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Philip Mercer Rhinelander (June 6, 1869 – September 21, 1939)[1] was Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania from 1911 to 1923. He graduated from Harvard University in 1891.[2]

The Right Reverend

Philip Mercer Rhinelander

D.D., LL.D., DCL
The Rt. Rev. Philip Mercer Rhinelander.jpg
7th Bishop of Pennsylvania
In office
May 10, 1911 – May 1, 1923
Preceded byAlexander Mackay-Smith
Succeeded byThomas J. Garland
Personal details
Born(1869-06-13)June 13, 1869
Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.
DiedSeptember 21, 1939(1939-09-21) (aged 70)
Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Helen Maria Hamilton
(m. 1905; his death 1939)
RelationsEdith Wharton (cousin)
Thomas Newbold (cousin)
Frederic Rhinelander King (nephew)
ParentsFrederic W. Rhinelander
Frances Skinner Rhinelander
EducationSt. Paul's School
Alma materHarvard University
Oxford University

Early lifeEdit

Rhinelander was born in 1869. He was the youngest of eight children born to Frances Davenport (née Skinner) Rhinelander (1828–1899)[3] and Frederic W. Rhinelander (1828–1904), the president of Metropolitan Museum of Art.[4] Frederic William Rhinelander (1859–1942),[5] His older brother, Frederic W. Rhinelander Jr., was married to Constance Satterlee, a daughter of Bishop Henry Y. Satterlee.[6] Through his sister Ethel, he was the uncle of Frederic Rhinelander King, a prominent architect with the firm of Wyeth and King.[7]

His paternal grandparents were Frederic William Rhinelander and Mary Lucretia "Lucy Ann" (née Stevens) Rhinelander.[8] His maternal grandparents were the Rev. Thomas Harvey Skinner and Frances Louisa (née Davenport) Skinner. Through his maternal aunt, Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander, the wife of George Frederic Jones,[9] he was a first cousin of novelist and decorator Edith (née Jones) Wharton and Frederic Rhinelander Jones.[10] Through aunt Mary Elizabeth Rhinelander, the wife of Thomas Haines Newbold,[9] he was a first cousin of New York State Senator Thomas Newbold.[11][12]

Rhinelander was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire before graduating from Harvard University with an A.B. degree in 1891, from Oxford with another A.B. degree in 1896, and from Oxford again with an M.A. degree in 1900.[13]


After he finished at Oxford, he was ordained a deacon at Calvary Church in 1896, in New York City, by his older brother's father-in-law, Bishop Satterlee, the first Bishop of Washington who had been his rector in New York. He followed Satterlee to Washington where he worked under him at St. Mark's Church, a parish and mission for seven years.[13] In 1903, due to health issues, he ended parish work and became a professor of pastoral studies at the Berkeley Divinity School in Middletown, Connecticut. He was at the School for four years, during which time he was married, and then in 1907, became the new chair of the History of Religion and Missions at the Episcopal Theological School, then in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[13] In 1909, he was offered the vicarship of Trinity Church in Manhattan, "one of the most important of the ten houses of worship then conducted by Trinity parish, New York" but declined.[1]

On May 10, 1911, he was elected Bishop Coadjutor of Pennsylvania, and later, succeeded the Rt. Rev. Alexander Mackay-Smith as the 7th Bishop of Pennsylvania. Rhinelander served in this role until May 1, 1923 when he resigned due to poor health.[1] He was succeeded by Thomas J. Garland in an 1924 election.[14]

Along with Bishop James E. Freeman, he was instrumental in the creation of the Washington Cathedral, which he later served as a trustee of and where he was a Warden of the College of Preachers.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

On May 9, 1905, Rhinelander was married to Helen Maria Hamilton (1870–1956).[16] Helen was the daughter of William Gaston Hamilton and his first wife, Helen Maria (née Pierson) Hamilton. Her paternal grandfather was John Church Hamilton, the fourth son of Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary, and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.[17] Together, they were the parents of:

