).]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Henry Codman Potter Letters consist of seven outgoing items written between 1870 and 1906. There are two letters to Dewitt Miller in response to a volume he had sent containing temperance sermons and a portrait of Potter's father, Alonzo Potter, also an Episcopal bishop. The second item suggests Potter's intention to deposit the sermons with the New York Public Library.

The miscellaneous letters refer to church business, and include an acknowledgement of receipt from an unidentified bishop of $125, which Potter suggests will be used to purchase a cross. The collection also contains a note which was enclosed with a paper Potter had written on "Home Life in New York City."

Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are divided into those to Dewitt Miller and miscellaneous.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Project Canterbury, the Anglican History website, has a good bibliography of Potter material at, including full text of some of his sermons and essays.

Subject Headings


Miller, DeWitt.
Potter, Henry Codman, 1834-1908.

Corporate Bodies

Episcopal Church -- Clergy -- Correspondence.
Episcopal Church -- New York (State) -- New York.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Henry Codman Potter Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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