  • Frederic William Rhinelander (b. 1906)
  • Philip Hamilton Rhinelander (1908–1987),[18] the head of education at Harvard University and a dean of Stanford University.[19]
  • Laurens Hamilton Rhinelander (b. 1909), who married Louise Merriman Reed in 1937.[20]

Rhinelander died at his summer home, known as Dogmar on Eastern Point in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on September 21, 1939.[1] After his funeral at St. John's Episcopal Church in Gloucester, he was buried at Island Cemetery in Newport.[21]

Honors and legacyEdit

Bishop Rhinelander received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from the Episcopal Theological School and from Columbia University. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Pennsylvania and of Doctor of Civil Law from the Philadelphia Divinity School.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "P.M. RHINELANDER; BISHOP DIES AT 70; Head of Protestant Episcopal Church in Pennsylvania, 1911-23--Was Author SUCCUMBS AT GLOUCESTER Served as Warden of College of Preachers at Washington Cathedral 13 Years" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 September 1939. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ Henry Bradford Washburn, Philip Mercer Rhinelander: Seventh Bishop of Pennsylvania, First Warden of the College of Preachers (1950)
  3. ^ "Mrs. Rhinelander to be Buried To-day" (PDF). The New York Times. 12 December 1899. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ "F. W. RHINELANDER DEAD; He Was President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art" (PDF). The New York Times. 26 September 1904. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  5. ^ "F. W. RHINELANDER, 82, IS DEAD IN NEWPORT; Son of Ex-Heud of Museum Here, Once in Railroad Business" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 January 1942. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  6. ^ "MISS SATTERLEE A BRIDE; Daughter of Late Bishop of Washington Wedded to F. W. Rhinelander" (PDF). The New York Times. 29 April 1910. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  7. ^ "FREDERIC KING, 84, ARCHITECT IS DEAD | Designed Episcopal Church Here" (PDF). The New York Times. 22 March 1972. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  8. ^ "The Newbold parcel called Fern Tor". Marist College. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b "NYC Marriage & Death Notices 1843-1856 | New York Society Library". Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  10. ^ Roffman, Karin (2010). From the Modernist Annex: American Women Writers in Museums and Libraries. University of Alabama Press. p. 27. ISBN 9780817316983. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  11. ^ "EX-SENATOR NEWBOLD DIES.; Was in 81st Year--Former Head of State's Health Department" (PDF). The New York Times. November 22, 1929. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  12. ^ Stevens, Eugene Rolaz; Bacon, William Plumb (1914). Erasmus Stevens and his descendants. Tobias A. Wright. p. 45. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  13. ^ a b c Harvard College (1780-) Class of 1891 (1911). Harvard College Class of 1891 Secretary's Report. Rockwell & Churchill Press. p. 196. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  14. ^ "PENNSYLVANIA DIOCESE TO ELECT NEW BISHOP; Candidates for Succession to Bishop Rhinelander Include Dr. Stires" (PDF). The New York Times. 21 January 1924. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  15. ^ Poe, Elisabeth Ellicott (1929). "Dedicating a Watch Tower of the Gospel in the Nation's Capital" (PDF). The Cathedral Age. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  16. ^ "MARRIED" (PDF). The New York Times. 10 May 1905. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  17. ^ Reynolds, Cuyler (1914). Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of a Commonwealth and the Building of a Nation. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 1390. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Philip Rhinelander -- Was education head at Harvard". The Boston Globe. 21 Mar 1987. p. 62. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Former Stanford Dean Philip Rhinelander Dies". The Los Angeles Times. 22 Mar 1987. p. 94. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Louise Reed Bride of Laurens Rhinelander". New York Daily News. 9 Feb 1937. p. 331. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  21. ^ "BISHOP RHINELANDER RITES; Services for Retired Head of Pennsylvania Episcopal Diocese" (PDF). The New York Times. 24 September 1939. Retrieved 27 March 2019.

External linksEdit